Philadelphia 76ers: Title Contenders Or Title Pretenders


The Philadelphia 76ers went on a recent streak winning eight straight games. The surge took them within two losses of the top seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Is this the hot team we can expect to see in the playoffs or are they the team that struggled early in the season. Let’s examine some numbers.

This year the Sixers are averaging 56.4% compared to 53.9% last year in effective field goal percentage. They are averaging 118.2 compared to last year’s 114.2 in points per one hundred possessions. Defensively they are allowing 113.4 points per one hundred possessions as compared to 110.7 last season. The Sixers are scoring more but also giving up more points. The Sixers are ahead of last year’s win pace with similar differentials.

If we examine the individual numbers only Joel Embiid has exceeded his stats from last season in a significant way, when speaking about the four key players on the team. Embiid averaged 36.3 points during the winning streak. For the season he averages 33.6 points per game. He also is almost one assist and one block more per game during the streak. Embiid’s points per one hundred shots has risen this year. Last year his was 123.3 while this year it’s 131.1.

The Supporting Staff

The other three key players, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris are averaging in the same neighborhood as last season in points per one hundred shots. Harden, though appearing much improved this season, is averaging 123.4 compared to 120.8 per one hundred shot attempts. His assists on shots made by teammates has gone up from 40.8 last season to 44.4. Tyrese Maxey’s numbers ticked down in points per one hundred shot attempts from 120.1 last season to 118.7 this year. All in all, when looking at these three players there is no significant change from last year to this year.

The only increase in production is through Embiid. Not only does this numbers study tell you about the season he is having it also enhances his case for being the league’s MVP. For the Sixers to go anywhere in the playoffs in comes down to one person, Embiid. If he produces as well as he did during the Sixers winning streak Philly has a shot at a title if he doesn’t it will be a long offseason.


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