PreSeason: Trends, Analysis & Thoughts

2getherwebuildmantracopyThe Sixers preseason is mercifully over.  With a 2-5 recordon the books — wins over Bilbao (a Spanish second-tier team) and the also tanking  Boston Celtics — the prospects of a historically bad season have never been better.

All aboard the Winless for Wiggins train!!!

Despite the sad level of play we witnessed in the last two weeks from the 7-6, we felt it was a must to analyze some of what we saw during the Sixers’ preseason run.

After the jump,  I highlight areas to keep an eye on heading into the regular season.

Much better shot selection than what was exhibited under Coach Collins:  The team took far fewer long-twos and straight away threes throughout the course of the preseason than they did in 2012-13.  3pAs (23 ppg. in preseason) and points in the paint are being stressed by Brown.  The rally cry for more interior scoring is ironic since the Sixers don’t have a deep or talented batch of bigs.  So, expect the 7-6’s athletic guards to drive the ball to the tin frequently and  take more shots from within ten feet this season.  The conservative, inefficient, mid-range offense of DC is thankfully gone. Someone send “The Enigma” the memo.

The core starters (Young,Turner,Hawes) will get their fair share of minutes:  The team looked beyond bad when all three of those guys sat this preseason, and while they are aiming to tank they still need to put a half decent product out on the floor.  Without at least one of those three out on the court at any given time, the team simply can’t compete, and barely passes as an NBA team.

Evan Turner — All Day, All Night:   Get ready to see a lot of ‘The Kid’ especially on the offensive end, where he will *finally* be the team’s top offensive option.  For Turner personally, it’s like he hit the jackpot at jackpotjoy. Unfortunately if you like watchable basketball, it’s a scary thought.  Turner will have the ball in his hand a good amount and that trend will likely lead to ET leading the team in scoring (17 ppg. in preseason) and shot attempts (team leader at 86 in 6 games during preseason).  That could help increase his trade value. However, his jumper doesn’t appeared to have improved much, he’s fallen in love with the spinning fade away and his basketball IQ remains suspect.  Any GM in the League worth a dime will see those elements on tape and not offer much for the former #2 overall Draft pick.

Free throws are good:  Brett Brown placed a lot of import on free throws in training camp and it appears the team listened.  The Sixers averaged 32 FTAs per game during the preseason.  That is a substantial increase over the the 16.7 per game average (29th in the NBA) the team put up last season under DC.  Getting to the line will be an important area for the team this if they hope to keep the L’s close and interesting this season.  After taking an avergae of 2.5 FTAs per game last season, Evan Turner averaged almost 10 attempts a game throughout the preseason — on 31 mpg.  That trend should carry over into the season and may increase as Turner’s minutes will likely go up during the regular season.

Will James Anderson make the most of his opportunity?:  James Anderson probably didn’t imagine he’d be an NBA starter when the summer started.  Or maybe he did.  Either way, he was given / earned the Sixers starting shooting guard spot form the first preseason game.  How will he handle a spot in the first-five when teh regular season starts?  Who knows.  He showed flashes of promise throughout the preseason, especially on the offensive end (48% on 3PAs) and on the break.  The Sixers will need some serious scoring, so this season may be a great opportunity for Anderson jump start his career.

T-Wroe & MCW1 together:  Look for Tony Wroten and Michael Carter-Williams to spend stretches out on the court together.  Brett Brown sees Wroten as more than a point guard, and loves his defensive tenacity and energy.  Expect him to play off ball at times.

The 7-6 will push the pace:  Under Collins last year (93 ppg.) the team’s Pace of Play was snail like — ranked 20th in the Association (91.0).  During the preseason the Sixers averaged 96 ppg. and that was with many of the starters seeing limited minutes.  At times in the preseason, the Sixers looked like a track team.  Coach Brown emphasized stamina throughout camp, urging a couple players to drop pounds because Brown will be looking at his team’s young legs to get out on the break when the opportunity presents itself.  Let’s be honest, it may be one of the team’s only advantages.


Michael Kaskey-Blomain is a scribe for Philadunkia.

You can follow him on Twitter @therealmikekb.

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