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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Isaiah Canaan/Michael Carter-Williams shooting comparison

One area where Michael Carter-Williams struggles is shooting. His current replacement, Isaiah Canaan is more proficient from long-range. Here is a shooting comparison between the two via Comcast:




Sixers reportedly 'shopped' Joel Embiid at the trade deadline

*Take this report with a grain of salt. Maybe two.*

'Shopped' is used in the title for lack of a better word.

In his short time in Philadelphia, Sam Hinkie has already become known for his willingness to part with players in order to acquire assets, and reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams proved to be no exception. The trade of Carter-Williams on last Thursday’s trade deadline was somewhat surprising, albeit not entirely unexpected. Trade rumors had surrounded Carter-Williams since summer, and with over 100 games played for the franchise, the Sixers had seen at least a small sample size of his work.
Image from nypost.com

The team was interested in obtaining another upcoming first round pick – which are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain outside of landing in the lottery – and they did so by moving a guy that they were obviously not completely committed to.  

More surprising however, is a recent report from Forbes.com that states that the Sixers were willing to discuss moves involving any player on their roster, including prized, yet-to-play lottery pick Joel Embiid.

From Forbes:

“In an unnoticed development at last week’s trade deadline, the 76ers were still trying to trade up for a top pick in this draft, indicating a willingness to talk about Joel Embiid or any player on their team, an NBA source told Forbes.com.

76ers ranked top professional sports team for their use of analytics

Check out the original article from Philly.com, here.
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The Philadelphia 76ers have become the face of the analytic push that is pervading professional sports. They morphed from an anti-analytical franchise under Doug Collins and company to an organization that embraces analytics and all the extra information it affords to decision-making with Sam Hinkie at the helm.

Since taking control of the franchise in the summer of 2013, Hinkie has completely gutted the roster, cleared the cap, poised the team for financial flexibility and stock-piled picks, while trading away a (one-time) All-Star in Jrue Holiday, a reigning Rookie of the Year in Michael Carter-Williams, and numerous role players with clunky contracts like Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, and Thaddeus Young.

“I’m trying to use information to make decisions, the same way you do,” Hinkie explained shortly after his hire by the Sixers.

Image from Slate.com
“You use analytics when you open your iPhone and try to figure out if it is going to rain today. All you’re using is lots and lots of data and it’s helping you to make an informed decision about whether you should bring an umbrella or not. That’s the way I think about it.”

Hinkie’s explaniation makes it seem simple; why wouldn’t you want as much information as possible before making a decision?   

The approach still has its detractors however, and it, and Hinkie, likely will until the Sixers see some success.

Current outcomes aside, the Sixers are clearly in the front of the field when it comes to the application of analytics, and a recent study confirms such.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Chris Palmer is sensitive, blocks Michael Kaskey-Blomain on Twitter

Chris Palmer is an NBA pundit from, well, somewhere, who, at this point is probably best known for being called out by Kevin Durant for being a 'dumbass.'

Palmer is known for expressing his opinion, that is often incorrect, or at least ill-informed.

For instance, on trade deadline day last year, he claimed that the Pacers would be virtually unbeatable with the addition of Evan Turner. Without dwelling on it too much, let's just say he was extremely incorrect about his Pacers prediction, and he did not appreciate when our writer Michael Kaskey-Blomain called him for it on Twitter during Thursday's hectic trade deadline.

Many on-lookers appreciated the response, as it was favored over 20 times.

Shortly thereafter, Kaskey-Blomain was blocked from Palmer's Twitter account.



The moral of the story is obviously don't call Chris Palmer out for any of the silly things he has said pertaining to NBA basketball, he doesn't appreciate it.

Kyle Korver on pace for one of the greatest shooting seasons in NBA history

Check out the original article from Philly.com, here.
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As the Sixers continue to identify viable pieces to the puzzle that is the future of the franchise, one area that obviously needs addressing is outside shooting.

Image from http://unidosporelbasket.blogspot.com/
The Sixers are 29th overall league-wide in three-point shooting percentage, despite taking the 11th most per game. The emergence of Robert Covington has helped the cause, but still, more consistent shooters are needed.  

One guy who is not struggling to shoot is former Sixer, and current Hawk, Kyle Korver, who is currently on pace to post the greatest shooting season in NBA history. Korver is currently shooting 51% from the field, 52% from three-point range, and an impressive 91% from the foul line – a true shooting percentage of 73. If the season ended today, that true shooting percentage would be the highest in history for anyone who has taken more than 300 shots in a season.

The only other player to ever shoot at least 50% from the field, 50% from three, and 90% from the foul line is current Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who accomplished the feat in 1996 as a member of the Chicago Bulls. Kerr however played far fewer minutes – 23.4 per game – than Korver, who is averaging over 33 minutes of action per contest this season, and also had a lower true shooting percentage.

The season is far from over, but if Korver continues on his current pace, his 2014-15 season will go down in the books as one of the greatest displays of shooting in NBA history.

*I wish I still had the rally towel the Sixers gave out back in the day that said: 'K squared = 3.'

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Do the Sixers intend to contend in 2015-16?

Check out the original article from Philly.com, here.
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It seems that the Sixers are prepared to move on from the ‘Together We Build’ phase of their restructuring plan.

On Tuesday morning the organization announced a re-brand of sorts, complete with a new uniform and a new slogan, for the start of the 2015-16 season. Where the Sixers preached patience with their current slogan, it seems safe to say that their new slogan will evoke excitement.

‘This Starts Now’ will replace ‘Together We Build’ as the team’s slogan, potentially signifying a shift in organizational expectation. The past two seasons have been all about building, developing, and acquiring assets, with actual outcomes of games taking a backseat. After the coming summer’s asset acquisition is complete, the team may finally be ready to begin its climb back to contention, hence the ‘This Starts Now’ mantra.

Image from cbslocal.com
In a video announcing the slogan shift, the organization emphasized that the bumpy ride that the past two seasons have been is sure to smooth shortly, and that an end goal is coming into focus.

We know that if you do what everyone else does, you get what everyone else gets. We’re different, and we do things differently. The roller coaster we’re on isn’t for everybody. Some people prefer an easy train ride; not us. Not in Philadelphia. Not if we want to do something special. We want the ride.”  

The team’s play has been improving as of late, signifying a right step in the direction of development.
These young players are getting better; a lot better. We smile watching highlight-reel dunks and blocks, and we keep coming. We know respect isn’t given in these league, or especially in this town. It is earned. We will fight for it. We know this is the way. This is the path. This is the plan, and there is only one ultimate goal. This starts now.”

The ultimate goal is, of course, an NBA Championship, and for the first time in Sam Hinkie’s tenure with the team, the organization is encouraging the fan-base to think big, rather than to dwell on development.

In addition to an excitement-inducing new slogan, the team also announced a uniform change for the upcoming 2015-16 season as well, although exact details of the new uniforms were not yet revealed.
The team is clearly trying to create a new image for itself starting next season, likely to disassociate from the losing it has been associated with over the past couple seasons. The team employed a similar approach in the late 1990’s, when it switched from its classic uniforms to a more modern look after selecting Allen Iverson in the 1996 NBA Draft and expecting some success.

At the start of next season, the Sixers will have a vast young pool of talent, including whoever they get in the 2015 Draft, copious cap space, and financial flexibility. With their new slogan and uniform change, the organization is acknowledging the progression of the plan, and an increase in expectation. Exciting times are ahead for the Sixers.

Check out the full article here