The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets will meet up in the first round of the 2023 NBA playoffs as the 3-6 pairing in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers believe this could be their year to win a championship, while the Nets are playing with house money after a tumultuous season in which their two superstars got traded.
The 76ers have been down this path before but are finally healthy entering the postseason. Joel Embiid appears set to win the MVP award, and James Harden is creating for others at the best clip of his career. The supporting cast is both talented and deep, which makes this team dangerous. Of course, injuries have been a concern in the past for Philadelphia and every time Embiid moves, the entire fanbase will hold its breath. Harden, for all his accomplishments, hasn’t been a star in the playoffs. This could be his moment to truly shine.
The Nets entered the year looking like title contenders, but both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are now out. Both stars were dealt at the deadline, with Irving requesting a trade after the franchise didn’t give him a contract extension. Durant had requested a trade in the summer and walked it back, but re-engaged with the team on a move after Irving’s saga. The Nets now have a collection of young talent and draft picks for their rebuild. We’ll see if Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and Cam Thomas can show something in this postseason.