A Dive into the 76ers First 21 Games and a Peak at the Next 20

By Scott Cashin, Sports Talk Philly Writer

With the first 21 games in the books, here is a review of the Philadelphia 76ers first quarter of the season and a preview of the next quarter.

Philadelphia went 15-6 in their first 21 games, which included a tough west coast trip through Utah and Denver. The offense was inconsistent through the first 21 games, earning an offensive rating of 107.3 (17th in the NBA). The defense was as advertised heading into the season, posting a rating of 102.6, which is good enough to be the fourth best in the league. Despite the early swing through the Northwest division, the 76ers had the third easiest schedule behind only the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons. Philadelphia's 10-0 record at home, while encouraging, camouflages the team’s mediocre 5-6 record on the road. When examining the East/West breakdown of the schedule, you see that Philadelphia handled the weaker Eastern Conference teams, winning 10 of 12 match-ups. By contrast, the Sixers have only won five of the nine games against west coast teams. Road contests, especially when traveling across the country, are difficult.

76ers fans have been overly critical of the team’s lack of outside shooters in the rotation, and while it is true there is no traditional sniper in head coach Brett Brown’s rotation, the team ranks 14th in 3-point percentage (35.7). The team ranks 26th out of the 30 teams in attempts per game from beyond the arc, with an average of 29.6 per game. Over the previous two seasons with sharpshooter JJ Redick in the back court, the Sixers' outside shooting numbers were not too different than the numbers this year’s squad is posting.

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No Snipers, No Problem. 76ers' Defense, Bully-Ball Mentality Make up for Perceived Lack of Outside Shooting

By Scott Cashin, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

The adage in business teaches us to buy when everyone else is selling. When going against the crowd, there is less competition for resources and an abundance of trade partners where favorable terms can be found. It has become a three-point shooting league. The team to emerge from this offensive movement will be the one that can force the opposition off the arc with elite defense and into the unfamiliar mid-range game where the reward is 33% less.

The lost art of defense, once highly valued in the NBA, has been replaced with three-point shots at volume. Teams are too eager to trade quick attempts in the hope of putting up rapid points on the scoreboard. But when teams are cold – they are freezing. If you take away the three-point shot, do they even know how to play in the mid-range? Successful teams take and convert the open shots given to them.

The Philadelphia 76ers underwent an overhaul this offseason. The team got taller and longer. Along the way they parted with JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler, leaving many to wonder where will the shooting come from? While still armed with an abundance of players who can score, none on the roster shoot above average from deep. This may sound alarming given the style of today’s game, but I am going to tell you that it is okay that the team is lacking the traditional outside threat. Redick certainly had games when he would catch fire and that should not be dismissed, however, it can be easy to romanticize the past and forget that:

  • Redick was cold for stretches shooting, also;
  • he had a below average handle for a guard that resulted in turnovers;
  • he was not a threat to drive the lane, allowing lesser defenders a position on the court; and
  • he could not stay in front of quick players on defense.

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Four Things to Watch Early in the 76ers Season

By Scott Cashin, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

With the dust settled on the offseason and the Philadelphia 76ers preseason complete, there are four intriguing story lines to watch early in the season that will dictate how deep the team advances into June.

1. The pairing of Al Horford in the front court next to Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid spent the offseason dropping his playing weight and improving his handle. With a sharpened focus of landing home court advantage for the playoffs, he is poised to explode on both ends of the floor this season. When general manager Elton Brand secured the services of Al Horford this offseason, he added someone who can help Embiid grow both on and off the court. The addition of Horford's versatile offensive game should free up Embiid to camp in the paint more on offense, where very few in the league are equipped to handle his growing repertoire. When fed the ball in the post in prior seasons, Embiid would be on the receiving end of a quick double team that often resulted in a turnover. An offseason spent improving his handle will help decrease these turnovers.

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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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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 Bring Back Furkan Korkmaz at a Savings With Better Terms

By Scott Cashin, Sports Talk Philly Writer

In one of Elton Brand’s first official acts as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, he declined the third-year team option on Furkan Korkmaz's contract. The third and fourth year, if exercised, would have been worth $2,033,160 for this upcoming season and $3,665,787 in 2020-21. Korkmaz played out the season and was generally unimpressive. After several weeks of being on the free agent market without a deal, Korkmaz and Philadelphia agreed to give it another chance

Without being committed to Korkmaz, Brand was able to use the $2 million (less $900,000 for having fewer than 12 players on the roster) that would have been guaranteed to him during free agency in order to sign Horford and Milton to their four-year contracts. The team signed Korkmaz using a Minimum Player Salary Exception to exceed the salary cap and only committed $1,620,565 in salary.

