3 Teams that should especially want to avoid Knicks in first round of playoffs

The Knicks will be a nightmare matchup.

New York Knicks, Jalen Brunson
New York Knicks, Jalen Brunson / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages
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1. Philadelphia Sixers

Like the Knicks, the Sixers have struggled to achieve playoff success. The difference is that New York doesn't have an MVP in its starting lineup. Philadelphia might not have one in time for the postseason, either.

Joel Embiid has been out for a month and a half with a knee injury he suffered against Golden State on Jan. 30. He hasn't been ruled out for the season, and the Sixers believe he can return. However, a few days ago, ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne reported Embiid isn't "anywhere close" to returning. With less than a month left in the regular season, things aren't looking good in Philadelphia.

The Sixers spent time as the No. 2 seed in the conference earlier in the season but have since dropped to Play-In Tournament range. Tyrese Maxey is a star, but his presence alone isn't enough to propel Philadelphia to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001.

If the Sixers claw their way back up the standings and finish at No. 5, the last thing they should want is for the Knicks to sit in the No. 4 spot. Not only would New York have homecourt advantage, but Philadelphia would get hammered on the offensive end by the Knicks' suffocating defense.

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