The Sixers are really a miracle.
They have gotten barely four games from their No. 1 overall pick — who in January still can’t remember how to shoot a basketball.
They have had the No. 1 toughest schedule in the entire NBA so far.
They have the second youngest roster in the entire NBA.
They lead the entire NBA in turnovers with nearly 18 per game.
And somehow they are 20-20.
“In a twisted way I like where we’re at,” head coach Brett Brown said Monday after a 117-111 win over the Raptors, citing that the team is already finished playing top teams like the Warriors, Raptors, Rockets and have just one more game left against the Celtics (on Thursday in Boston).
Things are bright, with Markelle Fultz eventually (hopefully) slated to return as the All-Star game approaches. But there are still those atrocious turnovers.
“I think it shows how good we can be,” point guard T.J. McConnell said. “21 turnovers is ridiculously bad and obviously blowing that lead (the Sixers led by as many as 21), we have to be more mature with leads like that and continue to execute and lock up on defense and limit turnovers.”
But the stats are a bit deceiving, or so says Brown.
“Turnovers are something that coaches are not proud of,” Brown said. “I am a little past the fact that at times, if you want to lead the NBA in passes and you want to play fast and if you want to give a 4 the ball and call hima point guard or if you want to roll out Joel [Embiid] even though he does not practice that much, you’re going to have some turnovers. It doesn’t justify them, but it better explains why.”
The perpetual turnovers, Brown contends, are a byproduct of the Sixers style of play. Just as long rebounds are a symptom of a high-volume three-point shooting team or a team that likes to drive to the basket gets to the free throw line. It is a side-effect of the Sixers deciding to play an uptempo style with some immature players.
And yet, Philadelphia is just two games out of the Eastern Conference Playoffs bracket.
“We need to reduce them but at the same time I don’t want these guys playing scared,” Brown said. “I want them playing smart. We don’t walk up the floor, and at times it comes with some pain.”