Could Sixers become Golden State of the East?

Could Sixers become Golden State of the East?

Sixers talk about Iguodala's dominating performance

November 5, 2013, 5:00 pm
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Evan Turner's stellar shooting has helped the Sixers to average 105 points per game through four contests. (AP)

Ask any NBA League Pass subscriber or late-night basketball junkie which teams they most enjoy watching, and undoubtedly the Golden State Warriors are at the top of that list.

The Warriors are the hipster darlings of the NBA, and aficionados talk about them as if they are the only ones in on the secret. Watching the Warriors for fans in the Eastern time zone is like slipping into a jazz club after closing time to see some virtuoso performance.
 
Nobody will be talking about it the next day because it happened as the square world was sleeping.
 
What makes the Warriors so alluring? Try ball movement, an up-tempo offense and smart shooting to start. In the 110-90 victory over the Sixers on Monday night, the Warriors got 35 points on the fast break and 45 from three-pointers. The team’s best shooter, Stephen Curry, had a terrible night shooting but adjusted his game and got his second career triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

And with the Sixers focused on stopping Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala stepped up and scored 32 points on seven three-pointers.

“You kind of have to pick your poison [with the Warriors] and we picked the wrong one,” Sixers center Spencer Hawes said.

Sure, when a team builds a 39-point lead in the second half and wins by 20, the flaws are obvious. The Sixers were sloppy with the ball, missed bad shots and struggled to defend the Warriors’ break. It was almost as if the Sixers were playing against the grown-up version of themselves on Monday night.

Could the 3-1 Sixers turn into a version of the Warriors down the road? Is that how the team is being built?

From a raw sketch and just four games into the rebuilding process, the Warriors’ model could be the way the Sixers are headed. New coach Brett Brown’s system is based on fitness, running and ball movement, which have all been hallmarks for the Warriors as they have built up.

“They have all the pieces,” Brown said. “The interior with Bogut and David Lee and they have athletes like Klay and Andre that get after it.”

With homegrown pieces like Curry and Thompson and a trade four years ago for Lee, the Warriors have added pieces like Iguodala and center Andrew Bogut. Though they may be a little thin on the bench with second-year draftee Draymond Green, veteran Toney Douglas and ex-Sixer Marreese Speights, they have been able to ride the scoring punch from their starters.

The Sixers have had similar results with four players — Evan Turner, Michael Carter-Williams, Spencer Hawes and Thad Young — accounting for 69 percent of the team’s scoring. And like the Warriors, the Sixers have been getting nearly 60 percent of their shot attempts from in the paint.

The difference is shooting and experience. The Sixers are the youngest team in the league with an average age of 23.5, and they have an effective field-goal percentage of 41.4. The Warriors are older with an average age of 26.8 and have the best effective field-goal percentage in the league at 58.3 and the third-best defensive field goal percentage.

“We play unselfish basketball,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “We’re an up-tempo team. Offensively, we have a bunch of playmakers and guys that can make shots.”

Of course, the Warriors are still a work in progress. They need one more big-time player for the starting lineup and a couple more pieces for the bench. But with the style of play, the team-first concept and the possibility of moving to an extravagant brand-new arena near AT&T Park in San Francisco, the Warriors might be the destination spot for many free agents.

The Sixers are headed in that direction, though they are a few years behind the Warriors. Better yet, if the Sixers are able to get there to become that must-watch team, we won’t have to stay up late to watch the games.

Turner finds his zone
Evan Turner is averaging a career-best 21.8 points per game through the early going, shooting a robust 52.3 percent from the field while converting on 19 of his 22 free-throw attempts. He is second in the NBA in field goals, field-goal attempts and has cracked the top 15 in league scoring average.

Not a bad start for Turner.

Interestingly, Turner has found his hot spots on the floor. Of the 65 shots he has attempted this season, 51 have come from 15-feet and in. On those shots, Turner is shooting 65 percent (33 for 51).

But on shots longer than 15-feet, Turner is 1 for 14 this season, including 0 for 7 on three-pointers.