76ers Stats: Living and Dying by the 3-Point Shot

All statistics from Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.

By Bill Gorman, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

In the 2018-19 season, the Philadelphia 76ers were 19th in the NBA in 3-point field goal attempts at 30.2 per game and were 18th in 3-point attempt rate (percentage of the team’s total shots that were from 3-point range) at 34.2%. They finished the season 8th in efficiency from behind the arc, hitting 35.8% of their long-distance attempts. What all of this means is they were pretty good at hitting threes but were behind the league average in taking them.

How did general manager Elton Brand react to this minor imbalance? By trading (or allowing to leave via free agency) four of the top five Sixers in terms of 3-point attempts (JJ Redick, Landry Shamet, Jimmy Butler and Mike Muscala). They then signed, drafted or traded for Al Horford, Josh Richardson and Matisse Thybulle. The team also brought back Furkan Korkmaz to have an expanded role as a shooter off the bench.

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The 76ers Offense is Struggling: Are More Post-Ups the Answer?

By Bill Gorman, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

Bully ball. It has been a popular refrain among local media, 76ers fans and even the organization since general manager Elton Brand signed 6-foot-10 Al Horford, traded for 6-foot-6 Josh Richardson and brought back 6-foot-9 Tobias Harris to form the largest starting lineup in the NBA along with the 6-foot-10 Ben Simmons and 7-foot Joel Embiid.

Heading into this season, fans and analysts alike had visions of five defenders all with enough quickness and length to switch on any and every pick and roll or screen action. With defensive-minded reserves like rookie first-round pick Matisse Thybulle (6-foot-5 with a 7-foot wingspan), James Ennis III (6-foot-7 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan) and Kyle O’Quinn (6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan), predictions that Philadelphia would shut every opponent down and keep opponents from clearing the 100-point mark on a regular basis ran rampant among fans. Through nine games so far this season, the team is sixth in the league in defensive rating (points per 100 possessions) at 102.4: Things are going as expected on that end of the floor.

The 76ers offense this season was always going to present the larger question. Losing players who had accounted for 48% of the team’s 3-point attempts in 2018-19 presented a challenge the team will be facing all season. Making the floor spacing work with a lineup consisting of Simmons (a non-shooter), Richardson (career 3-point percentage in the mid-30s), Harris (the lone "shooter" in the starting lineup) and the twin-towers of Embiid and Horford was always going to be an issue for head coach Brett Brown to figure out. The hope is that, as the season goes along, the starting lineup will gel together and as a result floor spacing will not be as much of an issue.

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Potential or Production: The Looming 76ers Draft Question

By Bill Gorman, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

Over the past two seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers have made it an organizational priority to add defensive specialists through the draft. Head coach Brett Brown highly values players who can play defense, and the organization has surely made strides in adding players over the last two offseasons, beginning in the 2018 NBA Draft, that fit his defensive philosophy. 

The team selected Villanova forward Mikal Bridges with the 10th pick of the 2018 NBA Draft. Bridges was thought to be a potential three-and-D player with lockdown potential and the ability to shoot 40% from beyond the arc, all while also possessing enough ball handling skill to run a team’s offense in short spurts. He had also played three years of college basketball, meaning he was seen as a ready-made NBA prospect.

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Sixerdelphia Roundtable: Five Questions for the Upcoming 76ers Season

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With only 21 days until the Philadelphia 76ers' regular season begins, Sixerdelphia managing editor Matt Gregan and staff writers Kevin McCormick, Scott Cashin and Bill Gorman take a stab at answering five questions regarding the upcoming season.

 

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Korkmaz's World Cup Performance May Inspire Breakthrough in 76ers' Rotation

By Bill Gorman, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

When the groups for the 2019 FIBA World Cup were announced, many assumed that the USA, placed in a group with Japan, the Czech Republic and Turkey, would dominate with little problem and move on to the round of 16.

No one mentioned this to Turkey when they played the USA team on September 3. Turkey used a stifling zone defense to shut down the Americans in the 2nd half, only to fall victim to poor free-throw shooting at the end of regulation to fall 93-92. Earlier, the Turkish team had handled the Japanese with a 86-67 win in their opener. Unfortunately for the Turks, they were eliminated from championship contention after dropping their group-stage finale to the Czech Republic 91-76.

Philadelphia 76ers guard/forward Furkan Korkmaz was a key piece in the near-upset against the US, scoring 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting (3-of-6 from 3-point range, which will be his calling card in Philadelphia). For the three group stage games, the 22-year old put up a slash line of 14.0/3.7/1.7 on 48.5% shooting (42.9% from three) while playing 26.6 minutes per night.

As one of the main bench pieces for Turkey, Korkmaz showed some of the playmaking and shooting skills he flashed that enticed the 76ers to draft him in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft. His ability to stretch the floor as someone who is both good at shooting off screens as well as being a catch-and-shoot threat could prove to be critical for a team that will need as many good shooters as it can get. If Korkmaz can build on his World Cup performance, it could be a springboard to push him past James Ennis III, Matisse Thybulle and Zhaire Smith in the competition for minutes on the wing off the bench.


76ers' Lack of Representation in 2019 FIBA World Cup Could Prove to be a Negative

Furkan Korkmaz, the Philadelphia 76ers' lone representative in the FIBA World Cup, seen here standing to the right of Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu.

By Bill Gorman, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

The 2019 FIBA World Cup will begin on August 31, and as I am sure you’ve heard, a ton of NBA players will be missing from the proceedings. In fact, the entire Philadelphia 76ers roster with the exception of the recently re-signed Furkan Korkmaz (likely to start for the Turkish National Team at shooting guard) will be staying away from China in September.

Let’s dip into the reasons why the 76ers will not be better represented in this year's World Cup, the first qualifying tournament for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. We will start with the American players.

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76ers Roundtable: Most Intriguing Games in 76ers' 2019-20 Schedule

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We asked three of our writers, including Sixerdelphia managing editor Matt Gregan, to name the three most intriguing or interesting games on the Philadelphia 76ers schedule for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

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76ers' Defense Should Improve to Become Top Defense in NBA

By Bill Gorman, Sports Talk Philly Writer

“Defense wins championships.”

From the time I was six years old watching football with my father, this mantra was drilled into my head. Well, that and “Ron Jaworski will be the best quarterback you’ll ever see,” so not everything he said was perfect.

The Philadelphia 76ers’ defense was not bad in 2018-19. The problem was it was not as good as it was in 2017-18, and that led to some late-game meltdowns in losses to teams like the Atlanta Hawks (three times) and the Chicago Bulls that may well have cost the team a chance to be the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Which means that Kawhi Leonard’s shot would have had to go down in front of a Philadelphia crowd that stepped up big in Games 3 and 6 instead of his much-friendlier Toronto crowd. 

So Elton Brand undertook yet another team makeover, the third since he took over the general manger's job in September of 2018. He traded Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat, receiving Josh Richardson in return. He signed Al Horford to a four-year contract. He brought back Tobias Harris on a five-year contract and re-signed Mike Scott and James Ennis III. Brand also used the NBA Draft as a conduit to add defensive maven (see below) Matisse Thybulle with the 20th pick in the first round. In addition, he allowed JJ Redick, TJ McConnell, Boban Marjanovic, Greg Monroe and Amir Johnson, all of whom could be described as weaker defenders, to leave via free agency.

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