How Do The Sixers Fare According to Advanced Stats? Part 1

Yesterday we published an overview of some of the metrics most commonly used by people outside of the NBA’s inner circle. Today we are going to begin to take a look at how the Sixers fared last season and how they are projected to fare this season based on both metric and traditional stats, courtesy of Basketball Reference.

Who was the team’s leader in PER during the 2012-13 season?

With a total PER of 18.2, the winner was Thaddeus Young.

We’ve already established that 15.00 is the league’s average for PER. Only five players on the team were able to eclipse that number.

Thaddeus Young 18.2

Jrue Holiday 16.7

Arnett Moultrie 16.7

Dorell Wright 16.0

Spencer Hawes 16.0

(It should be noted that Moultre played in only 47 games, and played nearly 2100 minutes fewer than Young. That said, he was effective when he was on the court.)

Who wasn’t effective, other than the rest of the team? Evan Turner for one. He posted a PER of just 12.1, which was the lowest of any starter and the second lowest among players who played 1500 or more minutes (Only Lavoy Allen had a lower PER among those players with an 11.5). The Sixers dressed seventeen players last season, eleven of them posted a PER which was below the league average.

The Sixers' complementary star player

The Sixers’ complementary star player

Where did Young fare as far as the rest of the league? Looking at the 2012-13 leaders in PER we find this:

Lebron James  31.59

Kevin Durant  28.29

Chris Paul 26.38

Carmelo Anthony 24.75

Brook Lopez 24.73

Tim Duncan 24.38

Dwayne Wade 23.96

Russell Westbrook 23.92

Tony Parker 23.03

Kobe Bryant 23.02

If we were to keep ranking players, Young falls well out of the top 20. Young was an effective player, but no more than that. The problem with the team, according to these stats is that only five players were above average. Of those five, two, Dorell Wright and Moultre were essentially part-timers, with Wright playing more than Moultre.

Here are some players on playoff teams that Young’s PER compared to

Serge Ibaka (Thunder) 19.4

Jordan Hill (Lakers) 18.5

Larry Sanders (Bucks) 18.7

Tiago Splitter (Spurs) 18.7

Marc Gasol (Grizzlies) 18.7

Joakim Noah (Bulls) 18.1

Look at that list, are any of those players stars? Gasol is probably the best of that group, but for the most part they are complementary players on their respective teams.  When your best player is a complementary player your team is in trouble.

There is also something else that should come out of this conversation: why did Arnett Moultire spend so much time on the Sixers’ bench? He was effective when he played, anyone with two eyes could see that. He was a rookie on a bad team, and played more efficiently than all but two players on the team.  Was this team filled with so much talent that he ended up buried, or did Doug Collins just decide that, once again, he wasn’t in the mood to let a player grow?

PER allows for tracking over the course of a player’s career, and is a good indicator of how players will perform in a season. The Sixers’ top five career PERs are

Thaddeus Young 16.8

Arnett Moultrie 16.7

Jason Richardson 16.3

Spencer Hawes 14.1

Kwame Brown 12.5

That’s right, Kwame Brown is fifth. Worried yet?


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