THE STORY OF 76ERS 2018-19 SEASON: FANTASTIC FIVE AND TITLE CHANCES.

THE STORY OF 76ERS 2018-19 SEASON: FANTASTIC FIVE AND TITLE CHANCES.

PHI

76ers team we see now is quite different than in the beginning of the season. More about this team which has one of the best starting five in NBA in this story of their 2018-19 season.

In addition to Lebron, 76ers to pursue Kawhi Leonard & Paul George in NBA Free Agency.

kawhi-leonard-LeBron-james-paul-george-76ers-photoshop-2018

‘’So far, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. Paul George stayed put in OKC, LeBron decided to take his talents to Los Angeles, and talks with the Spurs about a deal for Kawhi have become stagnant.’’(https://thesixersense.com/2018/07/07/philadelphia-76ers-no-need-sweat-quiet-offseason/)

Serious face

Things are much different for 76ers and GM Elton Brand during the regular season. What Philadelphia 76ers didn’t achieve during off-season they did during regular season!

Butler to 76ers and Covington & Saric to Timberwolves.

usat_jimmy_butler_dario_saric_robert_covington

 

Both Covington and Saric are great players but obviously not enough for ambitious team like Philadelphia to win the Title. Anyway, having Covington and Saric in starting line-up in 2017-18 season 76ers had the best starting line-up in NBA.

Best starting line-up

Butler starts excellent!

Game-winning shot vs. Hornets OT (Kemba Walker 60 points).

vs Hornets

Jimmy Butler’s game-winner against the Brooklyn Nets was his second since being traded to the 76ers. 

Butler game-winning.gif

Later this season Sixers acquired TOBIAS HARRIS, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott in a trade with the Clippers.

ap_mike_scott_tobias_harris_boban_marjanovic

Happy face

In my opinion it was also good decision to trade Fultz to Orlando. It’s hard to trade your #1 Draft for sure.

Fultz to ORL

176ers

 

WHAT TYPE OF BASKETBALL PLAYS PHILADELPHIA 76ERS?

76erslogo

When Coach Brett Brown describes how he wants the basketball moving on offense, he says he wants it going from player to player “like popcorn popping.”

Popcorn

BALL-MOVEMENT TEAM

Both above average offensive (Off Rtg 10th) and defensive team (DefRtg 11th).

One of the highest scoring teams in NBA – 115.9 points per game (3rd)

Despite playing pretty fast-paced basketball (7th) 76ers is team which has a least amount of FGA per 100 possessions in NBA (30th!).

Explanation of high scoring and low amount of FGA = high accuracy (TS%) 58.2% (3rd) + lot of personal fouls drawn which leads to lot of Free-Throw Attempts – 27.1/100 possesions (2nd).

3rd/4th assists per game/100 possessions – 26.4.

Second in NBA in AST% (how many of all made shots were assisted) only behind Golden State Warriors.

Team who has highest 3-pointers assisted % in NBA – 95.3%. Their best shooter J.J.Redick very often comes off the screens. There’s similarities to Klay Thompson and completely opposite to Harden who creates his own 3-point shot for himself in most of the time.

Coach Brett Brown team should reduce Turnovers if they want to be real title contender – 15.0/100 possessions (24th in NBA).

NBA teams with highest FT/3-POINT FGA ratio. 

FT3Pratio

76ers also is the TALLEST TEAM in NBA – 203.9 cm (player’s average) and 4th heaviest team in NBA.

 

FANTASTIC 5

 

Fantastic 5

 

The Best line-up in NBA (+/-) by wide margin (after 4 games played together).  +11.

Lineups +-

Third tallest starting 5 In NBA.

Even before adding T.Harris The Sixers are the only team in NBA with four players averaging at least 17.0 PPG this season. Harris trade gave them a fifth.

