Things They Should Do: The700Level's Recommendations to the New Sixers Ownership

Things They Should Do: The700Level's Recommendations to the New Sixers Ownership

It's been one week since the Philadelphia 76ers' new ownership group addressed the Philadelphia media and fans to outline their hopes and goals as the heads of Sixers basketball.

Josh Harris & Co. even encouraged the public to log on to Sixers.com to make helpful suggestions about what they would like to see moving forward. The best 1,776 comments, recommendations and outbursts will apparently receive free tickets whenever the NBA decides to resume play.

Intrigued by the promotion and taking a page out of the McSweeney's "Things 'They' Should Do" playbook, we decided to list our own suggestions for the team. The open question posed to The700Level staff: "What would you change, or not change, about the Sixers?"

The responses vary from serious to semi-serious to Enrico's idea for Sir Charles Barkley's Taco Stand. Enjoy.

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Rev: Off-court

Josh Harris and Adam Aron repeatedly mentioned how they plan to transform the game-day experience. My advice? Know your audience. Philadelphians respect real (see: Iverson, Allen).
 
At this point it's cliché to hate that ridiculous rabbit mascot. In my mind, the anger towards Hip-Hop is symptomatic of the larger frustration with "the show" at Sixers games.
 
Stop with the crowd noise meters. Stop with the music being played during possessions. Stop with the Hare Raisers.

I understand there’s a time and a place for entertainment (namely, during stoppages in play and between quarters). I don’t understand creating an environment where the product on the floor is secondary to the show off of it.
 
Put a winning product on the floor and the fans will come. Play smart, unselfish, team basketball and the fans will come. Your customers know a winning product. Masking your deficiencies with a sideshow only further infuriates them.
 
I am not advocating a sterile game-day atmosphere. I just want it to be about the basketball.
 
On-court
Let this team breathe a bit. They have a lot of quality young talent. Let them play together. Don’t grasp for a quick fix. They had a good thing going towards the end of last season. They are a young, well-coached team on the rise.
 
By and large, winning NBA teams have consistency. They develop a core, they learn to play together, and the front office makes complementary tweaks. Granted, unlike the Lakers, Bulls, and Spurs juggernauts of the past this team does not have an All-NBA first team player, so throw that model out of the window.
 
The team I’d use as a reference point for this Sixers squad is the Pistons team from the early 2000’s featuring Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace, and Rasheed Wallace.
 
They won by playing defense (they allowed a league low 84.3 points-per-game in their ’03-’04 championship season). They played team basketball, everyone knew their role, and they spread teams out and beat them. From 2002-03 to 2007-08 they advanced to the Conference Finals four times, and the NBA Finals twice.
 
It’s about consistency, chemistry, and talent. I don’t envision an All-NBA first team player finding his way to Philly any time soon. With that in mind, let this young talented group play together as a team. Find out what you’ve got. Let them breathe.

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Enrico: Sir Charles Taco Stands

Similar to Bull's BBQ over at Citizens Bank Park, Sir Charles Taco Stand can feature the delicious offerings from Taco Bell such as the Five Buck Box, Chalupas, Gorditas, etc. But you'll also get the chance to shake hands with Charles Barkley himself as you do with the Bull at CBP.

Now, in theory Chuck would be selling his own homemade hot sauce or something, but we just don't see Barkley doing that. So maybe they can have a festival game of sorts. Instead of a dunk tank, Charles tries to throw you through a fake bar window or something.

Oh, and more car flags. They should sell more car flags.

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Nick: Back to the Future

Harris & Co. understandably want to make a fresh start with this unfortunately languishing franchise, but that doesn't mean they have to ignore the past entirely. Indeed, they might be best served by drawing on the rich history of this once-proud franchise to reinvigorate the passion of the old fans and quickly introduce the new ones to generations of Sixers basketball. While I'm largely in agreement with Rev's sentiments above and Kulp's below, there's no reason not to have some fun along the way. Thus, I'm calling for the institution of a 2-part "Back to the Future" plan.

1) Clap your hands, stomp your feet and immediately return to the use of the team's 1970's warm-up song, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Sixers." The blaring orchestral music and chanting choruses of pieces like "O Fortuna!" and its imitators have become so over-exposed in modern athletics that the Sixers should chart a new—or, in this case, old—course.

The answer (besides re-signing The Answer—wait, didn't we try that?) is to come up with something uniquely Philadelphia (and something that, for a change, has nothing to do with Rocky or a cheesesteak).

Listen to the song. You can't help but like it. I've never had anyone tell me they've disliked it when I've played it for them; and, believe me, I've played this song in some pretty random places at some pretty random times. The fact is, it's a hit. Dave Zinkoff may be gone, but this jam can have a meaningful second-life.

2) Track down the son of the guy with the absurd beard (real name: Steven Solms) who used to sit in the front row in the 1980s, assuming the son can produce an equal or greater amount of facial hair. Though the elder Solms is no longer with us, we would like his memory and passion for the Sixers to live on. As such, the younger Solms' responsibilities would include sitting in Ed Snider's old court-side seat and evidencing the constant expression that he cannot believe what he just saw. You can get a look at his father's past brilliance between the six and ten-second marks of the video below.

You know what? Let's find a reason to use that music, too.

