Is It Time to Sound The Alarm on Sixers 3-point Scoring Lapse?

Tobias Harris
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 01: Philadelphia 76ers Forward Tobias Harris (12) looks on during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers on March 1, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

The Sixers have been outscored and outshot from deep in 15 straight games. Is it time to worry about the team’s three-point shooting?

In the past 7 games alone, opposing teams have attempted 94 more threes than the Sixers, which has led to 132 more points from beyond the arc.

In the recent west-coast trip, the Sixers dropped 3 of 4 games to the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, and Sacramento Kings. In these 4 games alone, the opposing teams shot 63 more three-pointers and connected on nearly 5 more of these long-range shots than the Sixers did in each game.

Throughout the entire season, the Sixers currently rank 18th in the league in 3-point percentage knocking down shots from beyond the arc at a rate of 35.9% per game. This has been a concerning trend as this number has decreased of late.

In the last 3 games alone, the Sixers have shot just 31.3%. They tied their worst performance of the year by shooting 6 for 27 from beyond the arc against the Trail Blazers. This poor showing of 22.2% from beyond the arc has been replicated by the Sixers one other time. They shot 8 of 36 in a matchup against the Atlanta Hawks earlier in the year.

Last Year/This Year

It is even more surprising when comparing the three-point numbers to last year’s disaster season. While all that has been talked about this season is the addition of shooters, the Sixers are shooting and making fewer three-pointers than last year.

Led by Tobias Harris, who attempted 5 three-pointers per game (attempting 4.2 this season), the Sixers shot 31.5 three-pointers per game last season. This ranked 23rd in the league, and they connected at a higher percentage than has been seen this season at 36.2%.

Through the first 28 games this season, the Sixers are hoisting 28.9 attempts per game, which rank 28th in the league. To put this in perspective, they recently faced the best 3-point shooting team as the Jazz attempt 42.4 shots from beyond the arc on a nightly basis.

Doc Rivers brushed off concerns over the lack of emphasis on three-pointers as he believed it just came with the “ebbs and flows” of the offense. He also thought it to be far too soon for this to be a long-term concern.

Rivers also mentioned that he believed the cause of this could be on the defensive end. Finding the open three in transition will continue to be looked at as a point of emphasis on offense. From Doc’s perspective, the lack of defensive intensity is responsible for not creating these looks.

Is It Time For The Sixers To Sound The Alarm?

While it is certainly too soon to panic, this decrease in three-point scoring is a concerning trend. It may have seemed purely a luxury to add perimeter scoring a few weeks ago. Still, after their recent play, it may make names like JJ Redick worth reconsidering.

In the modernized NBA that is seen today, it is hard to win without having strong perimeter shooting.

Given the mid-range and around-the-rim scoring preferences that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons hold, the Sixers will never be a team threatening the league title for points from deep. Because of this, it makes it essential for the surrounding players to be capable and willing three-point scorers.

There is no doubt that Seth Curry and Danny Green are better 3-point shooters and provide better spacing than the former supporting cast of Al Horford and Josh Richardson. But, the Sixers need to be able to lean on the supporting cast to carry more of the load moving forward if they want to continue to get closer to their championship aspirations.