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Sixers Science Preview: Sixers vs. Pistons

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Looking forward to the new season!

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Starting Lineups & Game Info

Notes: Ben Simmons is out. Mike Muscala is back. Wilson Chandler is doubtful.

Things You Should Know

1. Last season, Joel Embiid dominated Andre Drummond. In three games, Embiid guarded Drummond for 125 offensive possessions, holding him to 15 points on 5/14 shooting. The Pistons only scored 0.86 Points Per Possession over that span, well below league average.

2. The Sixers were much better in fast-paced games last year — good news — pace is up this year. The Sixers won 8 out of their top 10 fastest-paced games last season, including wins over Minnesota, Toronto, Portland, Milwaukee, & Utah. Conversely, they won just 4 of their 10 slowest-paced games — including bad losses to tanking Brooklyn and Memphis.

3. Dwayne Casey wants Pistons to embrace analytics Casey said: “I’m less concerned about the amount, more concerned about the quality. I’d much rather have an assisted (3-point shot). I’d much rather have a post-up, which I thought we did in the last couple of games. We did a better job of posting up, kicking it out. The inside-out 3s.”

4. The Piston-mobile may have a smarter on-board computer, but the engine and transmission may still be dumb as rocks. The Pistons are intent on taking approximately 45 threes per game, which I believe is a solid number.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

For the gamblers:

Spread: Detroit Pistons -1

I like the Sixers at +1. Sharps see a Simmons-less Sixers squad as vulnerable. On the road, starting Fultz, and playing Embiid heavy minutes could spell trouble.

I believe this game will devolves into a three-point shooting contest, which favors the Sixers. As long as Embiid avoids foul trouble, the Sixers will win the pivotal second-chance points battle at Little Caesars Arena.

Detroit Pistons (2-0)

Pistons will have a regular rotation of 9 players. Andre Drummond attempts threes now. Sixers should avoid fouling Blake Griffin.

Sixers (2-1)

Embiid playing the most minutes now & good to see his turnovers are down. Will be interesting to see Shamet vs. TJ minutes as year progresses.

Player Impact Plus Minus Matchup Data

Multi-Year PIPM uses ~75% weighting from 2017-18 data.

Approximated Muscala minutes.

With Ben Simmons out, JJ Redick, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric will have to pick up the slack on offense. Redick should continue to shoot 3s off-the-dribble.

Robert Covington will be switching like a man-possessed from Reggie Jackson to Stanley Johnson to Reggie Bullock to Glenn Robinson. Covington has not had great success against Reggie Jackson — I’d prefer to put him on Bullock/Johnson, give them space & cause chaos off-the-ball.

The Sixers defense is still building upon the off-ball switching principles. They will probably need to iron out the kinks for a few months.

The Sixers overall have a clear roster advantage over the Pistons.

Sixers: 109

Pistons: 106