Last January was a magical time where, for the first time in what felt like a lifetime, we had a basketball team that won twice the amount of games they lost. It was incredible. Joel Embiid solidified himself as a force to reckon with in this league, Brett Brown got his first full above .500 month ever, I think, and on top of everything else, it was incredibly fun. Real fun. Not the fun of moral victories and highlights made in 20 point losses. Everything felt right.
Soon after, Joel Embiid went down for the season, which pretty much put a damper on the rest of it (outside of the establishment of Dario Saric). The Sixers are now 2-0 this January thanks to Ben Simmons, Dario, JoJo, and the blessing of the Based God.
During Brett Brown’s tenure — by-the-numbers horrendous due to a tank constantly rolling downhill — the Sixers have consistently shown up(ish) in January. Since 2014, the Sixers are 28-38 in January after starting 2-0 this season, for a .424 winning percentage. That’s higher than any full season under Brown and well above any other month. When you combine the short October with a full November, the Sixers are a Sixers-respectable 22-68 (.244), with 12 of those wins coming this year alone. They follow in December with a 19-53 record (.264), on 5 wins this year. In February, they’ve been an abysmal 8-37 (.178) and they end the season in a combined March and April on with a perfect record of 17-76 (.183). January is the best, and it’s not even close.
January also gives the Sixers their best by-month FG% (tied with October/November) at 43.7%, the 2nd best 3PT% at 33.1% (behind October/November’s 33.9%, all other months are tied at 33%), their best Offensive Rating (101.1), their best Defensive Ratingg (106.7), and by default their best Net Rating (-5.6).
The Sixers’ Januaries also post their best block percentage (9.5%) and second-best steal percentage (9.6%) in any month, to go along with their second-best assist percentage (62.7%), and second-best turnover percentage (14.5) for any full month.
In fact, since the Syracuse Nationals became the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1963-1964 season, they’ve won more of their January games (.631 winning percentage) than in any other month.
The middle and second-half of the Sixers’ January 2018 isn’t going to be easy, but all signs point to the fact that, historically, they’re gonna be alright.