Philadelphia 76ers season series preview: New York Knicks

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Philadelphia 76ers
LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 09: Julius Randle (30) of the New York Knicks collides with Patrick Beverley (21) of the LA Clippers in the first half during the Los Angeles Clippers versus New York Knicks at on May 9, 2021, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire)

The New York Knicks probably view themselves as one of the top teams in the Atlantic Division along with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics, but they’re more likely to wind up at the bottom than within the top three.

With the Brooklyn Nets retaining both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, there’s no reason that they and the Toronto Raptors can edge the Knicks out in wins next season.

That’s not to say that New York didn’t improve this summer. The Knicks objectively walked away with the biggest free agent signing of the offseason by poaching Jalen Brunson away from the Dallas Mavericks. They may have overpaid for the Villanova product, but he’ll certainly be a major boon for their offense.

To round out a strong summer, Team President was also able to retain R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson while adding former Los Angeles Clippers big man Isaiah Hartenstein and rookie Trevor Keels in the second round of the draft.

With some continued development from their young guys including Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, and Cam Reddish and a bounce-back year for Julius Randle, New York could be fielding a pretty competitive squad next year.

That being said, the talent gap between New York and the rest of the division feels like an insurmountable gap for them to try to bridge in 2022-2023. Even with Brunson joining Barrett and Randle, the Philadelphia 76ers should have no problem overwhelming the Knicks with both their star power and depth.

The Knicks are set to be severely shorthanded on the defensive end of the court with scarce impactful defenders on the roster. An elite Sixers attack led by James Harden and Joel Embiid should have no problem dismantling Tom Thibodeau’s archaic schemes.

Brunson’s presence should make New York’s offense a little more threatening compared to last season, but unless Randle can revert to the All-NBA form he displayed in 2020-2021, Embiid and co. should have no problem suffocating the Knicks attack.

Philadelphia 76ers/New York Knicks Quick Stats

  1. The Philadelphia 76ers dominated the New York Knicks in Joel Embiid’s minutes. The Philadelphia 76ers finished a +32 in his 101 minutes against the Knicks last season according to statmuse.
  2. The Sixers played the Knicks twice without James Harden and twice with him last season. They lost both games without the Beard and only averaged 97.5 points. With him, they won both games and averaged 124 points per game.
  3. Jalen Brunson balled out against Philly last year. The New Brunswick native put up 21.5 points on 59/43/86 shooting splits in two games against the Philadelphia 76ers last season.

Games

November 4, 2022: NYK @ PHI

December 25, 2022: PHI @ NYK

February 5, 2023: PHI @ NYK

February 10, 2023: NYK @ PHI

Prediction

Philadelphia 76ers (3-1)

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