New York Knicks: One key advantage against each top seed in the East

Julius Randle, NY Knicks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Julius Randle, NY Knicks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Joel Embiid, Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

Knicks Advantage vs 76ers: Players to Bother Embiid

Philadelphia represents one of the most dangerous matchups for New York. The Knicks went 0-3 in their regular-season contests. The combo of Joel Embid and Ben Simmons, in addition to the Sixers’ newly added shooting talents in their supporting cast, gives Philly a dangerous combination of elite offense and defense.

Despite the 76ers’ overwhelming talent, the Knicks do have one unique advantage against their conference foes: post defense. It’s no secret that the Sixers live and die by the production of Embid. The MVP candidate is the franchise’s anchor on both offense and defense. However, New York boasts not one but two legitimate post defenders.

Despite missing major chunks of the season due to injuries, Mitchell Robinson remains one of the league’s best shot-blockers when he is healthy. He has the size, length, and lateral quickness to make life difficult for his superstar matchup.

Additionally, the Knicks have unlocked a new level of success in backup center Nerlens Noel. The former 6th overall pick (2013) has established a reputation as a journeyman and a bust. While his averages of 5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game are nothing spectacular, they have proven to be quite a value to NYC.

Noel has performed extremely well in limited action this season, particularly on the defensive end. His 2.1 blocks and 1 steal per game in just 23 minutes of action have allowed him to be a top backup big.

Embiid has a strength and skill advantage against both Knicks players. However, both Robinson and Noel have the ability to frustrate the star with their ability to send his shots into the stands.