After a handful of disappointing defensive games, the Sixers bounced back in a big way against Toronto and Milwaukee. Here's my question to kick off this glorious game day: Are they legitimately a top-ten defensive team?
If you're wondering how they're getting it done, let's take a look at some numbers:
- FG% against: 44.5% (11th in the league)
- 3PT% against: 29.9% (2nd in the league)
- 3P made against: 66 (2nd in the league)
- TOV forced: 199 (13th, but 7 teams ahead have played an extra game)
- eFG against: .477 (8th in the league)
- Opp TOV rate: .142 (12th in the league)
- Defensive Rebounding Percentage: 75.3% (9th in the league)
When you look at those numbers, you'd actually think the Sixers should be better than 10th in the league in DFR. So what's holding them back? Free throws.
- Free Throw Rate Against (made FT / FG attempted): .325 (dead last in the league, GSW is 29th, at .291. League-average is .242)
Honestly, when you look at the numbers, then you look at the roster, Doug Collins has worked a miracle. I do believe the fouling is a direct result of the team's glaring weakness on the inside. They don't have anyone who can block shots, but they do have a bunch of warm bodies who are perfectly capable of laying a foul on a driver.
Somehow, Collins has devised a defensive scheme that accentuates the defensive abilities of his perimeter players (the only defensive strength of the roster) and somehow hides the deficiencies of his bigs. The "rebound by committee" plan is actually working, thanks in large part to Evan Turner, though Jrue and Iguodala are certainly pitching in.
So, can they keep it up? If they do, if this roster finishes the season as a top ten defense, Doug Collins deserves a medal. I would say coach of the year consideration, but there's no use kidding ourselves.