Apr 17 2014

Talking About Practice

Change is afoot.

The season is over. The playoffs are starting. The draft is nearly here. With all these big happenings, um, happening, myself, Eric Goldwein, and Anthony Calabro sat down tonight to talk some Sixers.

On the conversational docket was:

1.) The Sixers’ draft plans

2.) The possibility of the Hinkie, that modest alchemist, turning the Sixers’ growing bundle of assets into a superstar

3.) Playoff predictions

Enjoy! (And, if you don’t, at least keep quiet about it–hand to god we’ll get better at these.)

  • robbybonfire23

    Hopefully this team can learn from the horrendous strategic mistake the Clippers are making, game after game. In their loss Saturday night, DeAndre Jordan got FIVE shots all night. Look, DeAndre Jordan, in the regular season, shot 68 per cent from the floor and averaged over five points scored per missed floor shot. This in a league where a 3.0 average in this category is outstanding. In their four-point loss, Saturday, Paul and Griffin shot a combined 16-36 from the floor. That is NOT 68 per cent efficiency!

    For the 7’s, the team leader in this PPX category, as I call it, was H. Sims at a mediocre 2.43 PPX. MCW checked in with the bottom-feeders at 1.86; Young at 2.02; Tony W. at 2.03; Hollis Thompson a bit better at 2.39. You bypass your biggest offensive weapon in your game plan at your peril. The Clippers do not have a clue, and yes, Paul and Griffin are really talented, but they should be setting up Jordan, not the other way around. Can you imagine Wilt Chamberlain being restricted by his own team to five shots per game, to set up the Guy Rodgers and Gail Goodrich-types of the world from downtown? (Nobody can.)

    Can we do better? Can we give Noel, at 59 per cent shooter in college, at least a look at what he can add, offensively, in the NBA? Or do we want to copycat the Clippers and underachieve with the best of them? It is supposed to be up to your opponents to shut down your offense. Championship-caliber teams do not do that job for them.

    • hk99


      I have a question about your metric of choice. Shouldn’t your metric at least represent missed FT’s in some way? If the player in question, in this case DeAndre Jordan, is such a bad foul shooter (42%), he can be inefficient on offense by wasting possessions (2 missed FT’s = 1 missed FG) and still rack up a good PPX if a team intentionally fouls him.

      • robbybonfire23

        Good question HK.

        Frankly, I haven’t given it much thought, but now that you bring it up, we can agree that a player’s PPX, his total points scored divided by his missed FG attempts, is negatively impacted, the more inefficient he is from the foul line. When I see the few, select players above a 3.0 average in this column, which is exceptionally good in both college and the NBA, I certainly cut these offensive stalwarts considerable slack for their glaring failures shooting FT’s, where that applies.

        But I don’t want to gloss over your excellent question, either. Because I cannot think of anything more painful or more costly in Philadelphia NBA history, than Wilt Chamberlain’s crass ineptitude from the line. It cost both the Warriors and the 76ers trips to the finals, and by extension some NBA titles, in so many years. I remember watching on TV the 76ers, who were defending their NBA title won in 1967, playing the Celtics for the conference title in 1968. The Celtics game plan in game seven was to run the end of bench guys into the game to foul Wilt, who obliged by missing half his FT attempts. On many occasions, Boston took possession with Wilt not even making a FT. That killed our championship defense, need I say?

        So yes, it’s a tie-breaker stat, but it does not negate other enormous strengths, same as no one ever discusses Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Reggie Jackson career strike outs in the context of discussions about all the mammoth and clutch home runs they hit.

        If DeAndre could be obtained in a trade because he is not the Clippers go-to guy on offense, in conjunction with his FT struggles, I could live with it if we were to offer some draft picks as trade bait to get him….He is a force in this league, and the NBA’s most under-rated player. BUT, we would certainly have to re-define his roll, to make the most of his enormous talents. He is as great shooting from the floor, as he is inept shooting from the line – quite an irony.

        • Wesley Share

          DeAndre Jordan doesn’t get the ball on offense because he has no post-game, bad hands and can’t dribble. He’s taken about 500 shots inside this year, but they’re mostly tip-ins and fast-break buckets. Dude has no post semblance of an offensive game. He’s ranked towards the bottom on the Clips in points per touch at 0.21 this season, despite actually getting almost 50 touches per game.

          • robbybonfire23

            That’s a great little stat you’ve got there, Wesley – the baseball equivalent of “Hits per times stepping out of the batter’s box.”

