Not everybody, but some people believe the Sixers just got “unlucky” again this past playoff run.

Had Embiid been fully healthy, they think it would have been a different story in this playoff run.

Unfortunately, part of being a playoff great comes down to longevity, but even if the Sixers did make it to the ECF, they were fully healthy…


Let’s see how they would stack up against the—once again—Eastern Conference champions.

Only players who make the playoff rotation will be included here.


Guards

Sixers

  • Tyrese Maxey
  • Kyle Lowry
  • Cam Payne
  • Buddy Hield
  • De’Anthony Melton

Celtics

  • Jrue Holiday
  • Peyton Pritchard
  • Derrick White

The Sixers have more options at guard, but that’s only because their players aren’t as good. Jrue Holiday has experience (like Lowry), but he’s a few years younger and more consistent on the offensive side of the ball. Those few years of youth he has on Lowry allow him to play more minutes at a higher level.

Buddy Hield could be better than the Celtics’ options, but he was left out of the rotation for so long. He can shoot when he’s hot, but he can’t create a shot too well or distribute it to his teammates, either.

Tyrese Maxey is the best player on this list, which levels out the playing field with the guards going up against each other, but the Celtics guards know their roles, which helps them each use their individual talents in the best way to help the team.

Conclusion: Celtics

The Celtics take this position group, but barely. Maxey is easily the best player, but the other Sixers players don’t give enough significant time. The Celtic guards play a better brand of playoff basketball.


Forwards

Sixers

  • Kelly Oubre Jr.
  • Nicolas Batum
  • Tobias Harris

Celtics

  • Jaylen Brown
  • Jayson Tatum
  • Xavier Tillman Sr.
  • Sam Hause
  • Oshae Brissett

Is this even worth debating? Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum run circles around the Sixers’ group of forwards, and in the playoffs, teams need good play from their wings. Without consistent wing play, no team will go far in the playoffs.

Nicolas Batum helped the Sixers get where they needed to be during the play-in game, but he returned to his regular play afterward. Given his age and role, nothing is wrong with that.

Tobias Harris contributed negatively to the team throughout the whole playoff run and should not be back with the Sixers next year. He’s a liability at this point.

And lastly, Kelly Oubre. He gave the Sixers life at different points, but still can’t be someone to rely on in big spots. The Sixers should definitely keep him on the team next year. He provides some perimeter shooting and athleticism on the defensive and offensive sides. He doesn’t have the finesse you hope for, but he’s the best wing option the Sixers have as of now.

Conclusion: Celtics (and it’s not close)

Nobody will argue against this one. The Celtics arguably have the best group of forwards in the league.


Centers

Sixers

  • Joel Embiid
  • Paul Reed
  • Mo Bamba

Celtics

  • Al Horford (yuck)
  • Luke Kornet

Backup centers don’t usually take a lot of time, so not many teams put a lot of money and assets into that position. The Sixers could benefit from a good backup center, but unfortunately, they don’t care. With the amount of time Embiid misses, having Mo Bamba and Paul Reed just doesn’t cut it. Imagine if the Sixers could stay even or maybe gain points during Embiid’s absence from the floor in games. Or maybe if/when Embiid misses time, they don’t have the worst team out there. But that’s a rant for another day.

I will never stop saying that Al Horford purposely played for the Sixers just to suck and make them worse. He was good before them and good after them but never played well while here. At least he’s not Embiid kryptonite anymore.

Conclusion: Sixers

While the Sixers do easily win this position battle, it doesn’t affect the game as much as other groups because of the position they play.

Embiid will be the best player on the court when he’s out there, but the wings dominate the NBA, and they are needed to win.


Regarding centers, teams can easily get by with someone who only does 1-2 things well, which provides an opportunity to improve the rest of the team.

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