STAR OF THE WEEK:
This week’s star goes to Ben Simmons. The rookie was a bright spot in what was an otherwise dismal week for the 76ers. The 6'10 point forward played well despite Philadelphia going 1 – 4 in the seven day span. Simmons scored a game high 20-points in Philly’s lone win of the week, a 103 – 97 victory over the Miami Heat.
A 100 – 92 loss to the Indiana Pacers served as the only true abysmal performance for the point forward. The 4-for-13 output did not interrupt a 60-percent shooting stretch from the field and 18.4 points with six rebounds. Simmons’ most impressive performance of the week came in defeat. On the road in Brooklyn, the Nets outdueled Philly 116 – 108, but not before January’s Rookie of the Month dropped 24-points, on 11-for-16 shooting.
The upcoming schedule brings the Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Clippers to town. Both the Wizards and Pelicans have felt Simmons’ offensive wrath in their previous contests. Philadelphia is 1 – 1 versus Washington with the first year star averaging 24.5 points and 14.0 rebounds in those two games. New Orleans witnessed a 27-point, 10-assist explosion in 131 – 121 Philly loss. Hopefully, the pup can duplicate that precision.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
A Painful Week
It was not a good week for Philadelphia, plain and simple. The numbers reflected the struggles of the seven day span with the 76ers finishing 19th in field goal percentage (45.6), 26th in points per game at 102.0 and 27th in three-point field percentage (29.5). Even the team’s staples of rebounding and assists took a nose dive. The Sixers dropped to 24th in assists per (21.4) and 25th in rebounds per with 40.8 for the week.
Defensively the group went from 5th in defensive rating to 4th, however they dropped (or rose) from 99.0 per to 103.5. Philly finished 12th in opponent made field goals (38.2), 14th in opponent field goal percentage (46.0) and 15th in opponent points per game at 108.4. Philadelphia was the only team in the NBA to have five games in a seven days, therefore it should shock no one that their four losses were the most in the Association in that timeframe.
A statistic that seems to be making its rounds is that center Joel Embiid leads the league in post-ups (10.6), which on its face is quite impressive. Yet, as in everything the devil is in the details. Because of Embiid’s size he rarely receives the rock off a screen or on the move, therefore when the center does get the ball his back is often to the defender. This technically qualifies as a “post-up”, however the big man almost never receives the ball in the painted area. In fact, it is first year point forward Ben Simmons who has the stronger paint presence of the two. Simmons was 7th with points within 10 feet and the seven footer topped out at 34th in the league. The rookie finished 19th in points in the restricted area (4.4), while Embiid was 41st in the league. The numbers were much better with points in the paint. Simmons finished 1st with 3.4 per outing, and the big man ended the week 12th with 2.0 per outing.
BEN SIMMONS VS. EVERYBODY
This week’s star goes to Donovan Mitchell. The 13th pick in last year’s draft has overtaken Ben Simmons and all other first year players as the top rookie in the league. The Utah Jazz guard is playing in another stratosphere at a time when most rookies are fizzling out. Mitchell’s best performance of the week came in a 129 – 97 win over the Phoenix Suns, where he torched the Suns for 40-points. This was the second time this season the Jazz star crossed the 40-point plateau. For the week the guard averaged 30.0 points on 61.1 percent shooting, including a scorching 64.3 percent from three, and 5.0 assists.
Here are some of the other top rookie performers for the week:
ANSWERING THE CALL – A.I.’s ROOKIE YEAR
It has been exactly 20 seasons since Hall-of-Fame guard Allen Iverson first blessed the NBA hardwood and ignited the city of Philadelphia. From the moment the Virginia native donned a Philadelphia 76ers uniform fans everywhere had a feeling Iverson was special and their basketball prayers were finally answered.
The organization struggled mightily through five consecutive losing seasons before selecting the six foot powerhouse out of Georgetown, first overall. It appears the franchise has found another transcendent player, in first year “guard” Ben Simmons. Oddly enough this year’s prized rookie guard hits the court after yet another five consecutive losing seasons.
As spectators enjoy the greatness and infancy stages of Simmons’ career, it is hard to forget the last time Philly had something (or someone) this special to root for. So while we partake in the now, it is impossible to not reminisce the before.
It was back-to-back wins for just the third time all season, when the Sixers defeated the San Antonio Spurs 113 – 97. Philly led from start to finish behind a potent performance from star rookie guard Allen Iverson. Georgetown University’s most famous alumni had the hot hand throughout going 5-for-8 from three while netting a game high 25-points.
The future Rookie of the Year struggled for the next four games, shooting a painful 24-percent. It was no coincidence Philly lost all four of those games. Iverson failed to reach the 20-point mark in three consecutive games for the first time all season. The Sixers were 2 – 15 in games in which A.I. scored 20-points or less up to that point. However, even monster scoring outputs could not save the Sixers from defeat, as fans found out later in the year.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: