Philly Front Office

Sixers Trends: Halfway Mark Report

We at the halfway mark of this season; how do the trends look before and after the Jimmy Butler trade? I’ll also compare them to last season. Let’s take a look at the numbers…


Offense rating has an increasing trend, while pace has been slowing decreasing.
2017/18 108.3 100.9 66.3 19.1
18/19’ ¼ Mark 107.9 103.1 65.7 18.1
18/19’ ½ Mark 113.57 102.965.9 18.7


Despite poor input from the bench, the Sixers offense has been improving all season, as evident by the increasing trend in offense rating. The Sixers currently have the 12th best offense rating in the NBA (5th best in Eastern Conference), which has increased from 15th best at the quarter season mark. Since the Jimmy Butler trade, the Sixers’ pace has somewhat maintained.

The Sixers currently play with the 7th fastest pace in the NBA (3rd fastest in the Eastern Conference), which is the same as it was at the quarter season mark. They continue to be one of the best passing teams in the NBA, ranking 1st in the NBA in assist percentage, just as they were at the quarter season mark. The Sixers have the 3rd best assist ratio in the NBA (1st in Eastern Conference), and it has increased compared to the quarter season mark.


Offense on the Sixers is the least of our concerns. Despite depth issues from injuries and the Jimmy Butler trade, and bad losses to the Hawks and Wizards, Brett Brown’s offense continues to get production. With a couple of additions from the buyout market, we could really see the Sixers become an offensive juggernaut. This is evidence that problems with the Sixers begin and end on the other side of the ball.


Efficiency field goal percentage is on an increasing trend and has been increasing all season
Season MarkTotal Pts FG % 3pt % 3PA/Game
2017/18 109.7 46.8 36.5 29.8
18/19’ ¼ Mark 113.5 45.7 34.6 31.9
18/19 ½ Mark 114.7 46.9 35.2 31.6


Although a small sample size, offensive efficiency and scoring totals have been generally increasing since the Jimmy Butler trade. The Sixers average 114.7 points per game this season, which is good for 6th best in the NBA and 2nd best to the Bucks in the Eastern Conference. Team scoring has increased from 9th best at the quarter season mark. However, it’s no surprise that the Sixers shooting is worse than last season. The Sixers are currently 15th best in 3-point shooting (35.2%) in the NBA, which is 7th best in the Eastern Conference. This is a slight increase from 18th best shooting percentage since the quarter season mark. The Sixers shoot the 14th most 3s and make the 14th most 3s in the NBA.


The Sixers are not shooting better than last year’s team, yet are even shooting the ball more from beyond the arc. The Sixers are only providing half of Brett Brown’s pace and space offense. They are providing the pace, but need a lot of work when it comes to space. The Sixers would clearly benefit from some 3 & D wings or a stretch 4/5 in the upcoming buyout market. The Sixers signed Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala to provide this off the bench, and it has blown up in their face. Mike Muscala is shooting 34% and Wilson Chandler is shooting 36% from 3 this season. The Sixers are not getting enough spacing from the forward spots.


Free throws per field goal attempts rate is on a slightly decreasing trend
Season Mark   FTM FTA FT% % Pts
from FTs
2017/18 17.1 22.8 75.2 16.1
18/19’ ¼ Mark 22.8 29.3 77.6 20.1
18/19’ ½ Mark 21.4 28 76.5 18.7


Getting to the line is one of the biggest strengths of the team. Despite some overall drops between the halfway mark and quarter season mark, the Sixers and Clippers continue to be the two best teams in the NBA in terms of getting to the free throw line. The Sixers are 2nd in free throws made and attempted per game in the NBA. Even better, they have a decent lead over the Brooklyn Nets, which is the next best team in the East. Brett Brown has had much success getting the Sixers to the line, as all numbers are better compared to last season. An area they can improve is free throw percentage. The Sixers are currently the 16th best in free throw percentage and 8th best in the Eastern Conference.


Ben Simmons (57%) and Wilson Chandler (71%) continue to be the worst free throw shooters on the team. While the Butler trade landed the Sixers an All Star, the loss of Dario Saric really hurt the team’s production at the PF spot in terms of getting to the line. Dario Saric got to the line 2.3 times per game while Wilson Chandler does so only 0.5 times per game. In fact, Wilson Chandler’s sole free throw attempt vs the Hawks was his first attempt since December 30th. This is not good enough.


A glance at points per game per quarter for the Sixers this season
Season Mark   1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q
2017/18 29 27.2 27.2 25.7
18/19’ ¼ Mark 30.04 28.90 27 25.57
18/19’ ½ Mark 31.2 27.85 28.9 27.5


The first and third quarters have been the Sixers the most productive on offense at the halfway mark. Second quarter scoring is on a decreasing trend but compared to last season, all numbers are up across the board. As seen above, major dips can be seen between the 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th quarters. The Sixers are currently 1st in scoring in the 1st quarter, 9th in the 2nd quarter, 15th best in the 3rd quarter and 14th best in the 4th quarter.


