As the Sixers continue to pile up losses in their final 25 games — part of a long-term strategy that we're on board with, by the way — it's going to become increasingly more difficult to extract anything meaningful from the on-court product. Only two players in uniform have super-solid footing in the NBA, Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young.
This development has never been more apparent than last night, when the Sixers gave up a whopping 130 points to the 29th-ranked offense in the league. The Milwaukee Bucks, owners of a 10-45 record heading into last night's contest at Wells Fargo Center, absolutely destroyed the Sixers. A 34-24 final quarter made the final score seem much closer than the game really was.
But hey, at least the fans didn't have to sweat for free Big Macs. Brett Brown's run, run, run offense has been a boon for late-night fast food consumption in the Delaware Valley this winter. Here are a few (but only a few; remember the "difficult to extract" part) takeaways from last night's loss:
- Michael Carter-Williams had maybe the stat of the year, going plus-six while playing 34 minutes in a 20-point loss. Was he that good? Not especially, though he did score an efficient 20 points. While he turned the ball over five times, Carter-Williams didn't receive much help from his big men. On one notable play, newcomer Henry Sims just stopped his route like a wide receiver while diving to the basket. Unfortunately, Carter-Williams rightfully tried to lead him and threw the ball away.
- Of the three newcomers, the least-heralded (relatively) Sims was the most impressive. He plays hard and did a decent job cleaning the defensive glass on the rare occasions that the Bucks missed. On one play, Sims even showed off his passing skills and hit former Georgetown teammate Hollis Thompson on a backdoor cut. They definitely made that same connection quite a few times running JT3's Princeton Offense.
- On the other hand, Eric Maynor was a minus-29 in 16 minutes, which is pretty hard to do. Byron Mullens shot 4-6 for nine points, but only grabbed one rebound in his 14 minutes. Brett Brown had to be frustrated watching his 7-footer continually stand outside the paint while his undersized troops got bludgeoned on the glass to the tune of 20 total offensive rebounds for the Bucks.
- The biggest beneficiary of the Bucks' work on the offensive glass? Ovinton J'Anthony Mayo. Conventional wisdom holds that the best three-pointers come directly after an offensive rebound, and Mayo proved it to hold true on this night. He had Sergio Garcia-type time to tee up the majority of his nine threes, seven of which went in.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo didn't disappoint. Recovering off the floor to block Carter-Williams was an extremely impressive play. It was also notable how the Greek Freak was basically daring poor Thompson to drive to the rim, opening up his hips and surrendering a driving lane. On one occasion, he recovered to easily swat Thompson after his fellow rookie blew by him on the drive. The whole thing was actually pretty mean-spirited.
- Thaddeus Young played hard the whole game and ended up with a crazy 28-7-6-5 line. Like Carter-Williams, those stats are super-inflated, but kudos to Young for bringing the type of effort most of his team was unable to summon.
- Does the opponent score on the Sixers' press every single time or does it just seem that way?
- James Anderson and Tony Wroten had tough nights. On a couple of possessions, Anderson's goal was seemingly running into a defender and rifling the ball at the rim. At another point, Wroten missed consecutive uncontested dunks. Again, these guys are both starting now.