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Wholesale changes - Part 2

ojr107 on Oct 9 at 9:23

Without having access to the advanced stats, I want to add that last year was Richardson's worst three point shooting season since 06-7 and Wright's worst since 07-08, so I think there is reason to believe both will shoot the ball better this season.

Yeah, I only had last year's numbers in spot-up situations to work with. Richardson's numbers have been trending down for a couple of years, though. I like the fact that he's played in a system w/ a dominant center in Orlando. He'll be familiar w/ the types of looks Bynum should create. Wright should get better looks than he got in GSW.

Great to have you back Brian - your work really enhances my Sixers experience. That sounds really corny, but it's true. Hope all is well.

When you say "Those shooters, the guys with the reputation and the production make it much harder to double a guy like Bynum in the post if you're running your offense correctly." it suggests that taking advantage of strong outside shooters is merely a matter of having the right offensive scheme, coaching, etc. However it seems to me that there's also a hefty dose of talent involved in seeing the floor, making a good pass, hitting a shooter in rhythm, etc. and I'm not sure the players on the floor in your example have that. Jrue always strikes me as very mechanical and deliberate, rather than flowing and natural (i.e. Iguodala), in his passing, and unless I'm mistaken Bynum has never shown himself to be a particularly good passer out of the post. I assume this is why Collins would want Hawes, and to a lesser extent Turner, out on the floor.

Jrue's always at his best when he's deliberate or methodical, but that doesn't mean he isn't effective. I trust what I've seen from him as a distributor much more than what I've seen from Turner, who seems to drive with his head down more often than not.

Obviously, the execution needs to be there. The point is that the execution is easier w/ a good system and guys who demand defensive attention on the perimeter. Jrue's never had a big man who could finish an easy pass on the interior, let alone draw a double team. Bynum has never had shooters out there with him to spread the floor. They're both in a better situation with this group, but at this point whether they'll succeed in the system is a guess based mostly on what you think of what you've seen of them to this point. I'm optimistic.

Ben reply to Brian on Oct 9 at 12:43

Yeah, it's just that in the discussion of what goes into making a good basketball team, i.e. rebounding, defense, etc. the need for quality distributors can get short shift (OKC could perhaps be held up as a cautionary tale in this regard). So although the Sixers shored up alot of important areas this offseason I'm a little concerned that the passing/distribution won't be there. Of course even the best teams have their weaknesses. So I guess we'll just have to see how the strengths and weaknesses, whatever they may be, balance out. I think perhaps I'm just a sucker for ball movement and great passing.

eddies' heady's on Oct 9 at 10:33

With these shooters now involved and drawing attention, and a likely inside-out offensive system running through Bynum, are we to assume that Turner's role will once again be to stand on the perimeter and wave his hand ala last year? Only at the 3 spot instead of SG? I mean, with these new parts and different system, what other role would he possibly fill except maybe just being a clear-out and slash type player first, second, and third, with the occasional pull-up and pop move?

These questions I've been having most of the offseason are why I feel he's really suited to be this team's backup sort of do-everything at three positions type player. And the way this team's structured and now built, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I think Turner and Hawes are really going to be in the way on the offensive end w/ the starting lineup. You're essentially giving the defense two outs. Either Turner's man can double down and leave him open for a jumper, or Hawes' man can double down and leave him open. I think with them on the floor, you're going to wind up with way too many long twos, and you don't need a post threat to get long twos.

You have to take volume into account. Just glancing at the three point numbers from last year, it looks like you are comparing 38.5% vs. 37.4%, but if you also take into account that those numbers are coming from 382 3FGA vs. 522 3FGA, the latter numbers (from the newcomers) are better than the former. When you shoot a high percentage from three, like 37.4%, it is more important to take more of those shots and see a small dip in percentage than to pass them up.

You would also need to add the expected value from the "other 140 shots" that resulted from those "passed up threes" created by the former Sixers in order to compare efficiency. As an example, say that the two pointer that results from the passed up three goes in at a 46% rate. What you have then is (0.384817)(3)(382)+(0.46)(2)(140) = 569.8 points coming from the former Sixers, and you would have (.373563)(3)(522) = 585.0 points coming from the newly added Sixers. Obviously this is dependent on the theoretical two point percentage from the "passed up three." That could be higher or lower, especially if a potential turnover from a non-shot is taken into account following the passed up three. However, that two point percentage would have to be 51.4% in order for the numbers to be equivalent, which I think is a little high. Anyway, just wanted to put this out there to point out that we should not be alarmed by the seeming drop off in 3pt% from bringing in these new guys. Also, as pointed out above, Wright (and possibly Richardson) had an abnormally poor shooting year last year, and these numbers are drawn from then.

Yay optimism!

Jesse reply to Jesse on Oct 10 at 1:30

Do people care about this type of analysis? Just want to know so I can decide if I should post this type of evaluation here in the future

Of course we do :)

I actually agree with your analysis (read my post, a few posts down). The blog is basically getting restarted, so it's gonna take some time, before the activity level goes up (my guess is when the season starts).

Absolutely a high quality post Jesse - we are just getting back into the swing of things.

