Nick Wright on how the Philadelphia 76ers have overcome a lack of experience in the playoffs

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Reflecting on Philadelphia closing out the Miami Heat in round one of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs with their 104-91 victory last night, Nick Wright reveals to Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe how the Sixers have been able to triumph in the postseason despite their lack of collective experience.

- Three things they have that has trumped the lack of experience, in no particular order, of importance. One, excellent coaching. Brett Brown saw this through the fire. The team allowed him to see this through the fire. So he has the respect of his players. And he has proven to be a very sharp head coach.

Point two, team building as a whole, adding Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli, as CC alluded to, realizing, you know what, instead of overpaying on a multi-year contract for a B-plus player, why don't we way overpay on a one-year contract for a B-level player who fits us perfectly in JJ Redick, things like that, to where they are-- we talk about the Rockets. They have a similar analytical approach to what are good shots, what are bad shots. And the players we acquire are going to focus on the good shots rather than the bad shots. Robert Covington another example, one of the hidden gems of the process.

And point three is this, they got swagger, man. And it matters in the-- when we talk about playoff experience, one of the things-- reasons that matters is, you have to have the confidence that the moment is not too big for you. And Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons carry themselves with this swagger of, I am the best player not only in this game but in every game I play in. You cannot stop me.

Some of that swagger just comes from physical size, that in every game Joel Embiid's played in, essentially since he's 16 years or older, he's been the most physically imposing guy. And by the way, Ben Simmons, same thing with him as far as guys at his position. So they carry themselves with almost a tough guy bravado that has proven out to work thus far in the playoffs.

Like, they-- they have a punch you in the face defense. They play at a frenetic pace. And this year, if they don't turn the ball over-- when they turn the ball over a bunch, they're are a 500 team. When they turn the ball over just less than 17 times, so they can still have four turnovers a quarter, they're 35 and 9. If they take care of the basketball, because they take such high efficiency shots, because they have so much talent, and because they're so well coached, they're as good as anybody in the league.

- This is a team that lost one game in the last six weeks, one game. They had that phenomenal stretch coming down. And then to start the postseason like this--

But let's just break that down a little bit. We talked about how special of a player Ben Simmons is in what theoretically is his first full year playing basketball. What kind of statement did he make, both to that team and then to, you know, I guess whoever's going to be waiting in the next round?

- I think he makes a statement by playing within himself, not trying the shoe-- I've criticized his inability to build a shoot beyond, say, seven feet. But he's played this game, you know? He's been a floor general. He's played good defense.

He's a young kid of a few words, doesn't play with-- with-- with-- with the type of emotion that could-- you see him go up and down, like younger players do. He plays with a swagger, with a confidence that Nick talked about. But it's a quiet confidence that we typically don't see.

Typically, when guys have confidence, you see them talking to let you know that they have confidence. Very seldom do you see-- Ben is a lot like LeBron. You won't see him saying a whole bunch of things. But he has that quiet confidence that other guys have been able to feed off.

So this inexperience-- when you are a once every couple decade type player, like, your life-- Ben Simmons, he thinks one day he's going to be the best player in the world. So this is just part of the process, being in the playoffs.

I like the fact that they don't think that the process is 2019 or 2020.

- They're in it.

- They think that the process is right now. And they're good enough to win right now. And Joel Embiid has even taken on himself. Draymond Green of him has struck up a relationship, where him and Draymond are texting during the playoffs. And Draymond has been trying to tell him some things to be able to help make that learning curve not so steep for him about what to do in the playoffs after the first couple of games.

Joel Embiid was a little overwhelmed by the crowd and how they embraced this team and the overall noise in the first two games in Philadelphia. So they're doing a number of things that would get them to the position where they would be comfortable in that spot.

- And thank goodness Joel Embiid's not a pending free agent, because the last pending free agent Draymond was texting during the playoffs then signed with the Warriors. So we don't have to worry about that.

But the confidence that winning this series the way they did, in pretty dominant fashion-- I said yesterday or day before, the playoffs are supposed to be hard. These games were hard for Philly through the first half, very often through three quarters. And that had been their biggest weakness all year, if you watched this team all year. They were not a great second half team. And they were a bad offensive fourth quarter team.

In these playoffs, they've been extraordinary in the second half, particularly in fourth quarters. I don't want to overstate what they did, because Miami was a great matchup for them. Miami does not have a single offensive player that really scares you. And we know how good Philly's defense is. And in the next round, they're either going to face a team in Boston that I think has the coaching edge or a team in Milwaukee that will have the best player in the series. But Philly should be a favorite, no matter who comes out of that Boston Milwaukee series.

- Yeah. I think being--