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Lead Guards Against Philadelphia 76ers

Note: this one is heavy on figures and on the longer side.

As pointed out by better Liberty Ballers basketball minds than I, it seems as if the Sixers have a problem defending opposing teams’ lead guards. The following tweets are graphic content and should be viewed with discretion.

Scoring by Position

With the assumption in place that the Sixers get toasted by lead guards, let’s first take a look at how the scoring against the Sixers breaks down in comparison to the rest of the league. On the x-axis of the following charts is the difference in 2PT FG% against the Sixers and 2PT FG% against the rest of the NBA. For example, if Caris LeVert has a 2PT FG% of 60% against the Sixers and a 2PT FG% of 50% against the rest of the NBA, the difference would be +10% (its an absolute difference). The y-axis is the identical concept, but for 3PT FG%. Of note, these positions are defined by NBA.com. All the usual caveats apply regarding limited number of shot attempts and some positions, notably the hyphenated ones, having a minimal number of players. However, I still feel like it’s an exercise worth completing.







They look nice, but personally, I’m not sure a huge amount can be gleaned from them purely based on FG%. Onward we go.

Lead Guard Scoring Distributions

Now, for this part, we identify the lead guard on each of the Sixers’ opponents so far, and compare their performance (based on Game Score) against the Sixers to that of their other games. My identification of lead guard was based on picking the most “get buckets” of the starting guards on each team, except for the Clippers, where I went with Lou Williams. Of course, positions are pretty amorphous these days, and I can certainly be convinced that certain players are more lead guard-ish than the ones I selected. I went through each player and tried to determine based on a variety of circumstances if they were a problem for the Sixers.

Box Score for Lead Guard Best Performance Against 76ers

Date Team Player Game Score fgm fga pctFG fg3m fg3a pctFG3 fg2m fg2a pctFG2 min ftm fta oreb dreb treb ast stl blk tov pf pts plusminus
Date Team Player Game Score fgm fga pctFG fg3m fg3a pctFG3 fg2m fg2a pctFG2 min ftm fta oreb dreb treb ast stl blk tov pf pts plusminus
12/17/2018 SAS DeMar DeRozan 19.1 9 16 56% 0 0 0% 9 16 56% 29 2 2 1 5 6 7 0 0 0 1 20 12
11/19/2018 PHX Devin Booker 23.9 13 28 46% 6 15 40% 7 13 54% 36 5 7 0 3 3 8 0 0 2 6 37 0
11/16/2018 UTA Donovan Mitchell 13.6 13 35 37% 1 11 9% 12 24 50% 34 4 7 0 2 2 0 4 1 1 3 31 1
10/20/2018 ORL Evan Fournier 21.8 12 23 52% 6 10 60% 6 13 46% 34 1 1 0 4 4 3 1 0 1 3 31 19
11/12/2018 MIA Goran Dragic 17.4 8 15 53% 1 4 25% 7 11 64% 29 5 7 0 3 3 5 2 1 2 4 22 -14
11/30/2018 WAS John Wall 8.5 4 15 27% 1 3 33% 3 12 25% 25 2 2 1 2 3 7 3 0 2 2 11 -19
11/21/2018 NOP Jrue Holiday 23.5 11 24 46% 1 6 17% 10 18 56% 41 7 8 2 2 4 10 2 1 5 1 30 7
11/17/2018 CHA Kemba Walker 43.7 21 34 62% 6 14 43% 15 20 75% 45 12 12 0 7 7 4 4 0 9 2 60 1
10/30/2018 TOR Kyle Lowry 16.7 7 14 50% 3 7 43% 4 7 57% 37 3 4 0 3 3 12 1 0 5 3 20 20
10/16/2018 BOS Kyrie Irving 0.7 2 14 14% 1 8 13% 1 6 17% 29 2 2 0 4 4 7 0 0 3 1 7 9
11/1/2018 LAC Lou Williams 14.6 9 19 47% 2 5 40% 7 14 50% 24 6 7 1 0 1 2 1 0 4 1 26 -16
11/10/2018 MEM Mike Conley 25.1 12 24 50% 4 10 40% 8 14 57% 42 4 6 0 4 4 6 2 1 1 3 32 19
10/23/2018 DET Reggie Jackson 16.8 7 14 50% 3 6 50% 4 8 50% 39 6 6 1 2 3 3 0 0 1 4 23 10
11/23/2018 CLE Rodney Hood 16.9 10 20 50% 5 7 71% 5 13 38% 39 0 0 2 2 4 1 0 0 0 2 25 7
12/12/2018 BKN Spencer Dinwiddie 31.1 11 18 61% 4 6 67% 7 12 58% 30 13 14 0 2 2 5 1 0 4 1 39 15
11/28/2018 NYK Tim Hardaway Jr. 1.1 1 11 9% 0 6 0% 1 5 20% 27 3 3 1 0 1 3 1 0 0 1 5 -16
10/29/2018 ATL Trae Young 9.7 5 13 39% 1 6 17% 4 7 57% 29 0 0 0 2 2 8 0 0 0 1 11 -14
11/7/2018 IND Victor Oladipo 29.2 14 30 47% 4 14 29% 10 16 63% 37 4 6 0 6 6 7 2 3 1 1 36 -7
10/18/2018 CHI Zach LaVine 19.4 11 19 58% 2 7 29% 9 12 75% 33 6 7 0 5 5 3 0 3 5 5 30 -10

