Difference Between the Sixers, Bucks, and Celtics of the NBA

Difference Between the Sixers, Bucks, and Celtics of the NBA

Updated: 22 days, 20 hours, 13 minutes, 58 seconds ago

The NBA season is finally getting back underway after the All-Star Weekend break in Salt Lake City, Utah. With less than two months left in the regular season, the race for the playoffs is about to heat up dramatically. Several teams are vying for desirable playoff positions in their respective conferences after reloading before the trade deadline and look to build unbreakable chemistry as they hurdle toward the postseason.

One of the most intense, fascinating races is at the top of the eastern conference. The Boston Celtics, the best team in the NBA by record for most of the season, are clinging to the one seed with the Milwaukee Bucks just a game behind them. Just behind them are the Philadelphia 76ers standing at the 3 seed.

All three teams have a shot at claiming the one seed in the east, which reflects how many see the race for the Finals in that conference. The Celtics, Bucks, and Sixers are all believed to be real contenders for the NBA championship. But there’s one big difference between them that may drastically affect who plays into June.

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Star Power

All three of the east’s top teams have superstars: Joel Embiid and James Harden on the Sixers, Giannis Antetokounmpo on the Bucks, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on the Celtics. But the critical difference between these teams lies in the players around them.

For the Sixers to go all the way to the Finals, Joel Embiid needs to dominate. He needs to be the best player on the court every single night. This is because the team around him cannot be relied on to show up all the time. If Embiid has an off night, the others may not be able to carry the load. This is especially true of James Harden, who is not the same unstoppable scorer NBA defenses used to fear.

File:Joel Embiid crop.jpg - Wikimedia CommonsFile:Joel Embiid crop.jpg - Wikimedia Commons Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers

Giannis and the Bucks are in a similar situation. For them to go on a long postseason run, the Greek Freak needs to carry his team in every game. Though the Bucks are arguably more well-rounded than Philly, Khris Middleton’s health cannot be relied on anymore, and Jrue Holiday, though a great player, is not the kind of guy that can completely dominate a game.

File:Giannis Antetokounmpo (24845003687).jpg - Wikimedia CommonsFile:Giannis Antetokounmpo (24845003687).jpg - Wikimedia Commons Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks

And then, there’s the Celtics. Boston has two of the league’s most dominant scorers in Tatum and Brown, but neither are quite on the level of Giannis and Embiid. Tatum shoots a lot, which means he’s hot and cold. Brown is a little more reliable but doesn’t get the volume of shots Tatum gets. And yet, the Celtics have been the best team in the league for the vast majority of the season.
This is because their supporting cast is full of lockdown defenders, playmaking geniuses, and sneaky-good scorers. Marcus Smart is well-known for his defensive prowess but is an underrated playmaker. Horford and Rob Williams are monsters on the interior. Malcolm Brogdon’s consistent playmaking leads a second unit, including the shifty, opponent-frustrating Derrick White.

Jayson Tatum | Erik Drost | FlickrJayson Tatum | Erik Drost | Flickr Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics

All of this means that Tatum and Brown don’t need to dominate every game in order to play until June. They can have off nights and still contend with the best teams in the league because of everyone around them. That difference will be a significant advantage as they hope to return to the NBA Finals.