Since the All Star break, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers have been two of the hottest teams in the league. The Celtics (10-4) have found a way to win games while absorbing numerous injuries to key players. The 76ers (12-5) boast an elite young core that has showed it can play with anyone.
With both teams gleaming with young talent, who has the brighter future?
The Celtics boast a couple of the elite young players in the league. Jaylen Brown (21) and Jayson Tatum (20) both vastly outplay their age and are on their way to stardom. The former is averaging 14 and 5 on 37 percent shooting from deep, while Tatum has put together 13 and 5 on 42 percent shooting from three. Both of these players are essential core pieces to the Celtics.
But it’s Terry Rozier that has people really excited. The 24-year-old has been absolutely working since Kyrie Irving went down with a knee injury.
Terry Rozier's production the past six games since Kyrie Irving’s knee soreness forced him to seek surgery:
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) March 26, 2018
Rozier has just been balling. Last night against the Sacramento Kings, he became the first player in NBA history to record at least 30 points, 8 threes, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals in a game.
On top of these three players, the Celtics have Kyrie Irving (26) and Gordon Hayward (28) as their veteran stars.
The Philadelphia 76ers have one of the best players in the league in Joel Embiid. We have never really seen a player like Embiid before. He can score on all three levels and defends his position better than most. When he is healthy and going, Embiid is straight-up unstoppable.
The other cornerstone for Philly is Ben Simmons. As a rookie, Simmons is an ambidextrous walking triple-double and one of the best passers in the game. He is averaging 16 points, 8 boards and 8 assists with a mass flurry of highlights.
Net Rating in March
– Ben Simmons: 14.1
– James Harden: 15.3
Offensive Rating in March
– Ben Simmons: 119.9
– James Harden: 117.6
One is a lock for MVP as the best in the league yet apparently the other hasn’t locked up ROY yet? Mitchell ROY theories are so stupid.
— Brett C (@Chambo413) March 20, 2018
The 76ers also have Dario Saric (23) and Robert Covington, who is one of the best defenders in the game. All of this on top of over 30 million to spend this summer and the projected #10 pick in the draft from the Los Angeles Lakers. The true wildcard for Philly is rookie Markelle Fultz. Once considered the consensus can’t miss prospect, Fultz suffered a bizarre shoulder injury that completely changed his shooting form and butchered his confidence. He has been working all season to get it back and come back.
This is where it gets interesting. We all know LeBron James is a free agent after this season, and Philly is doing a lot of work trying to land the megastar.
If James takes his talents to the 76ers next season, this argument is over. LeBron is still the best player in the league and might never slow down.
The Celtics are still anxiously waiting to see what their full team looks like. Since Marcus Morris missed the first month of the season, they literally have not had a full squad for even one game this season.
Assuming both teams are healthy to start next season, this is what it could look like.
Celtics: Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford with Rozier and Morris as the first off the bench.
Sixers: Simmons, Fultz, James (or another max player), Saric and Embiid with Covington and their top pick off the bench.
So who has it better? My vote goes to Celtics unless the Sixers land LeBron. The postseason and offseason will be very telling for both teams. Either way, both of their futures are supremely bright.