In alphabetical order…


DeMar had a pretty solid game against the Sixers, but as an All-Star level player, he’s going to put up numbers against most people. Due to the blowout though, he only played 29 minutes with a fairly effortless 9-for-16 night from the field.

Verdict: based on the film (see Jackson’s tweets above), he was definitely a problem


Devin Booker had 37 points on 28 shot attempts, including 6-for-15 from three and 7-for-13 from two.

Verdict: problem


The guy who definitely didn’t care about not winning Rookie of the Year put up 35 shots, scoring 37 points. (Random: take a look at this recent Utah box score if you want to be confused).

Verdict: not a problem


I didn’t run the numbers, but I feel like the probability of him putting up his best and worst games of the year against the Sixers in his only two opportunities is rather low.

Verdict: a huge problem half the time


Goran put up 22 points on 15 shots, with 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block. It’s a pretty good game, but he also finished at -15 plus/minus (I know it’s a noisy stat).

Verdict: based on the 86th percentile performance, the verdict is a lukewarm problem


Nope.

Verdict: not a game against the Lakers so he’s not going to be a problem



I had to go with two guards here — the combo makes this worse. The duo put up a combined line of 60 points, 11 assists, and 6 rebounds on 49 shots in about 80 minutes.

Verdict: problem^2


Best game of his career and two other good games. Yep.

Verdict: problem (Kemba is absolutely crazy good this year though)


Weirdly meh performances from Mr. Lowry in both games that the Sixers definitely won by many points.

Verdict: not a problem as long as you do not look at the box scores of pretty much any other Raptor


Hmm. I’m sure this is perfectly predictive of his future performances against the Sixers.

Verdict: not a problem


Sweet Lou did his thing, scoring 26 points on 19 shots in 24 minutes of game time. He’s not a starter so much of this was bench action I believe.

Verdict: kind of a problem


Conley gets the OT boost to his stats (Game Score is not tempo/time based), but still had one very good game and one mediocre game.

Verdict: eh, hard to say


Average them all up and Jackson’s performances against the Sixers look to be about right in the middle of his distribution. Side note, I’m so over the Sixers playing Detroit.

Verdict: not a problem


Letting Rodney Hood have two of his better games all season against you is not great.

Verdict: problem


Two great games and one not great game. He seems to have a knack for killing the Sixers — at least he got paid.

Verdict: yep, he’s a problem


While I own almost every share of ‘Tim Hardaway will be an elite shooting guard’ stock, he played poorly the first outing, and solidly the second.

Verdict: not a problem


Trae is smaller than T.J.

Verdict: not a problem


Similar to Dinwiddie, Oladipo had one best game of the season and one not great game against the Sixers.

Verdict: he’s a great player and also a problem


Until he plays better defense than I would, he has a limited ceiling.

Verdict: like a two-hour practice after a back-to-back, a problem, but mostly for the Bulls

Wrap-Up & Covington Difference

Of the 31 games by these players against the Sixers, about 14 were at or above their 75th percentile performance, and 10 were at or above 85th percentile. Four players had their best game of the season against the Sixers (Fournier, Walker, Dinwiddie, Oladipo). However, some quick and dirty statistical testing does not indicate that these values are significantly different from a random allocation of similarly likely performances.


However, the combination of the data plus watching all the games (and reading what more knowledgeable people wrote) leads to a conclusion I am reasonable comfortable with — the Sixers get lit on fire by lead guards too often.

What about the fact that we lost an DPoY candidate in Robert Covington in mid November? Actually the numbers don’t really change. Comparing games at or above the 75th percentile, there were 4 out of 13 possible games pre-Jimmy and 5/18 post-Jimmy. Of note however, in the two games without Dario, Covington, or Jimmy the Sixers were rather accommodating, giving up 75th percentile performances in both (Goran Dragic and Mike Conley).

P.S. – In my quest to grab all the logos, I found out the original Milwaukee Bucks logo is the best logo in sports.




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