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Playing fast could actually help the Sixers tank?

Nov 13, 2013, 12:40 PM EDT

NBA: Preseason-Minnesota Timberwolves at Philadelphia 76ers

Are the Sixers helping their tanking cause by playing fast? It’s an interesting theory and one explained in more detail in the below video by Tom Haberstroh for ESPN’s TrueHoop.

The premise is rather simple: the better team (not the Sixers usually) increases the likelihood of winning the longer a game goes on. This gives the inferior team (usually the Sixers) less of a chance of “catching lightning in a bottle” and finding a way to win.

I’m not really following his point that Evan Turner upping his personal numbers has anything to do with helping the Sixers tank as a team. And yeah, I guess it is more fun as a fan watching a team play fast.

The Sixers will have their hands full on Wednesday night with Sam Hinkie’s old club, the Houston Rockets. More on that mismatch here.

UPDATE: Having some issues with the video embed? Just try watching it here.

  1. Hextall - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Think of it in terms of number of possessions. The faster each team plays, the more possessions are created, and other teams invariably score at higher rates than the Sixers. More possessions effectively makes the game longer. The flip side, is the more possessions in a game, the higher the score is in nominal terms, so ET’s stats look better compared with his peers who may be getting fewer touches but doing more with them.

  2. docdeath20 - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Watched Randle in the first game last night then Parker vs Wiggins right after all i can say is WOW. I don’t think the 76er’s can go wrong with either of these kids. Wiggins had a quite first half then a solid second half, Parker is a beast and Randle is one as well right now Parker looks more complete then Wiggins I will say one thing Randle is unreal as well.

  3. Lol - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    $10 says Boston or the Lakers get Wiggins.

  4. scurf - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Funny, Zach Lowe, probably the best NBA columnist/analyst there is in my opinion, broached the idea that maybe this isn’t the case just the other day:

    “There has also been an influx of new coaches and GMs who understand the value of shooting early. New coaches on bad teams with no expectations tend to view pushing the pace as an experimental way of introducing some unpredictability and closing the night-to-night talent gap [footnote]. But pace is up just as dramatically in lots of places with incumbent coaches still on board.

    Footnote: This last thing is very interesting, since smart NBA people for years have tended toward the opposite view: that slowing the pace, and thus minimizing the number of possessions in a game, is the best way for an underdog to topple a favorite — especially in a league where the full-court press, another underdog tactic, has never really worked. More possessions, the thinking has gone, just gives the talent gap a larger sample size over which to take effect.”

    Knowing him, there will probably be a dissertation on this later in the season when he has more data to work with.


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