On one side of the benches lies a team that has clearly found themselves in rebuilding mode all over again in the Philadelphia 76ers. Then on the other side of the benches we have a much improved New York Knicks squad.
Last season, the Knicks were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals and the Sixers fell short of reaching the postseason. The Sixers finished last season with a 34-48 record and finished fourth in the Atlantic Division. The Knicks finished with an impressive 54-28 record which captured them the best record in the Atlantic Division.
As division rivals, it will be interesting to see how the two teams stack up against each other this season with a complete different cast on their respective rosters:
Obviously, with the loss of first-time all-star from last year Jrue Holiday, the Sixers have taken a step backwards in terms of backcourt. During the 2013 NBA Draft, the Sixers decided to trade the star guard to the New Orleans Pelicans for draft pick Nerlens Noel, and a first round draft pick for the 2014 draft. The new point guard will more than likely be 6’6″ rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams out of Syracuse.
As an “over-sized” point guard, he averaged 7.3 assists last season in college and that may be the biggest reason they drafted him not to mention his reliable jump shot. Evan Turner will still be the team’s shooting guard and looks to be the franchise player by default on the roster, but that is only because we have yet to see the talents of Noel or Carter-Williams on the big stage yet.
Iman Shumpert vs. Evan Turner would be a very intriguing matchup to see since they are both up-and-coming guards in the league. At this point, Shumpert would own Turner on the offensive end and defensive end. With a much more consistent jump shot and of course the better on-ball defense Shumpert wins that battle hands down.
As for the point guard battle, you would think the much taller player in Carter-Williams should win that battle right? Wrong. Raymond Felton is one of the best guards in the NBA at dribbling off of pick-and-rolls and finding the best option for a score. Felton would take Carter-Williams to the basket all game long, and if he isn’t scoring the ball believe me he is finding Chandler or whoever is down on the low block for an easy bucket.
Advantage: New York Knicks