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, all the time

Mo and Andre need to figure some things out.A tick past the quarter point of the season and the Sixers find themselves at 9-12. We've heard all the excuses, we've seen glimpses of brilliance (though they've been few and far between) and we've seen long, long stretches of futility. Now is as good a time as any to take a look at the schedule, the stats and the players to see exactly how bad this team has been.

If you're having a good morning, you may not want to follow after the jump, this isn't pretty.

First, let's take a look at the teams they've played and the results:

'07-08 Playoff Teams
  • Toronto - Loss, 84-95
  • @ Atlanta - Loss, 88-95
  • @ Orlando - Loss, 88-98
  • Utah - Loss, 80-93
  • @ Toronto - Win, 106-96
  • Orlando - Loss, 94-96
  • @ Boston - Loss, 78-102
  • Lakers - Loss, 102-114
  • @ Detroit - Win, 96-91
  • Record: 2-7
  • Scoring: 90.7 PF, 97.8 PA
'07-08 Lottery Teams
  • Knicks - Win, 116-87
  • Sacramento - Win, 125-91
  • @ Miami - Loss, 83-106
  • @ Indiana - Win, 94-92
  • Oklahoma City - Win, 110-85
  • @ Minnesota - Loss, 96-102
  • Clippers - Win, 89-88
  • Golden State - Win, 89-81
  • @ Charlotte - Loss, 84-93
  • Chicago - Loss, 92-103
  • @ Chicago - Win, 103-95
  • New Jersey - Loss, 84-95
  • Record: 7-5
  • Scoring: 97.1 PF, 93.2 PA
Alright, I understand the "It takes time to build chemistry," excuse. You might even be able to excuse the poor performance against playoff teams using that one. But a 7-5 record against the cellar dwellers? Some of these games they should be winning on nothing more than overwhelming talent.

Which brings us to the question, how? Team statistics do a pretty good job of painting the picture (table from Basketball Reference):
Source: www.basketball-reference.com
The Sixers take more shots, make more shots (albeit at a much lower percentage) than their opponents. They get to the line more often and make more free throws (again at a lower percentage) than their opponents. They dominate in offensive rebounding and hold a slight edge in defensive rebounding. They are losing every other statistical category to their opponents.

Key Indicators
  • 2 fewer 3-pointers made per game.
  • 1 fewer steal
  • Sixers A/TO ratio: 1.24
  • Opponents A/TO ratio: 1.40
The difference in threes made is a product of poor rotations as well as a lack of shooters. The other numbers are extremely frustrating. The Sixers should be one of the best defensive teams in the league. They have the quickness and athleticism to disrupt even the best offenses. Again, these numbers don't specifically point to bad defense by the team, they're also influenced by sloppy play on the offensive side of the ball.

If not for their proficiency on the boards, the offensive boards especially, this team would be getting blown out of the water on a nightly basis. They average almost 5 more shots per game and 1.5 more free throw attempts. Now imagine if they could shoot either at a decent clip.

Finally, let's take a look at the players. I'm running short on time, so we'll use PER as the metric.

Player - This Year's PER/Last Year's/Hollinger's projected PER
  • Andre Miller - 17.4/18.57/15.79
  • Andre Iguodala - 14.92/19.09/18.74
  • Thad Young - 13.61/16.54/16.66
  • Elton Brand - 16.32/23.17/none (23.1 was Brand's last full season, '06-07)
  • Samuel Dalembert - 11.23/15.52/15.12
  • Lou Williams - 14.09/16.80/18.01
  • Willie Green - 11.68/13.02/11.50
  • Reggie Evans - 8.17/10.99/11.11
  • Marreese Speights - 17.54/na/na
  • Royal Ivey - 10.80/9.00/8.83
  • Theo Ratliff - 2.92/12.01/a
  • Donyell Marshall - 34.48/9.70/na
  • Kareem Rush - 9.00/10.06/9.52
A couple of notes. PER was weighted so a 15.00 would be an average player for the position. Meaning, an average starting five would have a combined PER of 75.00. The Sixers' starting five PER: 73.48. And as we've noted several times this season, that's the unit that's played the best for the team.

Royal Ivey and Donyell Marshall are the only two players on the roster who have improved upon their PER from the previous season. Andre Miller, Willie Green and Royal Ivey are the only players who are outperforming Hollinger's projection for them.

The sad thing is that this is not an old roster. Andre Miller and possibly Elton Brand are the only guys who you'd expect a drop from due to age. Iguodala, Thad, Dalembert, Williams and Green are all on the up-side of their career. They should be improving.

Needless to say, this has been a very, very disappointing 1/4 of the season. The Sixers will play a home-and-home with the steamrolling Cleveland Cavaliers starting tomorrow night. They need to right the ship quickly, or someone's head is going to roll. Probably Mo's.

by Brian on Dec 9 2008
Tags: Basketball | Sixers |