For obvious reasons, it’s no surprise why offensive production dips in the 2nd quarter and 4th quarters. The Sixers depth is hurting, badly. Elton Brand really needs to improve the bench on the Sixers, and the drops between quarters clearly indicate that.


A glance at assist percentage per quarter for the Sixers this season


A glance at field goal efficiency per quarter for the Sixers this season


Defense rating has a slightly increasing trend this season (not good)
Season Mark   Defense Rating
2017/18 103.8
18/19’ ¼ Mark 108
18/19’ ½ Mark 110.6


While offense numbers have been going up, it is the complete opposite when it comes to defense. The good news? It’s gotten a little bit better since the Jimmy Butler trade. The Sixers currently have the 12th best defense rating in the NBA (6th best in the Eastern Conference), which has increased from 15th during the quarter season mark. This is vastly worse than last season when they were 3rd best in the NBA.


Philly could really use a Robert Covington to help the Sixers’ defensive woes. A lot of the Sixers defensive issues come off turnovers and points in the paint. The Sixers give up the 3rd most points off of turnovers in the NBA and the 12th most points in the paint. The team’s defense really needs to improve across all facets. Outside of Joel, there is no one left in the paint that is able to protect the rim. Wilson Chandler has given the team nothing on the defensive end, and Jonah Bolden needs time to develop. Getting 1-2 defensive stoppers off the bench is an absolute priority for Elton Brand.

Season Mark   BPG SPG Deflections Contested Shots
2017/18 5.1 8.3 15.6 63.6
18/19’ ¼ Mark 5.5 6.6 12 66
18/19’ ¼ Mark 5.3 7.5 13.2 64.1


The Sixers are showing an increase in steals and deflections since the Jimmy Butler trade. The Sixers are currently 17th best in deflections and 13th best in terms of contesting shots. This is an increase compared to 21st in deflections at the quarter season mark. The Sixers are 15th best in blocks per game while they were 12th best at the quarter season mark. The Sixers were 4th in the NBA in deflections last season and 9th best in terms of protecting the rim.


It’s good to see that perimeter defense has been slowly improving compared to the quarter season mark. However, the Sixers desperately need another rim protector behind Joel Embiid. The obvious move is to groom Jonah Bolden, who can block shots, and give him more time on the court. The sooner Jonah Bolden gets more comfortable on the court, the sooner we’ll see improvement in this area. But the bottom-line is: Ben Simmons should be wearing his headband during every game this season.


Offensive rebounding percentage is on an increasing trend this season
Season Mark   OREB% DREB% REB%
2017/18 28.6 73.6 52
18/19’ ¼ Mark 26.4 72.9 50.9
18/19’ ½ Mark 24.9 78.5 51.3


In terms of rebounding, last year’s team has shown better percentages across the board. The Sixers are currently the 10th best rebounding team in the NBA, whereas they were #1 in the NBA last season. The good news? The team’s offensive rebounding percentages is showing a sharp increase. The Sixers are currently 14th best in the NBA in offensive rebounding per game and 13th best in offensive rebounding percentage. The Sixers were 21st in the NBA during the quarter season mark. Defensive rebounding has also increased, as the Sixers are now the 4th best in the NBA in terms of defensive rebounding percentage.


The Sixers got out-rebounded by the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night 44-30. What does that tell you? Joel Embiid is absolutely incredible on the glass and was sorely missed. Elton Brand and the Sixers must look to add a rebounding presence in the paint.


Season Mark   TO/GameTO% Per Poss TO% Per Off Play
2017/18 16.3 15.8 14.2
18/19’ ¼ Mark 16.4 15.1 13.9
18/19’ ½ Mark 15.8 14.8 13.5


The Sixers continue to struggle with protecting the basketball. The Sixers are the 27th best team in the NBA in turnovers per game this season. They were 26th best at the quarter season mark and dead last in turnovers last season. As the numbers indicate, the Sixers simply can’t get out of their own way at times. They are 25th in the NBA in turnovers per possession percentage and 25th in turnovers per possession play.


If the Sixers want to increase their chances to win in the playoffs, this is absolutely where Brett Brown starts and ends that discussion with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The Sixers’ defense has been getting killed by the number of turnovers on offense. The Sixers desperately need another point guard who is able to slow down the bleeding when the game gets out of hand. They need Markelle Fultz back.


"Some would have us go out and buy apples. But we want to build the whole orchard, and you don't get to the moon by climbing a tree."
-Sam Hinkie

Jonah Bolden commented on my first game recap for SFO.

We've moved to! Go see us there, as this is going away soon.