“Trust the Process”.
Of all places that the chant could ring, Boston had to be on the bottom of the list. But it happened on Friday night as Joel Embiid continued his incredible rookie (and All-Star!) campaign, making the league both fear and fall in love with him. While the 76ers eventually fell to the Celtics in crunch time, the tenor of that and more recent games have felt different. They’ve been exciting, competitive, and worth watching.
After that tough loss, the Sixers will look to rebound against fellow bottom-dweller, the Brooklyn Nets. The teams previously met back on December 18th when Embiid had one of his best games, putting up a career-high 33 points and powering them to a victory late.
The Nets, our fellow Billy King tainted brethren, are in the midst of a terrible, horrible, no good, bad
day year. Undergoing their own rebuild, the Nets are trying to power along on the shoulders of their own big man, Brook Lopez. Like the Sixers, there isn’t enough talent around him to pull out wins. Unlike the Sixers, there is no silver lining of a high draft pick due to the Celtics owning swap rights.
That said, Nets’ GM Sean Marks may have found some nice pieces as he tries to dig that franchise out of its situation. Sixers... or rather Sevens fans should be well-acquainted with Sean Kilpatrick, a streaky shooting guard that has somewhat broken out. Brooklyn-native and Seton Hall rook, Isaiah Whitehead has been getting some burn as lead guard. However, most interesting of all is Caris LeVert.
LeVert is a talented rookie out of Michigan who spent the better part of his junior and senior seasons with multiple foot injuries. However, much like Embiid, he persevered to get back on the court. His resiliency was rewarded with being selected 20th in the 2016 draft (by the Pacers, but ultimately traded to the Nets). He finally debuted a month ago and has been showing some flashes of what made him stand out in college. In his last game against Cleveland, LeVert put up 19 points, 4 boards and 5 assists, while getting some run as the point. Keep an eye out for this guy.
With the way the Sixers have been playing lately, they should be able to pull out a win in this matinee. Of course, basketball is funny and so are the Sixers so anything is possible.
- In their previous meeting, the Sixers were still experimenting with the Okafor-Embiid pairing. Okafor was a DNP-CD the other night despite Joel and Noel being in foul trouble. Just something to monitor.
- Jeremy Lin was the Nets big free agent acquisition this past summer. Unfortunately, he’s played in only 12 games this year and is most recently been dealing with hamstring issues. Ouch.
- The Nets have their own veteran-y veterans in Trevor Booker and Bojan Bogdanovic. Fun fact, did you know that the 2010 draft pick used to draft Booker at one point belonged to the Sixers? (It was acquired in the Kyle Korver trade and then sent away in a salary dump before signing Elton Brand!)
- No idea if Sergio Rodriguez will be playing at the moment. TJ McConnell has been playing amazing in his absence though!
- Check out Nets Daily for their take.