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Andre Iguodala (left) and Louis Williams keyed the Sixers' return to East playoff picture last season.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

StatsCube: Go-to guy issues aside, Sixers made strides

Posted Dec 2 2011 7:08AM

To get ready for the 2011-12 season, StatsCube breaks down the critical numbers for all 30 teams.

The Philadelphia 76ers were one of the surprise teams of last season, registering the second-biggest win increase in the league (plus-14) without making any major offseason moves.

Biggest win increase, 2010-11
Team 2009-10 2010-11 Wins Increase
Chicago 41 62 +21
Philadelphia 27 41 +14
New York 29 42 +13
New Jersey 12 24 +12
Miami 47 58 +11
San Antonio 50 61 +11

The Sixers' win increase had something to do with how much they underachieved in 2009-10, going 27-55 under coach Eddie Jordan. The only big additions the Sixers made between seasons were Spencer Hawes, Andres Nocioni and rookie Evan Turner. Coach Doug Collins deserved a ton of credit for taking a mismatched roster and maximizing its output last season.

2010-11 BASICS
Record: 41-41
Pace: 94.0 (16)
OffRtg: 104.0 (17)
DefRtg: 102.5 (10)
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions


Collins was tasked with finding a way to score without a player who can draw double-teams and had to defend without a true interior presence. Somehow, he managed to craft an identity for his team and guide them to the seventh seed in the East.

Scoring ... without a scorer

The Sixers weren't a great offensive team, but they were actually a hair better than the Atlantic Division-champion Boston Celtics. And that was good enough to comfortably qualify for the playoffs.

Last season, no team's offense was more balanced. At 15.0 points per game, Elton Brand was Philly's top scorer, but five other Sixers -- Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks, Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams -- averaged double figures. Ball movement was critical, and the Sixers assisted on 60 percent of their field goals, the 11th highest rate in the league.

The Sixers ran whenever they could, notching 18.5 fast break points per 100 possessions, the third highest rate in the league. But their pace rank (16th) is an indication that, when they didn't run, they struggled to find shots.

The Sixers got into the paint a decent amount, but they didn't get to the free throw line and they weren't a great 3-point shooting team (though they were much improved from previous seasons). As such, they made their living from mid-range.

Highest percentage of points from *mid-range
Team Percentage of Points
New Orleans 24.6
Atlanta 24.5
Philadelphia 24.3
Washington 23.8
Toronto 23.3
* = Not in the paint, at the line, or from behind the 3-point line

Williams, the closest player the Sixers had to a go-to guy offensively, led the team in usage rate. But Williams has never been all that efficient and ranked fourth among the Sixers' rotation players in assist ratio.

The team leader in assist ratio was Iguodala, who dished out more than 29 assists for every 100 possessions that he used. In fact, the only players in the league with a higher assist ratio than Iguodala were point guards.

Top Assist Ratio among non-point guards
Player GP MIN FGA FTA AST Usage Rate ASTRatio
Andre Iguodala 67 2468 759 300 422 19.0% 29.1
Tracy McGrady 72 1685 514 129 252 18.9% 27.3
Ronny Turiaf 64 1141 163 98 92 9.4% 27.1
Hedo Turkoglu 81 2540 722 156 343 16.4% 27.1
Brad Miller 60 1015 296 94 145 17.0% 27.0
Minimum 750 minutes played
No shot-blocker? No problem

The Sixers were the third-most improved defensive team in the league (behind Chicago and Memphis), allowing 5.1 points per 100 possessions fewer than they did in 2009-10.

The Sixers blocked just 5.3 percent of their opponents' shots, a rate that ranked 22nd in the league. But that doesn't mean that they didn't defend shooters well, both in the paint and on the perimeter. They ranked sixth in opponents' 3-point percentage (34.0 percent), and ninth in opponents' 2-point percentage (48.0 percent).

And though the Sixers had no obvious protector of the rim or cleaner of the glass, they ranked ninth in opponents' field goal percentage inside of five feet (59.5 percent) and 12th in defensive rebounding percentage (74.5 percent).

Crunch-time concerns in Philly

Statistically, the Sixers were better than their finish implied. They were a .500 team, but outscored their opponents by 1.5 points per 100 possessions, a mark better than four teams (Atlanta, New Orleans, New York and Portland) that had better records than them.

Only three teams (Denver, Miami and Orlando) underachieved more than the Sixers, who won five fewer games than they should have (based on a formula that calculates "expected wins" from a team's point differential).

The Sixers underachieved because they didn't finish games very well. Without that go-to guy, they had the seventh worst offense in clutch situations*.

(*Clutch situations = Last five minutes of fourth quarter or overtime with a score differential of five points or less.)

Iguodala led the Sixers with 68 clutch field goal attempts, but made just 21 of them, including just two of his 18 attempts from 3-point range. He even shot poorly from the free throw line in clutch situations.

Sixers clutch shooting (min. 10 FGA)
Player FGM FGA FG pct. 3PM 3PA 3PT pct. FTM FTA FT%
Andre Iguodala 21 68 30.9 2 18 11.1 17 26 65.4%
Louis Williams 17 54 31.5 8 25 32.0 27 33 81.8%
Jrue Holiday 22 54 40.7 6 19 31.6 20 23 87.0%
Elton Brand 24 48 50.0 0 0 0 5 6 83.3%
Thaddeus Young 18 35 51.4 0 0 0 3 7 42.9%
Evan Turner 9 26 34.6 0 1 0 15 18 83.3%
Jodie Meeks 14 22 63.6 9 17 52.9 13 14 92.9%

The Sixers' late-game issues weren't just on offense -- they also had the eighth-worst defense (115 points allowed per 100 possessions) in clutch situations. As a result, they were just 7-18 in games decided by five points or less.

Record: 1-4
Pace: 88.3 (14)
OffRtg: 97.0 (14)
DefRtg: 107.7 (14)

Ironically, the Sixers lone postseason win (Game 4 against the Heat) was an 86-82 victory -- a game decided by five points or less. It was the only time they were able to shut down the Heat's offense for a game, but they would have won the series if teams weren't allowed to use substitutes.

In the five-game series, the Sixers' starters outscored the Heat's 110-64 in 45 minutes when they were on the floor together. The Heat were much better when they went to their bench and the Sixers were not. Thaddeus Young, who had a terrific plus-minus in the regular season, was a series-low minus-55.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

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