Greenberg: Let's Pump The Brakes On The 76ers

Philly's 14-game winning streak is impressive, but it's also come against some of the worst teams in basketball (mostly)

The DA Show
April 09, 2018 - 12:04 pm

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When the Philadelphia 76ers began “The Process” several years ago, the last month is probably what they envisioned. Philadelphia (50-30) has won 14 games in a row and has overtaken Cleveland (49-31) for the 3-seed in the East. The most impressive part? The Sixers have done much of this without Joel Embiid, who fractured an orbital bone near his left eye in March.

As impressive as the Sixers’ run has been, however, NBA-TV host Jared Greenberg believes it should be taken with a grain of salt.

“I am incredibly impressed, and the fact that they’re doing it without Embiid is ridiculous," Greenberg prefaced on The DA Show. “But I do want to pump the brakes a little bit. Listen, you’re a good basketball team, (but) you’re supposed to beat teams that are bad."

Aside from a 132-130 home win over Cleveland last Friday, the Sixers have feasted mostly on losing teams, including Dallas (24-57), Detroit (38-42), Brooklyn (27-53), Charlotte (35-46), Atlanta (24-57), New York (28-52), Orlando (24-56), and Memphis (22-58).

“Even if you don’t follow basketball every day, I’m pretty sure you’re aware that these are not good basketball teams,” Greenberg said. “Winning 14 in a row in the NBA is impressive, and doing it without your best player – that’s the thing about young teams. There are some veterans on the squad that play important roles, but when your best players are young, you don’t know what you don’t know, so you just keep on going and trucking ahead. It is a good thing. It’s just that some of the teams they’ve beaten, most of the teams they’ve beaten, are some of the worst teams in basketball.”

In fact, many analysts insist that the East is still a two-team race between the Raptors (58-22) and Cavs. Is that fair?

“I think it’s fair – and listen, the Sixers will have every opportunity to disrupt all that,” Greenberg said. “The problem is – and I go back to them being so young – you just look through the history of the league, and it just tells you that if your best player, let alone your best two or three players, are in their first couple of years in the NBA, it’s hard to get into the playoffs, it’s hard to win playoff games, and almost impossible to win playoff series.”

Anthony Davis led the Pelicans to the playoffs in his third season in 2015, while John Wall led the Wizards to a series win in his fourth season in 2014. Outside of that, it ain't pretty for young players.

“It’s really hard,” Greenberg said. “The playoffs are different. I just think we need to measure what the Sixers are doing in increments. You talk about this whole 'Process' thing, and I think people are getting ahead of themselves. I think we need to appreciate what they’re doing now and the fact that they’re in the playoffs and the fact that they’ve won 50 games. That’s the step they needed to take this year. Yes, you’re looking at the East and you’re saying, ‘There are beatable teams. There’s a lot of injuries. We need to take advantage of that.’ I would be incredibly impressed if the Sixers win a playoff series, but I would also be a little surprised – because it’s really hard to do when your best two or three players are in their first two years of the NBA.”

Elsewhere in the East, the Cavs, as of now, would face the Raptors in the second round. Should Cleveland try to avoid that?

In a word, no.

“Unless you’re Houston or Golden State, there’s no one good enough to try to position over the last two games here to try to play someone in the first or second round,” Greenberg said. “Nobody’s good enough. LeBron doesn’t care who he plays, nor should he care. But the 14 other guys around him are not good enough at this point to have that same philosophy. ‘We’ll try and play a certain team because we’ll be better’ – listen, it doesn’t work that way for this team. This is not the same Cavs team that has been to the NBA Finals for the last three years. They can’t have that attitude.”