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Sixers storylines: Other teams can't keep up
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Just how up-tempo is the Sixers’ offense?
 
It’s the fastest in the NBA.
 
Headed into Sunday’s game in Detroit, the Sixers led the NBA in pace, an advanced metric that measures the number of possessions a team gets per 48 minutes. According to the numbers, the Sixers average 99.5 possessions per game — more than a possession per game better than the Minnesota Timberwolves, the next-highest team.
 
Coach Brett Brown has made no secret of his desire for his team to keep the pace hot and the shots flying from the Sixers, and through the first five weeks of the season, the team has backed it up.
 
“I feel like to take our roster and find ways to score easiest, it’s going to be with speed and it’s going to be in open court,” Brown said last week.
 
How quick are the Sixers?
 
Headed into Sunday’s game, the Sixers took 46 percent of their shots in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock. Only five other teams take at least 40 percent of their shots within 10 seconds of a possession, but no team approaches the Sixers’ quickness.
 
But it’s not like the Sixers are just chucking up shots within 10 seconds. The team is sixth in the NBA for fewest jump shots taken with just 66 percent of the shots coming from the outside.
 
That leads us to the big riddle …
 
With so few jump shots and the most possessions per game in the NBA, how come the Sixers average just 103 points per game — just the ninth-highest figure in the league?
 
Easy. The Sixers are second in the NBA with 321 turnovers and have more than seven shots per game blocked by the opposition. That comes to nearly 25 possessions per game that the Sixers don’t even get the ball to the rim. That’s a lot of points to throw away.
 
Of course there is another stat where the Sixers lead the league. It’s the youngest average age, which means the team has a lot to learn. If the Sixers can continue their league-leading pace with improved efficiency, they will be difficult to stop.
 
Young gun
The Sixers lost three straight games before Thad Young took leave from the team to tend to a death in his family. Since Young's return, the Sixers have dropped three more after falling to Detroit, 115-100, on Sunday.
 
But the losses can’t really be pinned on Young.
 
In the three games since his return, Young has scored 65 points on 24 for 47 shooting (51 percent) with six three-pointers and 25 rebounds. All of those totals lead the team during that span.
 
Young is averaging a career-best 15.8 points per game with 6.9 boards.
 
The week ahead
If the Sixers are going to get a winning streak going, the schedule lines up nicely this week.
 
Tuesday, the Sixers host Orlando (6-10) followed by a trip to Charlotte (8-9) on Friday night. The week concludes on Saturday against Denver (10-6) as both teams play the second game of back-to-backs.
 
The Sixers are 1-3 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
 
There will be a few familiar faces on the court at the Wells Fargo Center this week, too. Orlando arrives with former Sixers first-round picks Nik Vucevic and Maurice Harkless, as well as Chester, Pa. native and St. Joe’s alum Jameer Nelson.
 
One has to wonder how much longer Nelson will return to Philly with Orlando. With a rebuilding effort in full swing with the Magic and several teams looking for a veteran point guard, Nelson has reportedly been part of many trade talks. According to one report from ESPN, the Magic will eventually move Nelson for a first-round pick.
 
Considering that Derrick Rose is finished for the season, Nelson would be a perfect fit for Chicago’s offense.
 
Meanwhile, Denver returns with former Sixer Andre Miller and Villanova’s Randy Foye.