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Nov 02 2013

‘Coach really doesn’t like long twos’

Before last night’s game I spoke briefly with Lavoy Allen, and after asking him a few admittedly stupid questions–What’s it like playing on a team with low expectations? How do you deal with this roster turnover? What’s your favorite color? Durrrrrr–we got to talking about the new offense.

What he told me, I already knew: “Coach really doesn’t like long twos. If you want to shoot a long two, you might as well take a step back and shoot a three.” But hearing it, then seeing it backed up in a 109-102 road victory, was refreshing.

Sixers at Wizards, Nov. 1, 2013

Sixers at Wizards, Nov. 1, 2013

Naturally, Allen’s first shot attempt – a make – was a 20-foot jumper at the top of the key. He was wide-open and there were 11 seconds left on the shot clock; perhaps he should have taken a step back. But check out the team’s shot chart on the left, courtesy of NBA.com/stats. The Sixers attempted just eight long twos all game and Allen’s 20-footer was the only one that went in.

Allen, called out in the preseason for sleeping through a practice, finished the game 5-of-6 and was a +7 off the bench. Two of his field goals were layups, one was a short baseline jumper, and one came off a nice post move. His shot selection presumably met Brett Brown’s standards.

The same can be said for his teammates. In the paint the Sixers scored a whopping 74 points – their highest total of the last 15 years. Evan Turner threw up bricks, and yet he still managed to shoot 10-of-18 because he was attacking and getting easy layups. Thaddeus Young was an insane 14-of-15 from up close, which we’ve seen before, but this was taking it to another level.

Spencer Hawes' shot chart. Sixers @ Wizards Nov. 1, 2013.
Spencer Hawes’ shot chart. 

“We want to attack, attack. We want to get to the rim. It’s not all about just firing up threes,” Brown said after the game.

The winner for best shot selection (left) goes to Spencer Hawes, whose 12 shot attempts came from inside the circle or outside the arc. The Sixers made five of their last eight three-pointers – two from Hawes – after starting 1-of-15.

Is this sustainable? Probably not. They shot a ridiculous 35-of-46 from the circle area and attempted only 14 foul shots. Through two games, though, this new offensive system is working as well as anyone could have expected. With a rookie starting at the point, a former D-Leaguer at two-guard and a roster full of castaways, the offensive efficiency rating is through the roof at 105.8, good for sixth in the association. The 96-minutes’ worth of data is striking enough to make you question whether this roster–as currently constructed–is even capable of losing 50+ games.