The Bucks moved east from the Western Conference 1980. In six of the next seven years, the 76ers and Bucks met head-to-head in the playoffs — usually after they both racked up 50+ win seasons.
In most of the seasons since those clashes — with the 76ers win in the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals being the notable exception — the two franchises have struggled for a foothold among the league’s competitive teams.
Thirty years after their heyday, the pair may struggle to fetch a combined 30 wins between them this season. The Bucks have the worst record in the NBA. They don’t yet have a winning streak.
The 76ers have the second-worst record. They’ve lost ten straight games overall, and nine consecutive games at home.
Since Jan. 5, the two teams have a combined 6-39 (0.133) record and they have been outscored by a combined 599 points.
What to Watch For: Bucks
How will the minutes be distributed now that the Bucks have acquired Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien? The pair played 21 and 18 minutes, respectively, in their debuts Saturday, though Sessions had to play extra minutes when Nate Wolters turned his ankle. There’s not a huge logjam, especially with Brandon Knight getting the majority of his minutes in conjunction with Wolters, but the Bucks are best served by devoting the bulk of their guard minutes to their developing duo and not to an older, free-agent-to-be.
What to Watch For: 76ers
In the midst of their ten-game losing streak, the 76ers did a tank-a-licious job of gutting of their team: making a bunch of moves in the days leading up to the trade deadline. Among them:
Acquired a pair of 2014 2nd-round picks from Cleveland (Cavs and Grizzlies) along with Earl Clark and Henry Sims in exchange for Spencer Hawes. They subsequently waived Clark.
Completed a three-team trade with Denver and Washington, acquiring more 2nd rounders (Denver in 2016 and New Orleans in 2015) and Eric Maynor from the Wizards.
Acquired a 2018 2nd round pick from the Clippers and Byron Mullens in exchange for a protected second round pick in 2014.
Acquired Danny Granger and a 2015 2nd round pick (belonging to Golden State) from Indiana in exchange for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen.
In other words, the 76ers have far more future second-round picks from other teams than they do viable NBA players on their current roster.
The only two 76ers playing in this game who also played for Philadelphia last season are Young and Arnett Moultrie. New arrivals Danny Granger, Eric Maynor, Byron Mullens and Henry Sims could make their Philadelphia debuts tonight.
Time – 6:00 p.m. CST
TV – FS Wisconsin
Radio – 620 WTMJ
Bucks: Nate Wolters (left ankle sprain; probable), Caron Butler (left ankle pain; probable) Carlos Delfino (foot surgery; out), Larry Sanders (face surgery; out)
76ers: Brandon Davies (fractured finger; out), Nerlens Noel (left knee injury; out).
PG Nate Wolters
SG Brandon Knight
SF Khris Middleton
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C John Henson
PG Michael Carter-Williams
SG Elliott Williams
SF James Anderson
PF Thaddeus Young
C Arnett Moultrie
Choose the form of the Destroyer: Jeff Adrien
Sure, this spot normally goes to an opponent, but the 76ers aren’t flush with Destroyer Candidates.
If Jeff Adrien maintains an offensive rebound percentage, defensive rebound percentage, and assist percentage above 30% (as he has done after one game as a Buck), then his tenure in Milwaukee will go smoothly.
Of course, those numbers are unsustainable. But Adrien figures to be a round peg in a gaping round hole. All season long, the Bucks have lacked the interior presence of someone who resisted being pushed out of the way for a rebound.
His rebounds could go a long way toward some Bucks wins at a portion of the season when getting a win isn’t as meaningful as getting a win normally might be. In a sense, he could destroy the thing most valuable commodity for either of these two teams: ping-pong balls.
Because the awful 76ers are now tanking as hard as (or perhaps harder) than the awful Bucks.