Time to Step Up
When the Sixers square off against the 3-7 Toronto Raptors, it’ll be a matchup of two teams missing their best player. We don't need to get into the Sixers' issues, but you may not even realize that Kyle Lowry was playing some serious ball before spraining an ankle. He had a ridiculous 70.3 true shooting percentage (a metric that takes into account twos, threes and free throws) and an offensive rating (point produced per 100 possessions) of 131. In his stead, Jose Calderon has more than held his own stepping back into a starting role. He's currently in an odd 50-40-90 club. He's hitting 90 percent of his free throws, but he's knocking down exactly half of his threes while shooting 44 percent overall.
Despite neutralizing Kyrie Irving over the weekend, the Sixers have allowed some impressive performances by point guards so far this year. Rajon Rondo recorded a ridiculous 76.3 assist percentage and an offensive rating of 113 for a 14 point, 20 assist line. Brandon Jennings went off for 33 points and eight assists with a 71.1 true shooting percentage. Even guys like Brandon Knight and Raymond Felton have put up solid lines against Philly. While Calderon isn't quite on the level Rondo, Jennings, or Irving, he did just record his first career triple double and can pick a team apart with either his shooting or passing.
Bombs over Broad Street
The Sixers stocked up their roster with a few noted marksmen in the offseason - Jason Richardson, Dorrell Wright and Nick Young - in preparing to unleash an inside-out attack. While the inside part has been missing, there’s been little excuse for how badly some of those additions have struggled from the outside. While the team’s three-point percentage is buoyed by both Richardson and Jrue Holiday’s accuracy, Young and Wright are both shooting below their career averages.
Luckily for them, they've got a slump-buster coming on Tuesday - the Raptors are allowing opponents to hit a whopping 40.4 percent of their threes. Over a third of Young's shots come from deep, while an astounding 59.4 percent of Wright's field goal attempts are threes. The Sixers are going to need their outside shooting to pick up while they wait for their biggest piece to get onto the court, and the Raptors are as good an opponent as any to get it going against.