One of the biggest games on the 23rd of December is the Eastern Conference matchup featuring the Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers. Although this wouldn't have been an important matchup last season, the Washington Wizards' recent acquisition of Russell Westbrook makes this game exciting.
The point guard battle between Russell Westbrook and Ben Simmons will be a sight to behold, as both have a similar style of play. Joel Embiid is expected to dominate the post due to the lack of a bona fide big man on the Washington Wizards.
The Philadelphia 76ers are defensively stronger compared to the Washington Wizards. The Wizards will have to compensate on the offensive end.
Best Starting 5 between the Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers
This fixture features a lot of All-Stars, two former champions, one former MVP, and several key role players. Both teams have versatile starters, so the combined starting 5 of this matchup would be incredible.
Let's look at the combined starting 5 of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Wizards.
Point Guard — Russell Westbrook (Washington Wizards)
This game will be Russell Westbrook's debut as a Washington Wizard, after he was traded from the Houston Rockets for John Wall. Westbrook is one of the most explosive guards in NBA history. His speed and athleticism are amazing, and he plays with incredible energy every single game.
Ben Simmons' versatile nature allows him to be deployed as a forward while Russell Westbrook plays as a point guard. Westbrook was the 2017 league MVP and is the only player to average a triple-double for three straight seasons. He is second in all-time triple-doubles (146) and holds the record for most triple-doubles in a season (42).
Shooting Guard — Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Bradley Beal is the perfect shooting guard for this combined starting 5. He averaged a whopping 30.5 points per game last season, and is an incredible three-point shooter — unlike Westbrook and Simmons. Beal is an incredible shot creator and scorer, and often gets teammates involved as well.
Bradley Beal's lack of an All-Star selection last season is considered one of the biggest snubs in NBA history. He was one of just two players to average 30+ points per game, and he was left out of all three 'All-NBA' teams as well.
Small Forward — Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
Ben Simmons has played the role of a forward in practices and scrimmages, and many people argue that his playing style is more of a “point-forward”. His inside scoring, lack of a three-point shot, and incredible defense make him an ideal small forward for this combined starting 5.
Ben Simmons, just like Russell Westbrook, is a triple-double threat on most nights, being a 6'10” rebounding guard with exceptional passing ability. He is one of the best defenders in this starting 5 with an All-Defensive First Team selection and a steals title in 2020.
Power Forward — Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)
Tobias Harris, the best power forward in this matchup, was the obvious choice for the position in the combined starting 5. At 6'8” and 226 lbs, he is an extremely athletic high-shooting forward. Tobias Harris averages 20 points per game on 52% shooting, while making almost 2 threes a game on 36% efficiency.
Tobias Harris has developed his defense drastically, and has shown that he can defend multiple positions including smaller and quicker guards. He is also a fantastic passer and has developed great chemistry with his Philadelphia 76ers teammates.
Center — Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
The Cameroonian center was the obvious big man for the combined starting 5. Joel Embiid is the Philadelphia 76ers' star player and all championship hopes lie on his shoulders. He has been averaging incredible numbers consistently for the past couple of seasons, and is one of the rare big men with a decent three-point shot.
Joel Embiid is a fantastic defender as well, averaging almost 2 blocks per game and earning himself two All-Defensive Team selections.Published 23 Dec 2020, 01:00 IST