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.