Sixers & James Harden Facing Potential ‘Nightmare’ Playoff Scenario: Analyst

james harden

Getty Will James Harden and the Sixers want to face the Nets?

The Philadelphia 76ers are fighting for an NBA championship this season following the trade for superstar James Harden.

By pairing Harden and Joel Embiid together, the Sixers have a real shot at coming home with a title, but the road to get there will be a long and hard one.

In the first game since swapping Ben Simmons for Harden, the Sixers were crushed by the Brooklyn Nets, despite them playing without their new point guard. At the end of the day, it was just a regular season game, but it does show that simply adding Harden won’t be the answer to all of the problems.

Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz went through a list of all the playoff teams and named their “nightmare” matchup. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Nets are named as the foe the Sixers should most fear.

Nets Nightmare Matchup

Bradley Beal linked to Sixers

GettyPhiladelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid (left) and James Harden (right).

Any team led by Kevin Durant is likely a team people would want to avoid, but it runs deeper than that. Swartz notes the “revenge factor” against former teammate James Harden will play a big role for the Nets.

With Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond and Seth Curry all being former Sixers playing for the Nets, they could be doing so with a chip on their shoulder. Curry and Drummond are still highly productive players, and the two of them have played a big role in the Nets’ recent success.

“Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, sent from Philly to Brooklyn in the Harden-Simmons swap as well, will have their own extra motivation to want to take down the higher-seeded 76ers,” wrote Swartz.

He does go on to note that this could be a nightmare situation for Simmons as well, but says the Sixers are the ones that should be more afraid. For the season, the Sixers finished 1-3 against the Nets, so that is also something working against them.

Don’t Panic Yet

Nets star Ben Simmons

GettyBen Simmons will hopefully be ready for the playoffs.

Since it’s only been a handful of games with Harden in the lineup, there’s really no reason to panic as a Sixers fan.

There are plenty of things still working in their favor in a potential matchup against the Nets. For starters, the Nets wouldn’t be able to play Kyrie Irving in home games thanks to current New York City mandates. Not having an All-NBA level guard in the lineup would be a killer for Brooklyn, and it’d be something the Sixers could easily take advantage of.

There’s no telling what type of shape Ben Simmons would be in by the time the playoffs roll around, and there’s still no timetable on when he’d even join the Nets. When he does, he’ll likely be highly energized as he’s nearly spent a whole year away from playing basketball. With the Nets, he won’t be relied on to score as much as he was with the Sixers, so he can focus on what he does best.

Of course, having no Irving would force Simmons to play a bigger role, and that could be what the Sixers want. It’s also worth mentioning the plethora of boos Simmons would face in Philadelphia once he joins the lineup. If he thought being on the bench was bad, then he’ll likely be in for a surprise once he’s actually playing.

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