The Philadelphia 76ers must already be reminiscing about their start to the 2013-14 NBA season. The Sixers started the year by winning their first three contests and even kept it up to get their record to 5-4. Since that time, though, Philly is just 2-14 and now sit at an abysmal 7-18, a place much closer to where we expected them to be this year.
Over that stretch, the Sixers’ offense hasn’t been great. They are averaging just 96.5 points per 100 possessions over their last 16 games, which is partially due to a slew of minor injuries to Michael Carter-Williams that have kept him out sporadically and partially due to the Sixers regressing to the mean.
However, it’s the Sixers’ defense that has truly been an abomination over this stretch of poor play. In their last 16 games, Philadelphia has been conceding 107.7 points per 100 possessions, which would make them the second worst defense in the league if that were extended over the entirety of the season that’s been played. Over this stretch, the 76ers have given up fewer than 100 points in just two games, neither of which were victories.
It’s pretty clear that you can score on the Sixers at this point and the Portland Trail Blazers made that even more apparent on Friday night as they dropped 139 points on Philly while hitting a team-record 21 three-point attempts. Sure, Portland has the league’s best offense, but 139 points is still a crazy amount.
The Sixers are finally looking like the exemplary tanking team that we supposed they’d be and, though their offense certainly isn’t changing anyone’s mind of that opinion, their defense is the real reason why they are playing so poorly. It would be easy to blast them for it, but this is really the team that we thought we were going to see all along.