“Philly is Coming Out of the East”

I missed this on Tuesday afternoon, but I know how much y’all love Skip Bayless, so I had to get this scorching hot take on the site:

Maybe Skip is just correcting course after missing on so many Eagles and Cowboys takes last year, but…

…I think he actually makes a decent point when he talks about adding Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to that Celtics team.

Nobody has ANY IDEA how that group is going to perform. Last season’s starters are coming off the bench. Hayward is a total question mark. Tatum is going to have a lot of expectations on his shoulders in year number two. Al Horford ain’t getting any younger. I think Celtics fans and media will probably put more pressure on that team than what we’re going to see from Philly fans and media.

As it stands, you’re probably looking at a starting group of:

  • PG – Kyrie Irving
  • SG – Jaylen Brown
  • SF/PF – Gordon Hayward
  • SF/PF – Jayson Tatum
  • C – Al Horford

Off the bench then, it’s Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Aron Baynes, Marcus Morris, and Semi Ojeleye. That’s your second unit.

The Sixers counter with:

  • PG – Ben Simmons
  • SG – JJ Redick
  • SF – Robert Covington
  • PF – Dario Saric
  • C – Joel Embiid

And a second team of Markelle Fultz, Wilson Chandler, Amir Johnson, Mike Muscala, and Zhaire Smith or T.J. McConnell, depending on Smith’s Jones fracture recovery.

It’s pretty obvious that Boston has the more complete roster and much better depth, but I think that Sixers starting unit can compete with anybody. If Fultz can figure it out and Chandler gives you the two-way wing play you needed last year in the playoffs, then I think we’ve got a couple of pretty evenly-matched squads based on a shortened playoff rotation.

With the Eastern Conference, it feels like Boston is 1a and the Sixers are 1b right now, with the Raptors close behind, but who knows? Maybe Kawhi actually enjoys playing in Toronto and carries that squad over the hump in the post-LeBron era. I’m not sure who rounds out the top half of the east. Indiana? Milwaukee? I think Mike Budenholzer was a low-key huge upgrade for the Bucks.

For now, I think Skip makes some good points.




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