Philadelphia 76ers early season trends: Real or fake?

Tobias Harris | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Tobias Harris | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Sixers trend #2: Tobias Harris’ 3-point shooting — REAL

Will Tobias Harris continue to shoot 46.1 percent from three for the rest of the season? Almost definitely not, but can Harris finish over 40 percent or even pass his career-high of 41.1 percent? Absolutely! This is all about perspective, but there are real signs that Harris can continue his hot shooting.

The main difference from last season is that Harris has replaced tough off the dribble threes with open catch and shoot threes. The closest defender was four feet away or more on 85% of Harris’s threes last season compared to 95 percent this season. 75 percent of Harris’s threes were catch and shoot last season compared to 84 percent this season. If these splits continue, Harris should shoot a career-high from three.

Sixers trend #3: Top-four record — FAKE

On the bright side, the Sixers are first in the East with multiple players missing time,10-0 with their full starting lineup, and fresh off a signature win against the Lakers. On the other hand, the team has played the third easiest schedule in the NBA according to Basketball Reference and is eighth in net rating, usually a better indicator of the strength of a team than the team’s actual record.

With the two LA teams and the Jazz clicking, five other teams within two games of the Sixers, and the tougher upcoming schedule, the Sixers most likely finish outside the top four in regular-season record, especially if Embiid only plays around 75 percent of the team’s games. Still, expect them to a borderline top-five team and no worse than eighth or so.