Why the Sixers need to stop taking 3-pointers…now

Unless the excessive amount of 3-pointers is part of the Sixers’ elaborate plan to tank and finish with one of the worst records, they need to stop taking so many of them. It’s killing their shooting percentage and wastes possessions. Most of all, it’s allowing these young players to develop bad habits of just jacking up a 3 whenever they want instead of moving the ball around and looking for a better shot.

The Sixers average 23.7 attempts beyond the arc per game and only hit an average of 7.1. That not only leads to the worst 3-point percentage in the league (29.8%), but it makes them the only team to shoot below 30% from three. That’s pretty terrible. They’re 11th in the league in most 3’s attempted per game, but 18th in 3’s made per game. This also gives them by far the worst adjusted field goal percentage as a team, 45.4%, a whole percent lower than the second worst team.

It starts with the point guards though, the supposed “quarterbacks” of the offense in basketball. Michael Carter-William and Tony Wroten are probably the biggest culprits of taking bad 3’s. They shoot 24% and 26% respectively from beyond the arc, just pitiful percentages. Wroten averages close to five 3’s a game despite this terrible clip. What is he expecting will happen? Will it change? Well, there’s basically no chance of that happening this year. It’s not a cold streak, it’s just a lack of skill. Carter-Williams is having a poor shooting year overall, but it would help tremendously if he cut back on the amount of 3’s he takes.

Only one player on the team shoots above 40% from 3 (Robert Covington), and only two players shoot above 31% from 3 including Covington. The other is Hollis Thompson, who shoots 33.3% in that category. Covington is actually having one of the best performances from 3 of any player this season. He’s tied for 14th in the league in 3-point percentage and is tied for 12th in 3’s made per game. That’s the kind of player who should be attempting a lot of 3’s. Thompson is a 3-point specialist and doesn’t do much else, so he should also take some 3’s, but it will obviously be less effective.

It’s no secret the Sixers are struggling to score points. Well, it’s pretty mind-blowing to think that about 24 different times they throw up a 3 (on average), knowing they’re the worst team in the league at it. As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This is what the Sixers are doing.

Let’s say they cut their 3’s per game down to just 17 and relocate those seven 3’s to regular 2-point field goals. While they’re also worst in the league in overall field goal percentage, a portion of that is because of their terrible 3-point shooting. They shoot 45.6% as a team from inside the arc. So, if they take seven more 2’s instead of 3’s and shoot at that 45.6%, that would hypothetically add another 6 points per game to their team average. At only 90.3 PPG regularly as a team, they get blown out on most nights. But if they start to close the gap by attempting more 2’s instead of 3’s, they can add about 6 PPG to their only average, cutting their differential (-12.7) almost in half. That’s a good start if you ask me.

Also, shifting around who takes the 3’s will help improve their percentages as well. It’s pretty clear by now that guys like MCW, Wroten and Mbah a Moute are not good 3-point shooters despite their constant shooting from out there. Well, if they give those 3-point attempts to guys like Covington, Thompson and K.J. McDaniels, they’ll be in a much better position on offense.

Clearly all of these calculations are hypothetical, but it shows how inefficient they’re shooting on a regular basis. Unless it’s part of Sam Hinkie’s mastermind plan, it needs to stop now.


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