Philadelphia 76ers: Wilson Chandler needs to take more shots

(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

After averaging 5.7 shots a game this season, Wilson Chandlers gave the Philadelphia 76ers a 15-point present in Boston. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.

After hours of buildup and anticipation, it’s pretty safe to say the Philadelphia 76ers did not have a very merry Christmas.

While the team at least kept things close and surged back from a six-point deficit at halftime to tie things up at the end of regulation, Brett Brown‘s squad simply couldn’t put it all together for five additional minutes and dropped a could-have-been overtime win at the TD Bank Garden to their divisional foes the Boston Celtics.

However, there was a sliver of hope in the Sixers misery, that could signify a positive step for the team moving forward: Wilson Chandler went off at both ends of the court.

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In a real Christmas miracle, Chandler gave his team buckets when they needed him most; scoring 15 points on 11 shots while knocking down half of his six 3-point attempts. Sure, he did so over 40 minutes of action, easily his most playing time of the season, but after scoring in double-digits only six times over his first 21 game career in the red, white, and blue, it’s encouraging to see the Sixers’ fifth-man put up a season-high when they needed him most.

But was it an isolated case, or could this be the start of a new shoot-first-era for the 12th-year vet?

If the 76res are going to have any hopes of actually winning close games like their Christmas day bout against Boston, they have to pray it’s the latter.

While it’s been easy to scapegoat Chandler for his inability to contribute consistently on the offensive end of the court, as he’s averaging a career-low mark in points, steals and attempts while logging 26 minutes of action a night, even the most cynical Philly fan can’t call the DePaul-alum a bust by any stretch of the imagination.

A glue guy in the classical sense, Chandler does the dirty work that seldom shows up on a stats sheet but helps to keep his team in tight games. From setting hard screens, to switching off on defense, to initiating the offense at the top of the key, Chandler has proven himself to be a more than adequate replacement for Robert Covington as the team’s offensive glue guy.

But unlike Covington, Chandler appears almost afraid at times to take a contested shot on the wings, the antithesis of Big Shot Bob’s ‘shoot-at-will’ philosophy.

That needs to change.

Over his 12-year career in the NBA, Chandler has averaged 11.5 shots a game, including about 3.8 attempts from downtown, but these numbers are a bit misleading. Since the 2013-2014 season, Chandler has attempted at least 246 3-point attempts a game, having made 459 of his 1,329 attempts for a slightly below league-average 34.5 completion percentage. While he’s completing more shots this season, knocking down 40 percent of his three 3s a game, Chandler is only on pace to attempt 207 shots from outside the arc this season.

If that trend holds, that would be Chandler’s lowest clip since the 2012-2013 season, when he only appeared in 43 games for the Denver Nuggets.

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While no one should seriously expect Chandler to suddenly transform into Covington and attempt 6.3 3s a game, if he can at least keep up his Boston clip down the stretch, attempting 11 shots from the field and six 3s for double-digit points, it could be a significant boon for a Philadelphia 76ers squad who’s been desperate for auxiliary scoring outside of their big four.