NBA.com's John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2016-17 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the Philadelphia 76ers, who didn't do enough in the margins.
The Philadelphia 76ers averaged 2.9 fewer scoring chances than their opponents last season, the biggest deficit in the league.
The Sixers averaged 1.7 fewer offensive rebounds and 1.2 more turnovers than their opponents. When it came to those two categories, they were only decent (not in the bottom four of the league) in regard to forcing the latter. And to make matters worse, the Sixers were outscored by 399 points (almost five points per game) at the free throw line, the biggest deficit of the last five seasons.
Shooting is the most important thing in basketball, and the Sixers have been the league's worst shooting team over the last three years, with an effective field goal percentage of 47.4 percent. Last season, they were particularly bad between the restricted area and the 3-point line.
And the Sixers exacerbated their shooting issues by getting beat badly in all the other factors of efficiency last season. They got beat in the turnover battle, they got beat on the glass, and they got beat at the line. They actually had the league's biggest decrease in turnover rate (1.7 fewer per 100 possessions than they committed in 2014-15), but still ranked 29th at 16.2 per 100 possessions.
Even though they ranked 13th in forcing turnovers, that was the area were they suffered their biggest regression from the year before. After playing decent defense in the '14-15 season - ranking second in opponent turnover rate and 13th in defensive efficiency - they took a big step backward on that end of the floor.
This is the season the Sixers are supposed to finally take a step forward. They've certainly upgraded their talent and should shoot better than they ever have under Brett Brown. But there's also a lot of room for improvement in the margins.
Better shooting won't get them where they want to go unless they also do a better job of taking care of the ball, rebounding, and keeping their opponents off the free throw line.
10 MORE SIXERS NOTES
- Went 1-46 against teams that finished with winning records last season. The only win was against Portland on Jan. 16.
- Led the league with 37.1 drives per game, but had the league's lowest points per possession (1.06) and highest turnover rate (8.7 per 100 possessions) on drives.
- Were much better offensively (5.9 points per 100 possessions) and much worse defensively (5.8 points per 100 possessions) after the All-Star break than they were before the break.
- According to SportVU, the Sixers recorded secondary assists on only 19.0 percent of their assists, the second lowest rate in the league. Only the Lakers (18.5 percent) had a lower rate.
- Allowed their opponents to get 15.3 percent of their shots in the first six seconds of the shot clock, the second highest rate in the league.
- Their opponents shot 42.5 percent on corner 3s, the highest opponent mark in the league.
- Nerlens Noel had an effective field goal percentage of 52.2 percent last season, up from 46.2 percent in '14-15. That (+6.0%) was the league's second biggest increase among players with at least 500 FGA both seasons.
- Were outscored by 20.0 points per 100 possessions in 696 minutes with Noel and Jahlil Okafor on the floor together, though that wasn't their worst two-man combo. Overall, they were outscored by 16.6 points per 100 possessions with Okafor on the floor, but by just 5.8 with him off the floor.
- Jerryd Bayless had an effective field goal percentage of 68.6 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers and 40.2 percent on pull-up jumpers. That was the third biggest difference among players with at least 100 attempts of each.
- Robert Covington was one of two players that took at least 500 total shots last season with a ratio of 3-point attempts to mid-range attempts higher than 10.
NBA TV's Sixers preview premieres at 6:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 19.
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