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Breaking Down 76ers' Exhibit 10 Deal with Christ Koumadje

By Scott Cashin, Sports Talk Philly Writer

The Philadelphia 76ers used the Exhibit 10 to sign Christ Koumadje to a one-year, partially guaranteed contract on Friday afternoon.

You might wonder what is an Exhibit 10 deal?  Exhibit 10 is a clause that can be included in a minimum contract to allow for a bonus for a waived player signing with the team’s G-League affiliate in the event they don’t make the 15-man roster.  To qualify for a bonus that can range between $5,000 and $50,000, the player must be on the G-League roster for at least 60 days.  The player can be signed to a two-way contract if one is available.

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Breaking Down the Specifics of Ben Simmons' Contract Extension

By Scott Cashin, Sports Talk Philly writer

You might have wondered why it took half of July for the Philadelphia 76ers to extend franchise player Ben Simmons to a designated rookie extension.  Well, after more contract details began to emerge, it might have something to do with the negotiations that surrounded escalator triggers and the fifth year early termination option (ETO). 

The 76ers can have up to two designated rookie extensions that they sign on the books at any given time.  A third can be acquired through a trade.  Joel Embiid just finished the base year on his deal.  On Tuesday, the team signed Simmons to the other.  Unless the team trades one of those players in the next four seasons, the earliest the team could sign another player to a designated rookie extension is when Embiid’s current contract ends. 

A few of the requirements of a designated rookie extension contract in addition to the amount of them they can have on the roster are:  

  • They must start at 25 percent of the salary cap in the base year;
  • Players that achieve certain accolades can be eligible for up to 30 percent of the salary cap in the base year;
  • They must be five years in length; and
  • They can contain a player contract termination clause in the fifth year. This is referred to as an ETO.

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How Sam Hinkie set the Ground Work for Elton Brand to Build What Might be the Best Starting Five in the NBA

By Scott Cashin, Sports Talk Philly writer

This journey begins with the start of the Philadelphia 76ers' rebuild six years ago during the 2013 offseason. Shortly after former general manager Sam Hinkie first assumed control of the 76ers, he began a long-term process to build a team using the NBA Draft. 

Hinkie dealt the team’s only All Star, Jrue Holiday, to the New Orleans Pelicans for their first-round selection in 2013 (used to select Nerlens Noel) and their 2014 first-round selection (which became the 10th pick used on Elfrid Payton). 

While Hinkie addressed the media following his first draft, the Houston Rockets seized the opportunity to sign one of Hinkie’s targets.  He later described missing out on signing Robert Covington as “heartbreaking”.  He failed to lock in Covington as soon as the draft concluded and his subsequent delay left Houston an opening to ink Covington to a three-year contract. 

With Covington under contract with the Rockets organization, Philadelphia had its sights set on the 2014 draft.  Having already selected Joel Embiid with the 3rd pick, the 76ers exploited the infatuation that the Orlando Magic showed point guard Elfrid Payton from Louisiana-Lafayette by selecting him two picks before Orlando had a chance.  This maneuver is not entirely uncommon in the NBA.  If a team shows too much of their hand prior to the draft, another team can hijack the player and pry an asset away from the team in the process.  This occurred most recently in the 2019 Rookie draft when draft veteran Danny Ainge and the Celtics snagged Matisse Thybulle with the 20th pick and forced Philadelphia to part with the 24th and an early second-round pick to in a trade to obtain his rights.  As a side bonus to the additional compensation, players selected later in the first round cost less money over the term of their rookie deal when compared to earlier selections.

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76ers Finalize Draft-Night Deal with Hawks

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By Scott Cashin, Sports Talk Philly writer

On draft night, the Philadelphia 76ers reached an agreement with the Atlanta Hawks to send the No. 34 pick, which was used to select Bruno Fernando, for two future second-round picks and pick No. 57 (Jordon Bone). With the free agency moratorium over and the trade now executed, the identity of those second-round picks and the associated protections are now in place. 

Now armed with four second-round picks in 2020, three of which are coming from projected lottery teams, Philadelphia is armed with enough ammunition to trade back into the first round of next year's NBA Draft. The 76ers currently don’t project to be a part of the first round due to having included their own pick in the mid-season deal to the Los Angeles Clippers to acquire Tobias Harris and Oklahoma City’s pick likely not conveying.