The Philadelphia 76ers have started off 10-7 and are establishing themselves as a playoff team, but despite their success, the Sixers do have a handful of weaknesses that need to be acknowledged and fixed.
There are always areas for improvement for any team, young ones like the Sixers especially. And like any young team, they are still growing and learning how to complement each other to the fullest.
The Sixers have always put forth a consistent effort defensively, but offensively is a different story. Averaging just above 93 points per game (which ranks 25th in the league), speaks on its own that there is a lack of production offensively.
However, this problem does not solely reflect scoring. It also reflects what the Sixers are not doing or are doing poorly that, if executed properly, could result in a very productive offense.
Let's take a look at key areas where the Sixers have struggled and can improve...
For the most part, the Sixers are OK with this. It's just that when it hurts them, it really hurts them.
In five of their seven losses this season, the opposing team has shot over 40 percent form three point range.
The Sixers have their own plethora of three point shooters, they only become more significant is a margin can be established between the other team's three-point shooters. In other words, if the other team is shooting just as well from three, then the three point production for the Sixers becomes practically indifferent.
Unfortunately they were expecting Andrew Bynum to fill the void here. Nevertheless, Philadelphia has struggled grabbing boards this season. In fact, they currently rank 22nd in the league in rebounds per game, averaging just over 40 per game.
The Sixers are a team that flourishes in transition. If they cannot grab rebounds then they have less opportunity to utilize their strength on the fast-break.
Also, keep in mind this works both ways. The often give up rebounds to opposing teams. This year they rank 28th in the league, giving up over 44 per game.
Considering their leading rebounder is Thaddeus Young who, despite his talent, is an undersized power forward, it can be said this is a flaw the Sixers must improve on this year.
The reason for this goes hand-in-hand with the reasoning for lack of rebounding— lack of a big man.
The Sixers rank 27th in the league in points in the paint (35.5). True, not a lot is expected in the paint out of Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen and Kwame Brown, but just because we expect it does not justify it. It is still a glaring weakness that teams will cease.
Fortunately, though, the Sixers fare well against defending the paint as they rank fifth in the league by allowing just 38.2 points per game. So let's just say if the Sixers defense was not stellar, they could be a lot worse off at the moment.
Still another reason to pout about not having Andrew Bynum? Count it.
At times, they are in a groove, but at others (what also seems more often), they are inconsistent and fail to shoot efficiently.
Philadelphia ranks 24th in the league in field goal percentage (43.1%). Right now, the Sixers only have two guys who shoot above 45 percent: Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young.
Shooting has always been a problem for them and it can single-handedly cause a loss. Against the Pistons, for example, the Sixers shot an atrocious 29 percent from the field and 31 percent from three, which ultimately caused them to lose the game 94-76.
Fact: The Sixers rank 28th in the league in free throws attempted per game (18.9).
This needs to change.
Unfortunately the Sixers can still be given the title of not having a superstar on the court and as stated earlier, they have yet to be consistently efficient from the field.
To make up for it, they need to slash, or drive to the basket and get to the line more often. Many teams, take the Thunder for example, thrive off this strategy and pick up easy points at the line. Getting to the line 30 times per game certainly helps them average the most points per game (105.1).
When teams know they lack talent compared to certain team or know they have a weakness in a certain area, they find something else to do that can fill the void. This is called maximizing talent.
So take this more of as a "what they could be doing that they are not" rather than as a pure weakness because this is an easy fix.