5 Eastern Conference teams that should scare the Sixers

James Harden, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
James Harden, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Why the Atlanta Hawks should scare the Sixers

Ah, memories! The Hawks are back on the radar folks and unfortunately they’re going to stay there. Trae Young has started the season ice-cold (pardon the pun), but Atlanta is still 4-2 with plenty of momentum to build on.

Any “fear” of course starts with Young, the exact type of player who gives Philly problem after problem on defense. He cuts like a knife through the halfcourt defense and kickstarts a lot of transition opportunities with his speed and passing ability. Young’s ability to keep the ball on a string can neutralize even the best defenders and there’s no longer 6-foot-10 Ben Simmons standing in his way.

The Hawks also added another high-level playmaker to the mix with Dejounte Murray. He can run the second units when Young sits and the early chemistry between the All-Star point guards has been remarkably strong. Atlanta’s speed and playmaking juice will challenge the Sixers’ infamously fickle defense.

Atlanta has the built-in confidence of having beaten Philadelphia before. It’s different now — Ben Simmons’ shooting woes no longer loom over the franchise — but the Sixers haven’t exactly exorcised any postseason demons since Simmons’ decided to force his way out. The defensive problems are the same, if not worse, and the offense has been surprisingly stale to open the season. Young is good enough to be the best player on a contender and the Hawks’ defense looks primed for a major step in the right direction.