The Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers begin a seven-game series this afternoon from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Before tip-off, the Peachtree Hoops staff answers a final roundtable question. Which team will ultimately win the series and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals?
Brad Rowland: This is impossible without real knowledge on Embiid’s status. I think we all know that. I think Philadelphia is a pretty good matchup for Atlanta, and that would be true if Embiid was entering the series at 100 percent. The hedge would be that I would pick Philadelphia in 7 if Embiid was at least available to play throughout the series. The Hawks would have a better chance than most want to give them, though, and that is worth noting. If Embiid misses a few games or is gone entirely? Give me the Hawks. Atlanta is flat-out better than Philadelphia if you remove Embiid from the mix.
Wes Morton: Nothing makes sense this season. This team was 14-20 at one point. Why stop the wild ride here? Regulate Nate the Great captivates and controls Atlanta’s fate. Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Illadelph Halflife, I don’t care. Hawks in 6.
Glen Willis: I’d love to be wrong but I think the most likely outcome is Sixers in seven games all things considered. I’m guessing Philadelphia tries to get by without Embiid but that he probably ends up playing the last 3 games or so of the series and that’s enough to put the top-seeded team over the top.
Rashad Milligan: Hawks in 6 without Embiid, Sixers in 6 with Embiid.
Graham Chapple: This is a tough one… If Embiid was fully healthy, I probably would’ve leaned towards the Sixers in 5 or 6 games. Now it’s all up in the air. If Embiid does play, what version are we seeing? Anthony Davis Game 6 vs. Phoenix or...something a little better than that? If the Sixers even rest Embiid for the home games, see where that leaves them (especially if they win Game 1 without him) and if he’s able to return for Game 3 onwards, that still leaves Philly in a winnable spot. If Embiid is out of the equation entirely the Hawks should feel very confident. Meniscus injuries are no joke, but my gut screams Philly in 6 even still, but the Hawks are riding high and shouldn’t fear the Sixers without Embiid. I’ll probably regret it but I’ll lean into the fan/Peachtree Hoops staff optimism, Hawks in 6 (assuming Embiid either does not play or plays as a shadow of himself) but Gallinari and Bogdanovic (less so than Gallinari) will need to step up a little more in this series.
Elliott: Hawks in 6 without Embiid, 76ers in 6 with Embiid.
Malik Brown: If Embiid doesn’t play, I can see the Hawks winning in 6. If Embiid does play, I think the Sixers will take it home in 6 games.
Andrew Kelly: I tend to find it hard to believe that Embiid will be at full effectiveness this series while battling through what is reportedly a small meniscus tear and it would not surprise me if he missed an early game in the series. Philadelphia obviously has a massive drop-off with Embiid off the floor and it’s without a doubt the key storyline headed into the series. It all comes down to Embiid and I’m taking the skeptical side. Hawks in 6.
Josh Lane: 76ers in 6. I will gladly eat crow, but I see more questions at the moment for Atlanta than I see for Philadelphia.
Zach Hood: Hawks in 6. Embiid’s status is a huge asterisk, and if he’s able to come back to even 85-90% of his normal self, Atlanta will have a hard time winning this series. But if he misses multiple games to start the series, the Hawks may be able to steal home court before coming back to Atlanta for Game 3. Assuming they can get at least one of the first two in Philadelphia with Embiid out or limited, I like their chances from there.