Philadelphia 76ers season series preview: Brooklyn Nets

Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers have had arguably the most successful offseason in the NBA. They were able to ink James Harden for an additional two years on an extremely team-friendly deal that also enabled them to add his former 3-and-D teammates in P.J. Tucker and Danuel House. That’s on top of the draft day trade they made that nabbed them a fantastic two-way guard in De’Anthony Melton.

With that infusion of talent, it’s hard to argue that the Philadelphia 76ers and Team President Daryl Morey didn’t have the prosperous summer of any team in the league. As for the most dramatic offseason? That nod goes to the Brooklyn Nets without question.

For months, it seemed inevitable that the Nets would be losing both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. First, Kyrie and the team clashed over contract negotiations, as Brooklyn refused to commit to their mercurial point guard long-term due to his off-court issues and questionable dedication to the game.

That led Irving to pursue a trade away from the team, leading to a saga that saw him threaten to opt out of his $36 million player option and sign a much humbler midlevel exception with the Los Angeles Lakers to team up with his old running mate, LeBron James.

Ultimately and in anticlimactic fashion, Irving, like many before him, followed the money and took the $36 million to return to the Nets for next season. Despite the fact that Kyrie was now on board for at least one more year, Kevin Durant also requested a trade just days after Irving inked his deal.

After numerous rumors with various amounts of traction behind them — most notably a potential sign-and-trade involving a KD and Deandre Ayton swap — Brooklyn was unable to find a deal they thought suitable for an All-World talent like Durant and finally convinced him to stay, at least for one more season.

Outside of the drama that took place involving their two superstars, Nets General Manager Sean Marks actually did a decent job of adding talent to a team whose future was completely in flux while he was trudging along. They shed some of their most seasoned veterans like LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, and Goran Dragic and replaced them with more modern fits such as T.J. Warren, Markieff Morris, and Royce O’Neal. Brooklyn was also able to retain Patty Mills, Kessler Edwards, and Nicolas Claxton.

While their depth leaves some to be desired, any team that features Irving and Durant at the peak of their powers is a possible contender. They’ll also be “adding” a potential All-Star-level talent in Ben Simmons, who failed to return to the court for them last season.

Owner Joe Tsai and Sean Marks were able to stave off a potential franchise implosion for at least one more year and may have stumbled into a legitimate title team. They certainly have the top-end talent to compete with the Philadelphia 76ers, but Philly has a clear edge in terms of depth and coaching. He’s certainly not perfect, but Doc Rivers is at least better than Steve “Just Vibes” Nash.

Despite all of their issues last season, the Brooklyn Nets seemingly had the Philadelphia 76ers’ number, as they took the season series with ease, 3-1.

Philadelphia 76ers/Brooklyn Nets Quick Stats

  1. James Harden played some of his best basketball last season against the Philadelphia 76ers. In the two games he faced Philly with the Brooklyn Nets, he averaged 26.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and nine assists. Brooklyn won both games.
  2. The Nets were the second-worst defensive team to make the playoffs in 2022. In the regular season, they allowed 112.3 points per 100 possessions. Only the Chicago Bulls were worse among playoff teams at 113.2.
  3. Brooklyn was surprisingly good at containing Joel Embiid last season. He averaged his seventh-worst field goal percentage at 44 percent and his eighth-worst points per game at 28 against the Nets in 2021-2022, according to statmuse.

Philadelphia 76ers/Brooklyn Nets Schedule

November 22, 2022: BRK @ PHI

January 25, 2023: BRK @ PHI

February 11, 2023: PHI @ BRK

April 9, 2023: PHI @ BRK


Philadelphia 76ers (3-1)