All stats via Cleaning the Glass, Basketball Reference, Bball-Index, FiveThirtyEight, apanalytics.shinyapps.io and NBA.com— feel free to suggest new categories and segments in the comments down below.
Outliers of this Odd Season
- Of players to post at least 1,000 defensive possessions this season, Ben Simmons had the seventh highest versatility score in the NBA. He was bested only by Toronto’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and OG Anunoby, Dallas forward Dorian Finney-Smith, Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr., Draymond Green and James Harden, who grades out surprisingly well due to how he uses his bulky frame to matchup with bigs in the post.
- Brett Brown is (in)famous for the relative absence of the pick and roll in his teams’ offenses, despite its vast increase in popularity and frequency across the NBA. This season, the Sixers are one of only two teams to not have a single player register at least five possessions per game as the ball handler in a pick and roll action.
The other? That would be the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks, whose most common P&R ball handler is Khris Middleton at 4.8 possessions per game, and Middleton has worked well in this function by averaging a neat 1.00 Points Per Possession, good for the 86th percentile in the league.
The Sixers’ most frequent P&R handler—Josh Richardson—also averaged 4.8 possessions per game, but did so at a much more mediocre clip of 0.86 PPP, which pegs him in the 54th percentile of all handlers. Almost everyone else on the team is less efficient than Richardson in that action save for Shake Milton, who averaged 0.88 PPP, albeit on a mere 2.0 possessions per game, and Alec Burks, who in 11 games with the Sixers averaged 4.3 P&R possessions a game and produced a blistering 1.11 PPP in those possessions.
- Courtesy of the most recent Lowe Post Podcast, the Sixers had the best free throw rate in the entire NBA when Joel Embiid was on the court, and the worst free throw rate the league when he was on the bench. Just in case you needed a reminder of how valuable he is to this team.
Products of The Process
- Want pity from other NBA fans? Bring up the fact that you actually had to support Alexey Shved for 17 games in 2014-15. Despite only averaging 7.4 points per game with some rough 37-31-76 shooting splits, Shved had an insanely high usage rate of 28.2 percent in his short lived Sixers stint.
Only a man with an irrationally high confidence level and a penchant for missing off the dribble jumpers in the most awkward way possible could post such self-contradictory statistics.
In all his other NBA stints, Shved finished in the 93rd percentile for usage with the New York Knicks, and the 76th and 86th percentile in his two seasons in Minnesota. Alexey, you are truly a wonder.
Nostalgic Numbers Corner
- I started Sixers Stats to highlight those lesser known accomplishments (or shortcomings) of franchise players. That’s why a guy like Wilt Chamberlain — whose numbers are so legendary that they’ve been written, talked about and discussed for years on end — has not come up yet.
While its hard to properly rate Chamberlain as a player due to the style of play in the ‘60s and the unmatched abundance of scoring opportunities he was given, it’s still quite humorous to take a look back at his numbers and realize just how great of an outlier he was.
Chamberlain lead the league in field goal percentage in nine of his 13 seasons, even though many of his percentages today would be considered good but not great for a center. For example, in his sophomore season of 1961, his league-leading mark was a mere 50.9 percent. In 2019-20, the top 24 on the field goal percentage leader board all shot greater than 50.9 percent from the floor and only one of them stood under 6-foot-8: the incorrigible DeMar DeRozan, whose astounding raw percentage comes at the cost of efficiency and actual effectiveness as he refuses to step behind the arc and launch threes.
However, Wilt did eventually fall in love with the idea of trying to lead the league in assists in 1967, sacrificing some shot attempt volume and subsequently causing his percentage to skyrocket to an incredible 68.3. The Big Dipper would go on to top this number in his final NBA season, but his 72.7 percent shooting with the Lakers came with him only averaging 7.1 shot attempts per game, whereas as in ‘67, he was still getting up 14.2 attempts at the basket every game.
In Loving Memory of one Mr. Timothy John McConnell
- After having at least one game in each of his first three seasons where he made three 3-pointers in a game, McConnell has only had one single game in the past two years where he made more than one 3-pointer in a game—a matchup in Philadelphia against the Detroit Pistons on December 10, 2018.
Of course, it’s okay to abandon some three point shooting when you are the king of the short mid range, and double as one of the league’s best point of attack defenders.
You do you, T.J.