The 2020-21 NBA regular season is officially over and the playoffs have begun for the play-in teams. But before the Sixers’ playoff run gets underway, we need to digest their regular season performance. What better way than to look at the stats that tell the story? Let’s jump into seven interesting statistics from the Sixers’ 2020-21 campaign.
Danny Green: 3.0 3PT att/game from the corner
As far as I could tell, no player in the NBA attempted more corner threes this season than Danny Green’s 207 attempts over 69 games, a rate of 3.0 attempts per game. The next most I could find were Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith at 132 each and Cameron Johnson at 131. The corner three is of course one of the most valuable shots there is, being worth 3 points and generally converting at a higher rate than above the break threes. Danny has constructed his player identity around this reality of the game and by combining it with excellent perimeter defense, Green remains one of the league’s most impactful players when he’s dialed in.
Seth Curry: 59.6% 3PT from the corner
Staying on theme with corner three point shooting here. Cleaning The Glass tracks Seth Curry as shooting just 52 attempts from the corner this season, not exactly what anyone would call high volume. But his 31 makes put him at a success rate of 59.6%, a comically high 3PT percentage. Based on this season’s performance, the expected value of a Seth Curry corner three attempt would be 1.78 points.
This season may be an outlier, but Curry’s career numbers still reflect an absurdly good corner shooter: 51.1% on 272 attempts, per Cleaning The Glass. Danny Green will be a free agent this upcoming offseason. If the Sixers do not retain his services, it will hurt. But at least Curry, under contract for 2021-22, is ready to step in and take the corner three mantle. Now, if we could just get that volume up.
Tobias Harris: 17.6% AST%
A while back we spoke with Tobias Harris’s high school basketball coach, who told us that Tobias never stops improving from season to season, that he always adds a new tool to the kit. Well, Harris certainly seems to have improved as a passer in 2020-21. His 3.5 assists per game and 17.6% assist rate are both high marks for his career. His assist rate puts him in the 88th percentile for his position. Tobias has carried the bench at times this season and he’s done so by being more than a scorer.
Ben Simmons: 18.5% SFLD% (shooting fouled percentage)
I think we can all agree that it would be nice to see Ben Simmons improve as a free throw shooter. It seems like a rather realistic area for improvement that could significantly increase his offensive value. Unfortunately, we have yet to see that development. That’s a shame, because Ben gets to the line at a very high rate.
According to Cleaning The Glass, Simmons drew a foul on 18.5% of his shot attempts in 2020-21 — that ranks in the 100th percentile for his position and it’s a career high for Ben. Joel Embiid, who at this point has swapped his settlement on the charity stripe for a city (that’s a Catan reference for my fellow settlers out there), draws fouls at only a slightly higher rate of 20.6% for comparison. Of course, that doesn’t paint the picture entirely as Embiid takes many more shot attempts than Ben. But between the two, Philly gets plenty of gimmes.
Joel Embiid: +9.6 FT per 100 FGA
As alluded to above, Joel Embiid draws a great many fouls. So many that his foul drawing alters the composition of the Sixers’ offense. When Joel is on the floor, the Sixers attempt 9.6 more free throws per 100 field goal attempts than when he is off. Add in that the Sixers allow 4.8 less free throws per 100 field goal attempts to the opposition when the big man is on the court versus off, and you have a free throw differential increase of +14.4 per 100 field goal attempts when Jo is on versus off.
Matisse Thybulle: 8.9% usage
Of all players with at least 1,000 minutes played, only PJ Tucker and Nerlens Noel have a lower usage rate than Matisse Thybulle’s 8.9%. That 8.9% usage means that for every 100 Sixers possessions, less than 10 end in a Thybulle shot attempt, free throw, assist, or turnover. But despite playing such a limited role on offense, Thybulle has been one of the 35-ish most impactful players in the NBA in 2020-21 according to FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR. We all know of Thybulle’s defensive prowess in the Delaware Valley and now he has received significant national attention, being recognized as one of the league’s premier defenders. His impact in context with his usage rate further attest to his defensive ability.
Tyrese Maxey: 7.6% TOV%
Tyrese Maxey’s rookie season was a lot of fun to watch. His shiftiness and ability to get downhill are welcome additions to the Sixers bench, where ball handling and creation have been hard to come by over the last few seasons. But one of the more impressive aspects of Tyrese’s debut has been something he doesn’t do: turn the ball over.
Per Cleaning The Glass, Maxey turns the ball over on just 7.6% of his possessions — 93rd percentile for his position as a rookie. In rawer terms, he’s averaging only 1.6 turnovers per 36 minutes played. Maxey needs to improve defensively to earn more of Doc Rivers’ trust. But ball security can often be a problem for young guards and Maxey has impressed on that front.