            Lebron James Has a PPX of 3.56 (2089 pts. scored / 586 XFGA. DeAndre Jordan just put up 856 points on 167 missed FGA = 5.13 PPX. I would be shocked if that is not an all-time NBA high-water mark.

            DeAndre notched 9 1 /2 DR’s per game; Lebron notched 6 DR’s per game. Lebron wins the assist column comparison, 6 1/2 per game to 1 per game for DeAndre.

            I guess it all comes down to the value fans like us put on these different categories. I know that winning in sports has as much to do with how teams deploy their personnel, as much as the overall caliber of their personnel. This is something you ~rarely~ see referenced in the media. So many players are asked to do more than they are capable of doing, best example I can think of in recent years being that excrement-reeking imbecilic manager FORCING Jimmy Rollins, with his circa .250 OBA when actually leading off an inning over the years, to be the Phillies leadoff batter, literally until the cows came home.

            And for the Clippers to lose games when their two sharp-shooters are shooting 40+ per cent, when DeAndre is hitting – all season long – on two of every three shots he takes from the floor, is a bit cockeyed, at least in my world.

            Some of this imbalance of offensive attack on the part of the Clippers and other teams comes from the disproportionate reward for the three-point shot, at 50 per cent more value than the two-point shot. So the Clippers are acknowledging the reality of today’s game in that respect. But damn, I’m the coach and I’ve got a player hitting 2/3rds of his shots, I tell him – “Every time you TOUCH the ball, shoot the ball.” Which would clear up that little statistical anomaly. lol.

          • Kevin

            One of the reasons his shooting % is so high is because of the numerous put-backs and alley-oops he receives and the fact that he doesn’t play outside of his game. He has taken 515 shots on the year, or 6.3 per game. The average distance of his shot attempts are 2.1 feet (Inside of 3 feet he shoots 72%, outside he shoots under 50%). He doesn’t exactly have the ability to create his own shot, so he also requires having players that can get him the ball in positions where he can score and also must have other players that take attention off of him.

            While the 72% inside is nice, the 43% FT’s are not, which is why if I ran an NBA team, I would make sure he shot FT’s every time he was close enough for a shot attempt. Effectively rendering him ineffective, and also placing heavy odds on him costing his team the game, much like the “Hack-a-Dwight” has cost the Rockets games this season.

            I agree that winning requires more than just talent, and that it requires knowing how that talent needs to be utilized. I would like to think that Brett Brown and company will be able to put whichever players they obtain in the proper positions to be effective. However, I don’t think his abilities would be helpful for these 76ers, especially since we may have a similar player already in Nerlens Noel.

          • robbybonfire23

            We are going to emphatically agree, Kevin, that Noel – specifically how Noel is deployed by this team, in conjunction with what he demonstrates he is capable of doing, is THE key to this team’s moving forward.

            Apart from Jordan, (who seems to be, in an analogous sense) guilty of hitting 350-foot home runs, instead of 450 to 550 foot “tape measure bombs,” as his greatest weakness), what about Embiid? Is Noel “similar” to Embiid, also? Do we bypass drafting Embiid, if we have a shot at him, because Noel is “similar?” This could be misplaced trust, as regards Noel and his role here. If we bypass drafting Embiid and turn Noel into strictly a defensive “role player,” where is the offense going to come from, because it won’t be coming from MCW, on a proficiency basis, or anyone else, (God forbid, that Wiggins plug) who will be donning this uniform next year?

            The talent mix on this team next season may be an embarrassing hybrid with over-lapping strengths and weaknesses, to where everyone has glaring limitations either on offense or D, and there is not one “complete” player in the lot. Wish we could get this draft over with, so we can all start to get the picture as to what this team will look like, come October?

            You keep Wiggins and Parker, I am thinking, if we lose out on Embiid, Marcus Smart is my dramatic upgrade from the chronic fumblings of Tony Wroten, given that if we are going to be a low-percentage shooting team, again, next year, we cannot also be a mistake-prone team and expect to not pay a severe price for that double-jeopardy.

          • robbybonfire23

            I do have major reservation about this “points per touch” stat. What is does is penalize a player away from the basket, for assisting on a score via getting the ball to a teammate in better position to score. He touched the ball but since HE didn’t score he comes up empty, statistically, in this points per touch category.

            Add to this how this stat ~rewards~ a player prone to taking low-percentage shots, even if he makes just 20-30 per cent of them. This stat makes a low-percentage, Me first-Team last gunner look better than a team-oriented player who unselfishly helps his team score and win. It’s an awful concept and needs to be trash-canned, unless it has some redeeming value I am over-looking, and I do allow for that.