The Philadelphia 76ers begin their Western Conference road trip at Chase Center with a game against the Golden State Warriors. The 76ers have shown incredible resilience and winning mentality and have continued to win games despite the loss of key player Joel Embiid. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors have had to play two games without their key player as well, as Stephen Curry was out with a tailbone injury.
Kevon Looney will return to the lineup for the Golden State Warriors after he cleared health and safety protocols. The loss of Embiid has hurt the Philadelphia 76ers against tough teams but they shouldn't face a problem with the struggling Warriors.
Philadelphia 76ers vs Golden State Warriors Prediction - March 23rd, 2021
The Philadelphia 76ers look like favorites to win this game, but given Embiid's absence and a rested Stephen Curry likely to come back to the lineup, anything can happen. The 76ers have won eight of their last nine games and show no signs of slowing down. Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons have done a great job holding the fort and have stepped up their game.
The Golden State Warriors, however, have struggled to find consistency and rhythm this season. They are 22-21 and occupy the the 9th spot in the competitive Western Conference, and several analysts argue that the the Dubs should intentionally tank the season to earn a high draft pick in the upcoming draft.
The game is part of a TNT double-header on Tuesday and the nationally televised match will be an interesting one as both teams feature All-Stars and some spectacular players. So let's take a look at a hypothetical combined starting 5 between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Golden State Warriors.
Point Guard - Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Superstar point guard Stephen Curry is the obvious choice for this position. He is one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game and his marksman-like shooting ability is one of a kind. Curry is averaging numbers close to his unanimous MVP year this season. He is dropping nearly 30 points per game and has had two of the biggest scoring performances this season, with 62 points against Portland and 57 points against Dallas.
Shooting Guard - Seth Curry (Philadelphia 76ers)
The only time you'd see the Curry brothers share the same backcourt is in this hypothetical combined starting lineup. Often overshadowed by his two-time MVP brother, Seth Curry is an incredible shooter as well. He has provided the 76ers with much needed distance shooting and he led the league last year in catch-and-shoot threes. Seth Curry is shooting 43% from three-point range while making at least two a game.
Small Forward - Andrew Wiggins (Golden State Warriors)
One positive in the Golden State Warriors' season has been the turnaround of Andrew Wiggins. He is averaging the best shooting season of his career and has turned into a force to reckon with defensively. Wiggins' jump on the defensive side of the floor has also caught the attention and he often guards the opponent's best guards.
Power Forward - Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
Even though he plays point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons' height and versatile defensive prowess allow him to play in multiple positions.
Simmons believes he is the best defender in the league, deserving of the DPOY award, as he is capable of defending positions 1 through 5. He is also an incredible facilitator and distributor, leading his team in assists with 7.7 a night.
76ers coach Doc Rivers recently spoke about Simmons' chances to win the DPOY award:
"Ben is a lock to me. He just...He guards every position. And he makes such a difference. And not just at the rim, it's everywhere. He literally at times swallows players. And I've not seen that."
Center - Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)
Ideally we would have had Joel Embiid for this position but given his absence, Tobias Harris gets the position. He is the listed power forward for the 76ers and could easily play as a small-ball center. Harris has stepped up big time since Embiid got injured. He is the second-highest scorer on the team and is shooting nearly 51% from the field, including 41% from three.