By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – You know your favorite team is rebuilding when a projection of 24 wins is disappointing because it’s too high. Alas, here are your 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers.
Tom Haberstroh, ESPN’s resident basketball statistics expert, has projected that the Sixers will win 24 games this season, and likely not finish with the worst record in the NBA. Haberstroh uses a formula called SCHOENE, developed by Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus.
“On the offensive end, the results are generally the same as aggregating, in that team performance is based on the combined performance of individuals (which already takes their role in the projected offense into account),” Pelton writes about SCHOENE. “On defense, defensive rebounding, blocks, steals and personal fouls are projected from individual statistics. Two-point percentage on unblocked shots and non-steal turnovers (as well as other descriptive factors like ratio of three-point attempts to twos) are based on past team performance regressed to league average (by a factor of 25 percent for two-point shots and about 45 percent for non-steal turnovers, which also factor in projected steal rate).”
There’s good news here (assuming you want the Sixers to lose). Haberstroh’s projections include Nerlens Noel returning just before Christmas, which seems at best unlikely. As well, the projections also include the team having a healthy Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, and Spencer Hawes for the entire season, three players who could be traded.
Thaddeus Young is projected to have one of his best seasons, scoring 17.8 points per game and grabbing 6.8 rebounds.
“As it stands now, the Sixers aren’t projected to finish with the worst record in the NBA in the eyes of SCHOENE,” Haberstroh says. “Actually, there’s a solid chance that the Sixers’ defense will open the door for the Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic to win Tankapalooza 2014. As long as Young sticks around, the 1972-73 Sixers that went 9-73 won’t have to worry about forfeiting their mantle as the worst team in franchise history. But for the Sixers next season, less is more.”
The 24-25 wins the Sixers are projected to win equate to 5th in the Atlantic Division, and 14th in the Eastern Conference.
The Sixers open up their season on October 30th against the Miami Heat. One would guess one of the 24 wins will not come that night.