76ers

 

T. HARRIS THE MOST IMPROVED PLAYER THIS SEASON?

Most Improved player NBA

 

76ERS1

 

Embiid

EMBIID

Probably the best big man in NBA. NBA leader in Double-doubles per game (48). 6th best point scorer. Top3 in League : Rebounding/getting to the free-throw line/post-ups per game. Also Cameroonian is 2nd most used player in team’s offense (USG%) only behind Harden.

2017-18 NBA All-Defensive team.

Recently we can seen him left wide open when getting ball behind the 3-point line (31.4% career) although in his first year in NBA he made more than 36% of his 3-pointers which is above league average.

Embiid: “I don’t like shooting 3s” & “I only do it because of the spacing that we have”

Young player, have to avoid to commit turnovers and control his emotions and ego.

Simmons

SIMMONS

2017-18 Rookie Of the Year. Athletic and high IQ player. Despite lack of outside shooting (0/14 career 3-pointers) Australian often creates opportunities for team-mates = he is 6th best in NBA per Assist% (he assisted more than 1/3 of all 76ers field goals made when he was on the court). 3rd most Triple-Doubles in NBA this season (8). Excellent in past-paced game especially in offensive transition.

Butler1

BUTLER

One of the best defenders in NBA (4x All-Defensive Team). Although he wasn’t the best clutch player before in his career his 2 game winning shots for 76ers in first few games for new team was impressive way to start. Not high-volume shooter and not the best shooter in NBA but his 3-point shooting % has improved last few seasons. Fighter. Important to find his role in team and control his emotions. Not the best reputation in NBA recently for this very valuable player. Very valuable player even without scoring 30+ points per game.

Harris

HARRIS

Serious candidate to MIP award this season. Great start of the season with Clippers. Above average rebounder. Effective starting offensive transition (similar to Simmons). More driver to the basket than outside shooter but can be threat from beyond the arc (3- point shooting 40+% in last 2 seasons!). Able to defend multiple positions, very solid defender. Important that Harris is able to fit in any teams system pretty well.

Example of Harris great defense.

Harris defense

 

Redick1

J.J. REDICK

Great 3-point shooter (career 41.3%). Catch-and-shoot player who can spread the floor. Redick coming off screens puts lot of pressure to defense. He has attempted more 3-pointers than 2-pointers in this career. For 76ers to be successful Redick has to improve his 3-point shooting during Play-Offs (Reg season 41.3% > Play-offs 36.3%).

Reddick accuarcy decline

Redick 3

Not the best defender of Philly team. Team’s very often use post up their players if they are guarded by Reddick (great example last years PO series vs. BOS).

Redick post problem

 

BEFORE TRADE DEADLINE & AFTER. USG%.

 Every player of 76ers starting 5 experiences decrease of USG% and that’s only natural if you have another great player added to starting 5.

The main concern could be Jimmy Butler. Diagram shows that BUTLER HAS LARGEST DECREASE of USG% 6.5. It’s very important for Philly that he understands his role and accepts it.

Deadline comparison

 

Great thing of these 5 players playing at the same time = more open shots to each another since all of them can make impact. If any of them has bad game, it will be good day for other. Very rare to see all 5 star players playing bad basketball at the same time.

POST-UP

4 of 5 starting five (except Redick) can effectively play with back to the basket.

Post UP

 

THEY CAN DEFEND!

Only J.J. Redick defensively is below average NBA player similar to other his type of players. Last season Boston attacked Redick and McConnell in play-off series very often successful.

Harris/Butler/Simmons/Embiid = all can play very good defense.

 

BENCH PLAYERS

Depth definitely isn’t Philly’s advantage over their opponents Bucks, Raptors and Celtics (also Pacers) but if Coach Brett Brown can find right line-ups using his bench players it can work quite well (76ers starting 5 play together 18.2 minutes per game in first 4 games).

2018-19 season overall 76ers ranks 25th in bench points in NBA – 32.9 points per game.

76ERS HEAVY RELY ON THEIR STARTING FIVE. If we only look 4 games after trade deadline Philadelphia could 29th per bench points only behind Houston Rockets (26.5 bench points per game).