Incidentally (though I must confess to not being much of a stat-head myself) if Brian or someone else felt up to it,I would be curious to know how/if success in one or another aspect of the game was correlated with success, historically speaking. For instance, I assume shot blocking would have a very weak (if any) correlation. Whereas I would think rebounding would be near the top with distribution/passing/assists somewhere in the middle.

I think Statman did something like this last year, maybe. Problem w/ distribution is it's tough to measure. 82games.com has a passer rating, based on turnovers and location of assist, I believe.

I actually have a post in the pipeline that tries to answer this exact question by examining the statistics of NBA champions. The answers may surprise, though Ben's conjectures are reasonable.

Believe it or not, I originally compiled the stats for the post in August (even before Brian's "Wholesale Changes Part 1" post), but I couldn't find the time to write the post itself until now ... so I apologize in advance for the bad timing, as Brian just put up some new posts.

The other side of the story is that when you shoot a high volume of 3s you need good defensive recovery to prevent fast breaks. It also makes offensive rebounding a much more valuable skill, since there will be more opportunities to score off if misses.

For both these reasons they should gave Thad out there instead of Hawes.

tk76 reply to tk76 on Oct 9 at 14:43

Please ignore typos. Thanks.

I am more optimistic about the team's offense this season, than i've ever been as a Sixer fan. And the reason is three point shooting.

There are a few things mentioned that stand out to me though and i believe sell the newcomers short.

1. Lockout year - Last year was a lockout year. Shooting percentage is the first thing that goes down in a lockout year (especially in the first few months), which is why i believe last year's numbers have to be taken with an asterisk. And lets not forget the Sixers had an advantage by bringing back almost the entire team.

2. Volume - As Jesse mentioned in a previous post, the Sixers shot a pretty good percentage last year only because they shot very rarely. They shot long 2s instead which hampered the offense. They basically had very good shot selection on 3s, at the expense on shooting a ton of ill advised 2 point shots. Good percentages are worthless if you don't use them (remember Kapono?)

3. Quick Trigger - Perhaps the biggest reason why the Sixers were generally considered as one of the worst shooting teams in the league over the past few years is because their players, while posting decent percentages from 3, had slow triggers and as a result couldn't use that weapon as often as possible. As i've mentioned before, Holiday despite solid percentages is not that good a shooter really due to his fairly slow release (we'll see if he has improved over the summer). Iguodala was even worse in that regard. The only quick shooter on the team in the past few years was Meeks. This years additions (Richardson, Wright and N.Young) all have a quick triggers, especially Wright.

The biggest threat to finally having a good offensive basketball team this year is health IMO and that is a legitimate concern. I am a believer in the teams ability to shoot.

I like the detonation of a 3 pt. shot on the other team's psychological landscape. BOOM!!! Let's hope imported shooters can chip in elsewhere. After all, it's a multi-faceted game they play.

i might of mentioned this when they first got bynum but when he got doubled team he struggled with it, dont know if the stats back me up

Hardwood Paroxysm‏@HPbasketball

Iguodala said in his first year there, Doug Collins told Iguodala not to shoot threes. Then last year, Iguodala was like "I'm shooting it."
Matt Moore@HPbasketballabout 19 minutes ago

Iguodala spoke really highly of Philly's culture and food. I would NOT expect a Christmas card if you're in management. Or coaching.

Hardwood Paroxysm‏@HPbasketball

Iguodala: "I didn't even really enjoy basketball a whole lot the last couple of years."

Hardwood Paroxysm‏@HPbasketball

Asked about why he doesn't score more, instead of a cliche, first thing Iguodala brought up: "In the East, fewer possessions."
Hardwood Paroxysm‏@HPbasketball

Iguodala said one of the things he was thinking about after he was traded: "When do we play Philly? I can't WAIT to play them."

With that starting lineup you only have one true ball handler in Jrue, a guy who has been know to turn the ball over when pressed. And in Bunum and Thad you have players at the 4-5 who are not great kick out passers. Turner must start to have good ball movement in the half court and be be an option as a second ball handler.

There's a strange perception about Turner and Jrue's playmaking abilities and propensity for turnovers. I understand questioning Jrue's playmaking, somewhat, because we haven't seen a whole lot of it. But I don't get why Turner is somehow considered a better option when we've seen absolutely none of it, not even an occasional flash, from him. And Jrue's turnovers have gone down as his role has increased, Turner's have increased.

I'd rather start with the optimal lineup and then adjust if Jrue needs help running the offense than put a lineup out there with a non-shooter on the perimeter and watch the spacing get screwed up only to cover up some perceived weakness that hasn't been proven.

I don't think the Turner is a better option with the ball than Holiday, but they are fairly complimentary in their strengths and weaknesses. Holiday gets his blinders on anything more than a few feet inside the three point line, and Turner has zero game beyond that distance. If Turner is operating between the foul line and basket, and Holiday beyond it, then I think we'll see some pretty good ball movement with Richardson and Hawes drifting to their spots.

