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?

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane scored three goals for his third career hat trick to lead the surging Chicago Blackhawks past the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Thursday night for their third straight win and eighth in nine games.

Kane has 23 goals to lead Chicago, which closed within three points behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Rookies Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and assist. Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season in his first game since Jan. 15.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews added two assists to extend his points scoring streak to five games and increase his output to 22 points in his past 13.

Jakob Chychrun, Ryan White and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes. Chychrun and Vrbata each scored for the second straight game (see full recap).

Rangers outlast Maple Leafs in shootout
TORONTO -- Mika Zibanejad scored the shootout winner and the New York Rangers continued a strong February with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves and J.T. Miller scored the game-tying goal in the third period for the Rangers, who improved to 8-1-1 this month.

New York moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points.

Connor Brown scored for Toronto, which fell to 1-7 in shootouts this season. Frederik Andersen had a stellar performance in defeat with 37 saves.

The Leafs hold the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division (68 points), two points back of Ottawa (70) and four back of Montreal (see full recap).

Islanders shut out Canadiens
MONTREAL -- Rookie Anthony Beauvillier scored in the first period, Thomas Greiss made 24 saves, and the New York Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 Thursday night.

Anders Lee scored in the second period and John Tavares added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the Islanders' third straight win. New York has won the first two games on a crucial nine-game road swing and improved to 12-4-2 since interim coach Doug Weight replaced the fired Jack Capuano.

Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each had two assists, and Greiss got his third shutout of the season.

Carey Price finished with 21 saves as the Canadiens lost coach Claude Julien's 1,000th NHL game. Montreal is 1-2-0 since Julien replaced Michel Therrien last week and has totaled just 14 goals while going 2-7-1 in the last 10 games, including four shutouts (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

NEW ORLEANS -- The Boogie-and-Brow era in New Orleans is off to a highly inauspicious start.

The Pelicans' tandem of newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis was no match for the surging Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Reserve Lou Williams hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in his Rockets debut, and Houston crushed New Orleans, 129-99.

Davis had 29 points, and Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds. But New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times couldn't keep pace with the firepower of the Rockets, who hit 20 3-pointers.

Eric Gordon scored 19 points and Ryan Anderson added 17 in both players' first game in New Orleans since leaving the Pelicans. James Harden had 13 points and 14 assists (see full recap).

LeBron triple-double powers Cavs past Knicks
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James recorded his 48th career triple-double and Kyrie Irving scored 23 points, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 119-104 victory over the New York Knicks, who hung on to superstar Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose at Thursday's trade deadline.

James scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds with 15 assists for his sixth triple-double of the season.

Anthony, the subject of trade rumors because of a strained relationship with Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson, scored 20 points, going 9 of 25 from the field.

Kyle Korver scored 20 points for Cleveland, which is 8-1 in February and has beaten New York 10 straight times.

Courtney Lee had 25 points for New York, which has lost six of seven and is 12th in the Eastern Conference playoff race (see full recap).

Pistons rally from 18 down to beat Hornets in OT
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 33 points, including three 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter during a pulsating Detroit rally, and the Pistons outlasted the Charlotte Hornets 114-108 in overtime Thursday night.

Caldwell-Pope scored Detroit's last 11 points of regulation, and his 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds to play tied the game at 100. Kemba Walker scored Charlotte's final nine points of the fourth, but the Pistons forced him to give up the ball on the last possession, and Marco Belinelli missed a 3-pointer that could have won it.

Detroit, which was behind by 18 in the third quarter, never trailed in the overtime. Caldwell-Pope's 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining put the Pistons up 110-102.

Charlotte led 85-70 at the start of the fourth but missed 14 of its first 15 shots in the period, enabling Detroit to cut into the lead.

Walker scored 34 points. Tobias Harris had 25 for the Pistons (see full recap).