What Will It Take For Sixers To Get First Win?


Last season, the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t get their first win until December 3rd, 18 games into the season. They defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 85-77, who were having a tough season of their own, only having won four games up through that night. In a way, this win got the ball rolling for the Sixers. In their first 18 games, they only won 5.5% of their games, but after that win, they won 22.2% of their next 18 games.

Obviously, things still weren’t great since they finished the year winning just 22.2% of their games, but that first win was important.

The waiting until December for the first win of the year is not something the Sixers fans want to relive. So what will it take for the Sixers to get their first win this year, and how early on in the season will it come?

Last season, multiple things came into play to contribute to this win against the Timberwolves.

The first of these was Michael Carter-Williams having a big game. After missing the first seven games of the year, this was a capitalization on getting into double digit scoring in eight of the past ten games. He had 11 rebounds and seven assists to tack onto 20 points in 42 minutes of game play.

But this wasn’t enough to signlehandedly pave the way to a win for Philadelphia. It’s cliche, but it really was an all around team effort to get this first win. Five players were in double digit points, and four players had five or more rebounds.

The starters were key, four out of the five shooting above 40%, but the bench was also present. K.J. McDaniels scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Robert Covington pulled in 17 points and four rebounds. McDaniels was impressive on defense, keeping the Wolves from scoring with four blocks in the game.

How does this translate to this year?

For starters, a big 20 point performance like Carter-Williams had would get the ball rolling. With the offense likely to be centered around Jahlil Okafor, he’s the obvious one to be scoring that many points. If he’s able to do his thing in the post and also hit free throws, it’s not that far off.

Secondly, he would need backing from his team, particularly from his starters. If Nik Stauskas can get comfortable early from beyond the arc in any given game, he’s a threat to defenses, able to hit three  or four big three pointers a game. So, if he can work on getting comfortable early, he can score a decent 10+ points per game.

Offensively, Nerlens Noel hasn’t offered much in the past but supposedly has been working on his shot and will be able to knock down some 10 footers if needed. This will be absolutely nessecary to win a game, and Nerlens can’t be having an off night, otherwise the Sixers will be majorly set back.

The bench will need to be present, as well, and any two or three of the bench players could step up on any given night and give the Sixers a decent chunk of scoring and rebounds.

After the first quarter of the Timberwolves game the Sixers led by 23-13, so getting of to a quick start was certainly helpful.

Lastly, the biggest thing the Sixers had going for them in their first win last year was an opponent that matched their skills. Getting just 19 wins of their own last season (one more than the Sixers) they were both generally not well performing teams. Had this game been against most other NBA teams, the Sixers probably would not have won.

These things considered, when can the Sixers have a “perfect storm” of all of these qualities from last year’s win coming together that sets them up for a win?

My thought is that it’s going to take about three games (minimum) before things gel nicely for the starters and bench players to all work together well enough to have good games.

The sixth game of the year comes on November 7th against the Orlando Magic, and I find them to be a beatable opponent for Philadelphia. They only got 25 wins of their own last season, a pace the Sixers may be on for next year.

That far into the season, although still early, things should be starting to gel between Okafor and Noel, and the rest of the roster should be learning how the offense should work. Stauskas’s jitters should be out of the way, and he could easily have a 10 point performance in him, possibly his first of the year.

It’s no guarantee that the Sixers win this game. If things take longer than a few games to fit together, we could see them nearing early December without a win again this year, which would be a tough thing for Sixers fans. But maybe, this perfect storm and scenario could take place in early November, and get the ball rolling for the Sixers, leading them to a much better year than last season.

Next: Finding Peace In The Sixers Point Guard Race

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