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First-Half Season Grades For 76ers Offense And Defense

Interior of 76ers logo painted on wooden floor at Sixers Training Complex in Camden, New Jersey during the Julius Erving Youth Basketball Clinic on September 9, 2017.
(Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for PGD Global)


The Philadelphia 76ers have crossed the halfway point meaning it is time to give out report cards.

To add some focus to the article, it will be broken down into two factors: offense and defense.

The review will be based on statistics, analytics, and some visual assessment.

Let’s jump right into it.


76ers’ Offense Looks Potent

Frankly, it is hard to give an accurate assessment of the 76ers to this point.

Each of their “Big 3” has missed at least 11 games.

Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris have only shared the court for 12 games together.

Meaning the team has not had an extended chance to build chemistry as a whole unit.

Even still, the team has managed to average the 15th most points scored in the league.

That number looks better when you get deeper into the weeds, as Philadelphia has the ninth-best offensive rating and seventh-best adjusted offensive rating.

The adjusted offensive rating considers the strength of opposing defenses.

Most promising has been the continued development of Harden and Embiid’s pick-and-roll game.

Two-man lineups featuring Embiid and Harden post an offensive rating of 120.7.

Embiid has developed into one of the most dangerous roll men with Harden at the helm.

His 7.1 possessions per game as a roll-man laps the field as does his 8.3 points per game.

Continuing to build on this chemistry will be big come playoff time.



Defense Is a Work in Progress

Philadelphia’s defense looks good on paper but is not as stout as the numbers suggest.

The 76ers allow the third-fewest points per game and have the fifth-best defensive rating.

They are a top-10 team in defending the three ball and are forcing turnovers at a top-five rate (13.9%).

However, watching the games tells a different story.

Philly typically loses the rebounding battle and is porous in transition.

De’Anthony Melton, Tobias Harris, and PJ Tucker are the only high-minute players who can consistently play high-level perimeter defense.

Lineups featuring both Harden and Maxey have trouble stopping the ball at the point of attack.

Two-man lineups featuring Harden and Maxey have a relatively respectable 111.2 defensive rating, but Embiid accounts for most of that rating.

A fully engaged Joel Embiid can mask many defensive shortcomings along the perimeter.

But the defense can get sloppy if Embiid checks out, literally or figuratively.

The 76ers have things to work on defensively over the second half.

But they deserve credit for having the third-stingiest defense to this point.


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