As I was pouring through various stats last night, mostly doing research for the Thad piece I wrote earlier, a few things jumper out at me. First, take a look at the league leaders on Basketball-reference.com. The Sixers don't have one player in the top five in any statistical category. I can't think of any Sixer who's even close. That may be more of an oddity than anything else. I also noticed that they're third from the bottom of the league in eFG at 46%. Only OKC and Charlotte are worse. That stat is more telling, however.
It may seem like beating a dead horse to talk about how badly the Sixers have shot the jumper this season, that's because it is. According 82games.com data, 60% of the Sixers' shots are jumpers and they have an eFG of 39.8%. That ranks them third from the bottom. Not shocking news, considering what we know about this team. What is shocking, however, is how badly they shoot close shots.
Only Charlotte, Chicago and OKC shoot close shots at worse rate than the Sixers 49.6% mark, and that just should not be the case.
We probably don't need to look any further than the failure of the running game and ball-hogging tendencies of certain backup point guards for the reasons, but the numbers are still shocking. Take a look at each player on the roster's eFG% on close shots (Close shots are defined as anything in the paint, excluding dunks and tips.)
Samuel Dalembert: 27.7%
Elton Brand: 44.7%
Andre Iguodala: 48.6%
Thaddeus Young: 62%
Andre Miller: 57.4%
Lou Williams: 51.4%
Willie Green: 53.2%
Marreese Speights: 43.6%
Reggie Evans: 27.3%
Royal Ivey: 44.4%
Donyell Marshall: 33.3%
Kareem Rush: 50%
Theo Ratliff: 0.0%
Take a close look at those stats. Dalembert, Brand, Evans, Speights and Theo are the sum total of the PF/C rotation and none of them are shooting above 44.7% inside the paint. I suppose you could throw Thad into that mix as well, although no plays are called for him. Now, this could be a chicken/egg thing, maybe the shots don't fall in the lane because the shots don't fall from the outside so the lane gets clogged for drives etc.
The bottom line is that the bigs have to convert at a higher rate in the lane, the guards need to drive to the hole with the intention of finishing, not merely drawing a foul and whenever they get out on the break they need to finish. Far too often this season we've seen two-on-one breaks turn into turnovers or blown layups because the pass wasn't made at the right time, or wasn't made at all. This team is too athletic to shoot this poorly in the paint.
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