Starters vs bench

 

Marjanovic

MARJANOVIC. Tallest/heaviest NBA player. Slow but his height gives advantage over other players both offensively and defensively.

Example of Marjanovic using his height not even jumping to collect defensive rebound.

Boban rebound

Thumb up

Boban no need fancy moves, he can simply shoot over his defender 🙂

Boban over

Great passer out of the post.

Thumb down

Opponents can attack him in pick-and-roll situations.

Because of lack of quickness Boban is not among the best pick-and-roll defending bigs in NBA.

  • If he comes too far away from the basket to stop ball-hander = ball-handler attacks with speed (drive).

Boban 1

  • If he stays too close to the basket = shot.

Boabm2

Example of Hayward taking advantage of this situation.

Boban pick-and-roll problem

 

Euroleague Regular Season MVP (2014) who makes 60% of his FGA role could be to let Embiid rest for 10-15 minutes.

 

McConnel

McCONNELL

Floor General McConnell can bring energy to team and can play great defense on perimeter. Pretty good passer. Teams like Boston Celtics can use size and strength advantage by posting-up their players I guarded by T.J. (similar to Reddick)

 

Others should spread the floor and make shots/play good defense and give let starting 5 to rest.

 

NBA TITLE CHANCES/ EASTERN CONFERENCE TITLE?

 

CHEMISTRY AND EGOS.

Without the doubt 76ers starting 5 is one of the best in NBA at the moment + bench players can give rest for starters few minutes.

I would say it’s pressure on coach Brett Brown to figure out how to get most of his team and to find every player’s role in his ball-movement offensive system.

Teams chemistry has been issue after acquiring Butler. Not everyone can find his role.

jimmy-butler-has-challenged-brett-brown-about-role-in-offense

„Jimmy Butler is mad about his role. This is when the Sixers need to ACTUALLY trust the process” (www.sbnation.com)

Also Embiid wasn’t happy of his role in team’s offense. Sixers’ Joel Embiid not happy with role after Jimmy Butler trade: ‘It just really frustrates me’

It’s worth to mention that Embiid also wasn’t “happy with his NBA 2K18 rating”…

 

Good thing is that T. Harris/Marjanovic are able to bring joy to this team and environment no more „toxic” as it was before.

Boban Harris

Butler/Harris LAST YEAR OF CONTRACT… Better stats = better contract? Jimmy Butler happiness probably is the key for this team to be successful. Even Butler’s role in offense decreased after trade deadline, I like the way he has been playing these 4 games after Harris and Marjanovic joined the team.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE TITLE/NBA TITLE?

TOP4

 

Even Philly now has TOP3 starting 5 in NBA I can’t say they are #1 Eastern Conference Title contenders for sure, their opponents Toronto and Milwaukee has been consistent whole season + they have depth + they signed 2 great players who can fit great in their system – M.Gasol (TOR) and Mirotic (MIL). In addition all other teams who are considered to be Eastern Conference Title contenders are in Top 8 best defenses in NBA – Milwaukee 1st, Boston 5th, Toronto 8th , also is worth to mentioned Indiana 2nd.

Trade deadline 76ers

 

Also Boston Celtics still have time to deal with their locker-room problems and inconsistency. They are play-off team.

And let’s not forget about Indiana Pacers who play pretty good despite Oladipo is out of the season. Pacers should be the biggest threat in 1st Play-Off round to any of these teams.

In my opinion 76ers definitely has a chance to win Eastern conference this season and even compete for NBA title but it really depends on themselves… Are they ready to play like a real team? Are they mentally tough enough? Real test will be when/if team will lose few games in a row or will be down 1-2 in play-offs.

Eastern Conference play-offs will be very exciting for NBA basketball fans this 2018-19 season. And Golden State Warriors not playing that stable as we have seen recent years + lack of depth can give a real chance for Eastern Conference winners to compete for NBA Title.

Good luck to coach Brett Brown and TRUST THE PROCESS!

Thanks for reading ! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

Author: abouthegame

Basketball coaching/sports data

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