Nov 08 2013

The Costs of Living On the Run

Do I enjoy watching the Sixers blaze up and down the floor? Sure do. Fast breaks, ill-advised threes, free Big Macs. Yeah, count me in.

As Tom pointed out yesterday, the Sixers are averaging 105.6 possessions a game, giving their team the most chances to score. Obviously, there is a downside to living life on the run: Horrendous, disjointed, undisciplined team defense.

Since we don’t have all day, let’s just take a look at their three point defense. The Sixers are allowing 108.4 points per contest, with a third of those points coming off of 3-pointers — the most in the league on both counts. Sixers opponents are averaging a league high 30.2 3-point attempts a game — and making 40.4 percent. There are a number of defensive issues at play here (bad rotations, new regime with new philosophies, talent deficiencies all over the court, etc…). But examined from another angle, we can see that the Sixers offense isn’t helping matters either. In their last three games, the Sixers are only shooting 43.6 percent. More misses means more opponent run outs, and not being able to properly set up your D. For a young team still trying to figure each other out, bad offense likely means terrible defense.

But there is some good news: Tonight, the Sixers face a Cleveland Cavaliers team struggling from the 3-point line, shooting only 31.5 percent from distance. Although the Cavs only average 18 three point attempts per game, I expect that number to hit 25.

Here are three other things to think about:

  • More bowling, less basketball for Bynum? Andrew Bynum is back! And he is always good for a quote or two: “I’m a shell of myself on the court right now. I’m just struggling mentally.” Yikes.
  • Rookie mistakes for Michael Carter-Williams: MCW can miss as many shots as he wants. He can play matador defense. But slowing down to bark at the refs for not getting a foul call after a drive to the hoop is a no-no for a rookie. Doesn’t help your team. Won’t get you any calls. Now, get off my lawn!
  • Waiters back in Philly: Dion Waiters can be a little frustrating at times, especially on the defensive end. Still, the Philly product can fill it (albeit with a terrible shooting percentage) and I’ll be looking forward to watching how he and Kyrie Irving work together in Cleveland’s backcourt.