The Philadelphia 76ers have gotten off to a solid 12-9 start to the 2012-2013 season. However, there are still five areas that Doug Collins needs to address to improve the team going forward.
Collins prides himself on making adjustments, so he will most likely fix all five of these issues. However, he must improve in these five areas quickly, as the Sixers have had one of the easiest schedules so far this season so wins will be much tougher to come by as the year progresses.
Although many fans believe that the Sixers are doing just fine, the team has allowed more points than it has scored against the league's second easiest schedule. If the Sixers want to make the playoffs, they are going to need to improve dramatically.
There is no question that this team needs Andrew Bynum to return from knee surgery, but they must prepare for him to miss the entire season. That being said, the front office needs to look to find a replacement for Bynum that will hold them over until his return.
Here are five immediate changes that coach Doug Collins must make for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Nick Young has outperformed expectations, but he is still not an effective player. Young often takes ill-advised shots and rarely looks for his teammates. Fortunately for the Sixers, he has seemed more committed to the defensive end this year.
Young has a usage rate of 20.61 percent, which is two percent higher than the league average. Considering Young's player efficiency rating is just 11.75, there is no reason that he should be used 20.61 percent of the time when he is on the court. In addition, Young is shooting just 38.3 percent from the field, which is simply unacceptable.
Coach Doug Collins needs to learn to rely on Jason Richardson and Dorell Wright for outside shooting rather than Nick Young.
The Sixers are taking far too many deep two-pointers when they should be replacing those shots with three-point attempts. Two of the guys who have struggled the most with this concept are Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday.
Holiday is shooting 33 percent on 4.4 shots per game from 16-23 feet, while he is shooting 34.9 percent from three-point range on three attempts per game. Turner is shooting 34 percent on 4.7 shots per game from 16-23 feet, while he is shooting 45.9 percent from three on just 1.8 attempts per game.
These stats prove that both Turner and Holiday would greatly benefit from shooting threes rather than long twos. Not only are both players shooting higher percentages from three than 16-23 feet, but three pointers allow for the Sixers to earn one more point per made shot than those long two pointers.
Collins needs to instill this into both Turner and Holiday, so that the Sixers can improve on their early season mediocrity.
Coach Doug Collins needs to implement more isolation plays into his playbook. Isolation plays are becoming more and more popular throughout the NBA and the Sixers need to catch on to this trend.
According to Synergy Sports, the Sixers are second in the NBA in isolation points per play at .88. However, the Sixers only run isolation plays on 9.93 percent of their possessions.
Compare that to the pick-and-roll, which the Sixers run on 21.74 percent of their possessions, but only score .77 times per possession.
If Collins can switch some of the pick-and-rolls that the Sixers do into isolation plays, the Sixers will be even more efficient on offense.
Although the common belief is that Jrue Holiday is having the best season of any Sixer, Thaddeus Young's numbers are slightly better than Jrue's. However, Young simply has not been involved in the offense as much as he deserves to be.
Young's usage rate is 19.78 percent, which ranks fifth on the team among qualified players. However, Young's offensive rating (points produced per 100 possessions) is the highest on the team at 109.
Clearly Collins needs to get the ball in Young's hands more often if the Sixers want to improve.
The Sixers centers have been dreadful thus far this season. If Andrew Bynum is going to be sidelined for a long period of time the Sixers must acquire a starting center, because the combination of Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen and Kwame Brown is simply not working.
Spencer Hawes has never been a good defender, but since he was so productive on the offensive end last year, people overlooked that flaw in his game. However, this year he has not produced on offense at all. Hawes' PER is just 14.08, while he is allowing opposing centers to accumulate an 18.6 PER. The Sixers are also 8.8 points per 48 minutes better when Hawes is off the floor than when he is on it.
Allen has also been a big disappointment. Allen has taken a step back on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor from last season. Allen's PER is just 11.8, while he is allowing opposing centers to post an 18.4 PER. This is simply not good enough for a starting center in the NBA.
Collins has an increased role in the front office this season, so he must attempt to make a move for a solid center to hold the Sixers over until Bynum returns.