The Philadelphia 76ers are by far the worst defensive team in the league and perhaps one of the worst defensive teams of all-time. That trend continued tonight when they lost 105-88 to the Charlotte Bobcats. It’s the eighth-straight game that they’ve given up 100-plus points. In the past three games they’ve surrendered a total of 350 points which is puzzling because of a change that Brett Brown made to the starting lineup.
In order to try and bolster their defense, they have sent James Anderson to work with the second unit and have put rookie Hollis Thompson into the starting lineup. Brown said it was to give the chance for Anderson to work with the second unit and play with Tony Wroten and provide more of a scoring punch off the bench. And Thompson’s length at 6-foot-8 was to provide more of a defensive presence on the perimeter.
But after the first three games of the experiment, it appears that it hasn’t been Thompson’s defense that has impressed, but rather his offense. In 15 games as a reserve, he averaged 4.5 points in 15 minutes per game while shooting 45 percent. But in his three games as a starter, he is averaging 9.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and has shot 12-for-18 from the floor. He has been extremely efficient when it comes to spacing the floor, not doing too much and letting the game come to him. He has been the perfect compliment to guys who take a lot of shots like Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes.
But the problem has been that Thompson hasn’t helped the defense at all. The Bobcats are dead last in the NBA averaging 88.8 points per game and were able to scored 105 tonight. The Sixers won’t be able to consistently win games if they don’t step up their defense but Thompson is proving to be a serviceable NBA player.