I think it's also important to remember that the core of the offense is clearing out and dumping it to Bynum in the post. Unlike last year, there won't be a constant need to initiate the offense from the perimeter and pray something opens up before they settle for the deep two. Both Holiday and Turner should have some enormous passing lanes.

Yeah, I think the passing lanes shrink when you have Turner's man able to sag off him, at least in comparison to what they'd be if you had a legit shooter in that spot.

I'm concerned with Jrue's ability to be the engine of an offense without any help. He'll certainly be doing that at times this year and eventually you've got to throw him in the fire, but I think he's a combo guard at heart.

If he's alongside Richardson and Wright then the offense will be rudderless if he doesn't make the right pass every time and I don't think he has that kind of court vision. The point guard portion of his combo guard heart is more so set at his ability to dictate pace and control the offense with the options he opens up by breaking down his man off the dribble.

We're going to have to wait and see. I don't really think he's a combo guard. Don't think he played like one until this past season, right after it was reported Collins told him he needed to score more. I do know I've never seen anything from Turner more than making sure he got his when he had the ball in his hands.

sounds like Thad might have a fight on his hands this season for Collins' affection:

Richardson, acquired from Orlando in the four-team August trade that delivered Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers, is quickly becoming a Collins favorite.

The 31-year-old Richardson is entering his 12th NBA season and, according to Collins, has already emerged as one of the most respected players on the team. Richardson said he appreciates being able to make suggestions to his new head coach.

"It's probably a first in my career that I could go in and talk to the coach, and he could relate to us because he was a player," Richardson said. "He knows the grind of a season, how long a season is and how guys need some legs and need energy."

"This is probably one of the first training camps I came to where everybody came in shape, and nobody is dogging it," Richardson said. "Every practice is competitive."

When you said you'd get to Young in a second, did you mean in this post or in a future post?

I guess I meant in this comment. Young, I think, kind of falls in the same category as Iguodala and Meeks. A guy who isn't necessarily thought of as a threat from three, but who is effective. I think he's the type of guy who needs to hit one or two before teams start worrying about him, and he's capable of that. The other guys teams address in their game plans.

Tray reply to Brian on Oct 10 at 21:34

I guess he just has that inaccurate volume shooter appearance to his game, but it isn't really borne out by the numbers. Maybe it's how teams see him though.

No, I think it is borne out by the numbers. He's definitely been a gunner, but he's also been good at spot-up threes. If you can get him to take a higher percentage of the better shots, and limit the bad shots (long twos, contested jumpers of all kinds), then he can be a more efficient scorer. In the role we're talking about, hitting that open three that should be created by double teams (or the drive and kick) he should be pretty good.

Tom Moore on Oct 10 at 12:38

Link to Sixers training camp videos:


FKD215 reply to Tom Moore on Oct 10 at 13:41

Tom, Have you heard anything about the extent of Bynum's injury? Apparently Howard Eskin (that paragon of balanced and level-headed reporting) is saying it's more serious than the Sixers are letting on... Here is the link: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/10/10/howard-eskin-bynums-injury-perhaps-more-serious-than-sixers-indicate/

3 wks of announced preseason downtime following Germany therapeutic procedure, along with partial seasons history, plus Lakers willingness to move him before his 25th birthday tells you to be concerned for the seaworthiness of the "aircraft carrier" [remnant of the late great Al McGuire].

I don't think the Lakers got rid of Bynum. He was the high price they had to pay for Dwight. It would be like had the Blazers traded Drexler in his prime for MJ. Upgrading a top player for an even better one.

The Sixers may have traded Iggy for Bynum, but that was not the trade the Lakers made.

Fair point. But Lakers had invested in him and his development, and he's been touted as the more potent low post force/scorer of the two. Guess they love the Nash-Kobe-Howard seasoning in their kitchen. Or maybe they knew something that the Sixers didn't. How thoroughly was Bynum vetted by his new organization? Just a question that arises in response to his preseason rest.

I don't think the Lakers got rid of Bynum. He was the high price they had to pay for Dwight. It would be like had the Blazers traded Drexler in his prime for MJ. Upgrading a top player for an even better one.

The Sixers may have traded Iggy for Bynum, but that was not the trade the Lakers made.

First of all the Lakers got rid of Bynum to get a better player who is only a little older then Bynum. Second of all we already knew he was an injury risk. The 3 weeks off is nothing but trying to maximimuse the benefits of the Orthikine treatments he recieved in Germany. He could play tommorrow. There is no reason to believe otherwise then trying to be overly negative in my opinion. Even if Bynum gets hurt during the season and sings elsewhere acquiring him was a risk the team absolutely had to take.

Not trying to be negative. Applauded the move myself. Prior to circumstances reminding me of Jeff Ruland.

Where the fuck this the Iguodala come from?http://www.cbssports.com/nba/blog/eye-on-basketball/20537224/is-the-world-ready-for-andre-iguodala

Tom Moore on Oct 10 at 15:43
ojr107 reply to Tom Moore on Oct 10 at 15:53

Tom, the Thorn quote in your article doesn't seem like a clear denial of Eskin's report. Did Thorn give any more details on how long they we're expecting the bruise to heal?

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