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Kulp: Doesn't Matter

Not to diminish the grievances or suggestions of my colleagues, but I don't put much stock into bells and whistles. No matter what attractions are added to the show, people are going to either love it or hate it, but the one constant is they will go to the game as long as it is
affordable and/or the team is good.

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And there you have it, Mr. Harris. To borrow from Andrew Kulp/Adrian Balboa, "Win, Just Win!" You can send a pack of tickets our way as a thank you at any time.

What about you guys? What are your best ideas to reinvigorate the Sixers?

Mackanin benches Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders as Howie Kendrick ramps up rehab

Mackanin benches Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders as Howie Kendrick ramps up rehab

Having seen his team's offense produce just six hits and one run in the previous two games, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin benched Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders on Tuesday night.

The benchings could last more than one game.

"I'm not going to tip my hand because I don't know what my hand is yet," Mackanin said. "I feel like I have to do something to get some offense in the lineup and there comes a point in time where I’m trying different things.

“At this level you’ve got to produce. You want to play, you’ve got to hit and they have to understand that. Nobody is here on scholarship."

Franco and Saunders opened the season hitting fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Phillies' batting order.

Entering play Tuesday, Franco was hitting just .221 with a .281 on-base percentage and a .377 slugging percentage.

Saunders was hitting .227 with a .273 on-base percentage and a .383 slugging percentage.

Franco was leading the team with 28 RBIs and tied for second with six homers, but his inconsistency and inability to harness his free-swinging approach was wearing on Mackanin. Franco swung wildly at breaking balls on Monday night and struck out twice. The 24-year-old third baseman has worked hard on developing a more disciplined approach with hitting coach Matt Stairs, but has been unable to consistently incorporate those adjustments into his game.

Mackanin said he was surprised by Franco's consistent struggles. He hoped the benching would take some pressure off the player.

"Befuddled is a good word," Mackanin said. "As much as he works in the cage and on the field in batting practice and does it right, when he gets in the game his head is still flying and his bat is coming out of the zone.

"You’ve heard me say this many times: Hitting is like riding a bike. I can’t teach you to keep your head in there. I can tell you to do it, but you have to do it on your own and he’s got to figure it out. Guys have to figure it out. They have to figure out how to get the job done. Whether it’s cut down on your swing, choke up, use a different bat, use a different stance, do something different. If you make outs the same way over and over, it’s not going to change."

Andres Blanco started at third base in place of Franco and Ty Kelly was in the lineup in left field with Aaron Altherr moving into Saunders' spot in right.

Quite notable was that on the same day that Franco and Saunders went to the bench, Howie Kendrick ramped up his rehab from an abdominal strain. He took batting practice outdoors for the first time since the April 15 injury. He could be ready for a minor-league rehab assignment later this week and be ready to play in the majors next week. Kendrick can play both corner outfield spots and both corner infield spots, so he could push Franco and Saunders for work if he hits and they continue to struggle.

Lifeless Phillies should call up red-hot Roman Quinn ... why not?

Lifeless Phillies should call up red-hot Roman Quinn ... why not?

The Phillies are a lifeless team right now.

For a while the starting pitching was the biggest issue, then it was the bullpen, now it's the offense. The Phils have hit .224 since May 12, which was when their 2-7 road trip began. 

Their .268 on-base percentage over that span is worst in the majors and their .613 OPS is better than only the Mariners.

Players up and down the lineup are slumping. Odubel Herrera has hit .207 with a .246 OBP since the ninth game of the season. Michael Saunders hasn't given them much at any point. Maikel Franco had an eight-game hit streak snapped Monday, but even still is hitting .221 with a .281 on-base percentage. 

At this point, why not bring up Roman Quinn and play him every day? It makes too much sense right now.

Daniel Nava went on the 10-day DL Monday with a hamstring strain suffered Friday in Pittsburgh. It doesn't seem to be a serious injury, but why not use the open space as an excuse to bring Quinn up for at least a few days and see what he's got?

Quinn could infuse some energy and life to the top of a sputtering lineup. Bat him second, play him in the corner outfield and see what happens. At the very least, he'd be a defensive upgrade over Saunders. At the most, Quinn's hunger to stick in the majors could result in a hot streak that sparks the top of the order the way Herrera does when he's hot.

Quinn is hitting lately at Triple A, batting .333 with a .424 OBP over his last 15 games. He showed last September that he can be an offensive catalyst with his ability to beat out infield singles, bunt for hits and spray the ball. Yes, he strikes out too much for a leadoff-type hitter, but it's just hard to see the downside of a call-up right now.

The argument against bringing Quinn up now is that it's too early to sour on Saunders, a player the Phillies signed in hopes of trading at some point. But think about how much Saunders would have to do to have worthwhile trade value. Yeah, you could flip him somewhere for a negligible return or some salary relief, but he'd have to be extremely productive for at least a month to get a team interested in trading a minor-leaguer of any value for him.

Pete Mackanin has tried many things to spark the Phils' lineup, moving Herrera and Franco down, sitting guys, challenging guys. The best solution, perhaps the only solution right now, might be a move made over his head to promote the Phils' speedy, switch-hitting outfielder who has a future with them so long as he stays on the field, which he has this season.

As for Rhys Hoskins and Jorge Alfaro, who have also hit very well at Triple A, they just happen to play the same positions as Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp, who have been the Phillies' most reliable bats the last few weeks.