Friday, April 15, 2011

Sixers vs. Heat: First Round Breakdown

After one season away, the Sixers have climbed out of the abyss of the NBA and have gotten themselves back into the playoffs. Unfortunately, they are up against a Heat team that will likely be too much for them to handle. While I don't expect the Sixers to get blown out in any one game in the series, it will nevertheless likely be over quick. Here is my breakdown of the series.

Backcourt: While some argue that LeBron James is basically a point guard, the best backcourt player on either team, by a wide margin, is Dwayne Wade. Wade's numbers barely dipped this year even with the arrival of James, and he is still the number one option for the Heat when they really need a basket. Starting opposite Wade in the Heat backcourt is Mike Bibby, who is only useful to hit an occasional three and is a point guard in name only. The Sixers starting backcourt is solid, with Jrue Holiday continuing to come into his own and Jodie Meeks hitting nearly 40% of his three pointers. No matter how you arrange the pieces, though, the Heat have the clear advantage. EDGE: HEAT

Frontcourt: The advantage in the frontcourt is even bigger for the Heat, with James and Chris Bosh trumping anything the Sixers can throw at them. Despite all the negative press he receives, James is still a basketball freak of nature who can't be guarded by anyone. Andre Iguodala is a great defender, and he may even slow James down at times, but even Iggy at the top of his game has no shot at slowing down LeBron. As for Bosh, he is also takes his share of criticism for not being the superstar player he was labeled to be, but he is still putting up nearly 19 points and 8 boards a game, great numbers for the third best player on any team. The Heat start Zydrunas Ilgauskas at center, but he's just a big body and doesn't play a lot of minutes, much like Sixers starter Spencer Hawes. The Sixers frontcourt rounds out with Elton Brand, who has put up better numbers this year while dealing with nagging injuries. EDGE: HEAT

Bench: Finally, a spot where the Sixers have a clear advantage. With Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams coming off the bench, the Sixers have players that make a big impact when they enter the game. The Heat do not, with their best bench guys being one-dimensional, with shooters Mike Miller and James Jones and shot-blocker Joel Anthony being their biggest contributors. The Sixers bench will clearly do some damage when the Heat go to the bench, as Young has begun to develop into a star and even an injured Williams should be able to contribute. EDGE: SIXERS

Prediction: Against any other top Eastern Conference team, I would have believed that the Sixers could have done some damage and made their heavily favored opponent sweat out every win. While things won't be simple for the Heat, the Sixers just don't have the talent to matchup with James and Wade, and they don't have the offensive weapons to pull out close games in the end. For the Sixers, simply getting to the playoffs this season was probably enough, so there is no shame in bowing out quickly. They are still a team building for the future, so any experience they get in the playoffs now will only help them grow as a team down the round. HEAT IN FIVE

No comments: