|The idea for this post came from a well-worn and hotly-debated question in post-Iverson 76ers fandom: is it possible to win a championship in the "Superstar Era" of the NBA without a superstar? Full disclosure: my first recollection of the NBA goes back to the 76-77 season, so my first three years following the NBA saw three balanced teams without a true superstar ('77 Blazers, '78 Bullets, '79 Sonics) win championships, while the superstars of the day (Erving, Kareem, Maravich, David Thompson, Gervin) all went ring-less. So I have seen it happen more than younger readers of Depressed Fan, who only have the '04 Pistons as a counterexample. But the NBA became a different game in 1980, or so the argument goes, and the Superstar era has continued unabated since then. So what follows is an analysis of all 33 championship teams from 1980-2012 (teams are referred to by the year in which they won the title, e.g., '83 Sixers). To make this a Sixers-centric post, I then compare the '12 Sixers to the champions, so that we can get a sense of how that team stacked up against the NBA champions and how the '13 Sixers might be better or worse.|
|There has been quite a bit of discussion on the Sixers' defensive performance vs. the Lakers. Some of it was good (challenging of shots led to average 2-point and excellent 3-point percentages against, 16 turnovers forced), some of it was bad (all those rebounds!). So who was responsible for what? One way to tell is to do what I did a couple times last year, compute a reverse boxscore, by assigning all Lakers statistics to a Sixer. In the reverse boxscore, defensive rebounds, steals, and blocks are all accumulated while the Sixers are on offense, while all other stats are accumulated while the Sixers are on defense. When there are switches on defense, I usually assign the shot attempts/makes to the final defender, not to the initial defender (same for offensive rebounds allowed).|
|Before we enter the Sixers' back-to-back-to-back (should be fun!), here is a brief statistical interlude. In the NFL, organizations like footballoutsiders.com have revolutionized statistics by treating different game situations differently. For example, an 11-yard completion on 3rd-and-9 in the red zone with 2 minutes left in a one-score game is much more difficult (and valuable) than a 15-yard completion on 1st-and-20 in the 1st quarter. That has gotten me to thinking: what if we were to try that in the NBA? Not all points in an NBA game are equal. A basket when your team is down 2 with under a minute left is "worth" much more than a basket in garbage time. So to turn this idea into a workable system, we need to develop some weights based on game situations (the hard part) and then determine weighted statistics (it turns out that these follow naturally).|
|This will be the last time until the All-Star break when there is more than one day between Sixer games, so here is something to think about until then. It's been interesting to observe the comments on the blog so far in this young season, because the Sixers have been led by stellar performances from two of their more unpopular players (Hawes and Lou) and their most polarizing player (Iguodala), while three of their more popular players (Jrue, Thad, Turner) have struggled at times. So we've seen, from opposite ends of the spectrum, both reluctant praise (e.g., for Hawes) and reluctant criticism (e.g., for Jrue). This got me to thinking about the nature of rooting for athletes and teams.|
|Statman returns with a heavy heart to breakdown Andre Iguodala's performance in 2010-2011 versus every other starting small forward in the league. Be sure to check out his work on Jrue's numbers from last week. Check out the numbers and discuss. Iguodala's prediction vs. performance will land tomorrow.|
Latest comment: from emtmessove the Chilli's reff....
|Statman returns with an update to his mid-season point guard rankings column. The focus here is how Jrue Holiday measures up against the other starting point guards in the league, now we have a full season's worth of data to analyze. Check it out.|
|Well, I didn't expect it, but I was delighted to be able to compile differential production (DP) stats for one more Sixer win this year, Sunday's Game 4 thriller. The full explanation for DP can be found here. DP measures which players made individual contributions to a team's offensive and defensive ratings for a game. For this game, the Sixers' team offensive DP (ODP) was -2 (86 points in 88 possessions), and their team defensive DP (DDP) was +5 (82 points allowed in 87 possessions). Read on for the individual breakdown.|
Latest comment: from speekeagreed...
|For the first time in 2011, and possibly the last time in the 2010-11 season, I took some time to compile differential production (DP) stats for a Sixers game, Game 3 of the playoff series with the Heat. The full explanation for DP can be found here. DP measures which players made individual contributions to a team's offensive and defensive ratings for a game. For this game, the Sixers' team offensive DP (ODP) was +10 (94 points in 84 possessions), and their team defensive DP (DDP) was -17 (100 points in 83 possessions). Read on for the breakdown.|
Latest comment: from eddies' heady's+1 on the "teams" thing....
|Let's take a break from the positional breakdowns for a couple of hours and take a look back at a key facet of the Sixers regular season, clutch performance. Throughout the year, Statman has been tracking how the Sixers perform at the end of close games, it's time to take a look at the numbers and see if we can't figure out what the Sixers should do if they're lucky enough to get into a couple of games that go down to the wire against Miami.|
|As the Sixers limp toward the end of the regular season, there has been quite a bit of discussion as to whether their play of late is more reflective of their true identity (slightly below-average team) than their great 20-9 stretch from January to early March. However you want to answer that question (and I believe most of us have pre-conceived biases in answering it), there is one factor that must be considered: Andre Iguodala's play has dropped off lately. Truth in advertising: I am in the camp that believes Iguodala is the Sixers' best player and that their fortunes depend on his playing and playing well. But do the numbers support this?|
|Now is as good a time as any to evaluate how the Sixers have done so far this season, so I put together a "report card" of sorts to grade the main eight players in their rotation (with apologies to Nocioni, Speights, and others who have not played enough to receive grades).|
Latest comment: from GoSixersOk, phew, i was worried thad had to remember a variety of plays :)...
|Sixers performance in the clutch: we've talked about it ad nauseum for weeks now. We've all made certain statements based on impressions, but I decided to put numbers behind those impressions. What follows won't be pretty and mostly won't be surprising, but hopefully it will be informative ...|
Latest comment: from BrianI don't believe this is pure shots. TOVs are also part of usage rate....
|Lots of discussion about Jrue Holiday recently, so I thought I'd undertake a project I've wanted to do for a while. In the preseason, Doug Collins famously said that Jrue would one day be a top-5 point guard in the NBA. That hasn't exactly come true yet, though we've seen flashes. But where exactly does Jrue rank among his peers (NBA starting point guards)?|
|Statman checks in with a look at the Sixers production viewed through the PER or Production lens. There are some eye-openers in here, check it out, download his spreadsheet if you want a closer look, and check out 82games.com if you'd like to do some digging of your own. On a personal note, I'd like to thank Statman, Rich, GoSixers and TK76 for their contributions to the site this season. You guys are all doing a great job. It's nice to have a couple more voices and viewpoints around here.|
|It's been a while since I compiled full Differential Production (DP) stats for a Sixers game, so vacation week plus a good performance made this game a good candidate. If you don't remember (or never knew), click here for the full explanation. Briefly, DP measures individual contributions to a team's offensive and defensive ratings for a given game.|