Five Early Takeaways from the Sixers’ Season Thus Far

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Brett Brown’s Defense Loves to Pressure, but at a Cost 

Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2013 season, the 76ers defense under Brett Brown had a lot of question marks. What kind of defensive scheme would the first year head coach implement with this team? How would the lack of size and depth effect the Sixers on the defensive end? Early on, we are starting to see some of the answers to these questions.

The stand out fact thus far about the Sixers’ defense is that Brett Brown loves to pressure the ball. Trapping at mid-court has become a norm against opposing teams. Brown’s defense is also pressuring on the perimeter as well. As a result, the Sixers are forcing 18.3 turnovers per game against opponents. Keep in mind that the three opponents have been against two of the best teams in the NBA, the Heat and Bulls, and against a likely playoff team the Washington Wizards.

While forcing turnovers has been a good thing for the Sixers, who like to get out and score in transitions, it has come at a cost. Due to over playing their men, the Sixers are allowing a lot of open shots on the weak side of the court. Opposing offenses are running designed plays to bring the ball to one side of the court, knowing that the Sixers will pressure and try to trap the ball, then swing the ball back to the weak side for an open jumper. The weak side defenders are playing too far off and have been unable to get back and contest the jump shots. The Sixers are currently allowing opponents to score an average of 105 PPG and shoot 46% from the field.

Another problem has been the interior defense giving up easy lay ups. The Wizards and Bulls killed the Sixers inside with Derrick Rose and John Wall getting into the paint for lay ups or dropping it off to the big men.

For the Sixers to keep winning, Brown must make a few adjustments on the defensive end to prevent teams from getting so many easy baskets.