Sarah Kustok reveals why the Philadelphia 76ers are the biggest threat to LeBron’s Cavs in the East

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Joining Nick Wright, Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe in studio on First Things First, Sarah Kustok reveals why the Philadelphia 76ers are the biggest threat to LeBron's Cavs in the East and could potentially win it all.

- Absolutely.

- Oh, I'm sorry, not make the Eastern Conference Finals, make the NBA Finals out of the East.

- I am still gonna say absolutely. And I think--

CRIS CARTER: Yeah, I mean, if they can make the Eastern Conference Finals--

- I just want to make sure the audience knows the question we're asking. I just want to make sure-- that's all.

- Yeah, we'll give it to them after the Cavs game.


NICK WRIGHT: Go ahead. No, no, no. Go ahead.


- We're teaming up on you on the side. No, without a doubt. And I think one of the most impressive things that we have seen now out of this team is the way in which they've been able to play without Joel Embiid. And I think it speaks to their versatility. And they can play fast, they can play slow. They can play in all different ways-- you want to go big, you want to go small.

This team has a lot of pieces. I know the one thing and the one knock against them, which of course they don't have, is playoff experience because of their youth. But they do have some players who bring that type of veteran experience. And this team as a whole continues to impress me because they are peaking at the right time of the season.

They share the ball so well. Speaking of Oklahoma City-- the lack of sharing the basketball. Philadelphia has been doing that. They share the basketball. They have shooters.

The one area of concern for me with them has been turnovers, and they've led the league in most turnovers throughout the duration of the entire season. That has improved drastically over the last 14 games during this win streak. And I think that's one area, especially during the playoffs and during the postseason, they're going to have to be very wary of given the fact that the game slows down a bit, possessions are so much more valuable.

But I, without a doubt, think they have a real shot at not only getting to the Eastern Conference Finals, but also potentially advancing.

- Listen, they are the only team in the East, that when I was doing my All-NBA ballot, almost had two players on it. Like, Ben Simmons-- Ben Simmons listed as guard or forward. I was doing that. And the sixth forward on the All-NBA, I'm like, Paul George or Ben Simmons? I don't know. I ended up with like-- that's-- it just--

He is going to be an amazing player. He's already, in my eyes, one of the 25 best players in this league. That's not even to speak to how good Joel Embiid is. And, by the way, how good this team has looked when Markelle Fultz is coming off the bench and giving in some real minutes.

Like, I don't know if people are paying attention, but you know that corner that Boston has staked claim to? The Eastern Conference team that's going to run the conference post-LeBron? Philly might not only be on that corner, they might have fully edged Boston off the corner, with now the biggest injury concern between the two teams maybe isn't Joel Embiid's foot, maybe it's Kyrie Irving's knee.

Like, as far as the future. Well, when you have Markelle Fultz, a number one overall pick who's given you-- besides in the last two weeks-- nothing all year. You know? I mean, so they have all those things coming for them.

The only reason that-- as someone that has said all year long-- the Cavs are a lock for the finals, the only reason that Philly has not made me truly nervous, is the precedent of needing some level of playoff experience before you go win three rounds.

Like, I'd never seen a team that-- I've seen teams where guys had playoff experience on different rosters, like the '08 Celtics. KG had his experience in Minnesota. Ray Allen had his experience in Seattle and Milwaukee. Paul Pierce-- and then they all came together, their first year and they make the finals and they win the championship. But that wasn't an inexperienced team, it was just a newly-put together team.

Everyone that matters on this team has never played in a playoff game, or the most important players have never played in a playoff game. That's the only-- because they're a more talented roster than Cleveland. They present match-up problems for Cleveland.

Like, for all those reasons, Philly's a real-- they're the second best team in this conference to me-- with, I guess, no disrespect to Toronto, maybe a little disrespect to Toronto-- but, to me, they're clearly the second most dangerous playoff team in this conference.