76ers

Some ideas for Philly sporting events played without fans

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USA Today

Some ideas for Philly sporting events played without fans

A potential coronavirus pandemic is no laughing matter. Please listen to the CDC and all appropriate authorities on how to keep safe.

That said, the idea of professional sports being played in empty arenas isn’t just in theory any longer. The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the Italian government has “ordered all sporting events to take place without fans” for the next month due to the coronavirus outbreak there.

It’s worth considering what such a scenario could look like here in Philadelphia, a place where our sports teams and venues are known for their extremely passionate fans.

You'll still be able to watch Sixers and Flyers games on NBC Sports Philadelphia, but a completely empty arena or stadium seems a bit bland, so here are a few ideas to make things a little more interesting.

One Surrogate Fan

Have him/her sign a waiver. Could be picked by winning a contest or something.

While the prospect of a basketball game being played with only the sounds of the ball hitting the hardwood with sneakers squeaking is interesting in theory, it isn’t very exciting over the course of an entire game let alone multiple games. Why not have one lone fan act as the surrogate for the entire fanbase? He can boo or cheer as he/she sees fit and can even incorporate social media to get the fanbase at large involved. If Al Horford has the ball taken from him, have Surrogate Fan read/scream a tweet about it from @FakeWIPCaller or @SixersAdam. It's like "mean tweets" but in real time.

Loud Speakers Controlled by Social Media / Poll

At the very least, you could have a giant set of speakers set up in the arena controlled by a voice-your-choice type polling. The only options here are 1.) silence 2.) cheering 3.) booing. Somehow, everybody at home has some sort of video-game “health meter” where if you boo or cheer for too long, you need time to recover before making noise again. The more people vote one way, the louder it gets. Drink a beer, get more health (the technology for that may have some kinks that need to be worked out still).

Live Webcam in Your Home Incorporated Into Telecast Somehow

This would need a serious tape-delay for obvious reasons, but it could be fun to see a shot of Anthony from Fishtown jumping out of his chair for a brief second after Joel Embiid posterized a guy.

I don't know, we haven't ironed out all the kinks just yet.

Would any of these ideas ever happen? Probably not, but it’s fun to think about. If none of these get implemented (they won't), can we at least get Gritty and the Phanatic at every game for their reactions?

Ever wonder why Allen Iverson is called 'The Answer'?

Ever wonder why Allen Iverson is called 'The Answer'?

Some might have called him “Bubba Chuck.” Others simply “A.I.”

But the nickname that stands out above all others when talking about Allen Iverson is “The Answer.”

Ever wonder how Iverson got the nickname? The origins are still a bit unclear.

We all know Iverson for his signature cornrows and tattoos, but when Iverson arrived in Philadelphia, he had one tattoo: A bulldog with “The Answer” written above it. Iverson’s original sneaker with Reebok was called “The Question.” Each subsequent sneaker was called “The Answer.”

In 2003, Iverson was actually sued over the use of the nickname by Jamil Blackmon, a family friend from Virginia. Blackmon claimed that he gave Iverson the nickname in 1994 and the two had reached an agreement on Blackmon’s pay out for any money the nickname netted Iverson.

Putting together the pieces, the answer may be as simple as Iverson being “The Answer” to the Sixers’ and NBA’s problems.

For more on Iverson’s nickname and why play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff never called him it, check out the video above.

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2020 NBA mock draft: Trading up for Kira Lewis Jr. in this Sixers-only mock draft

2020 NBA mock draft: Trading up for Kira Lewis Jr. in this Sixers-only mock draft

It looks like we’ll be waiting a while for the NBA draft, which was originally scheduled for June 25. The New York Times' Marc Stein reported that some teams now expect the draft to be held in September. For the time being, we’ll continue to consider possibilities for the Sixers, who would have picks No. 22, 34, 36, 49 and 59.

In this Sixers-only mock draft, the team moves up in the first round to take a point guard and selects a combo guard early in the second. 

16. TRADE — Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama 

We have the Sixers trading No. 22 and 34 to the Timberwolves for No. 16. With Lewis, it feels obligatory to list his sophomore averages: 18.5 points, 5.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals. Those per game stats are slightly inflated because he played 37.6 minutes a night, but they’re impressive nonetheless.

The Sixers might think about Lewis as a trade-up option primarily because of his ability as a shot creator. While he sometimes played a loose style at Alabama, turning it over 3.5 times per contest last season, he has a natural talent for sizing up a defender and blowing past him. He is extremely fast, which makes him a threat in the open court and also means he doesn’t need to gain a tremendous edge on his man with a dribble move to beat him — a sliver of space is often enough. 

When he gets into the paint, however, Lewis isn’t the most reliable finisher. At 6-foot-3, 165 pounds, his size makes life more difficult for him around the rim. His weight is likely a larger concern defensively, although Lewis is capable of working over ball screens — something he’d be asked to do often in the Sixers’ scheme — and his speed is an asset when he’s trailing the play or jolting into a passing lane.

Lewis’ shooting numbers are positive, too — 36.6 percent from three-point range and 80.2 percent from the foul line — though he has a low release point he might have to tweak for the NBA. He just turned 19 years old in April and will need to add muscle, but with Lewis’ college production, it’s not as if the Sixers would be banking purely on potential.

36. (via New York) — Jared Butler, G, Baylor 

Butler’s game matches the Sixers’ needs well. He’s an advanced ball handler, full of behind-the-back, between-the-legs and spin moves, and confident in the pick-and-roll. While he’d be undersized for an NBA shooting guard at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Butler is dangerous both on and off the ball. He hit 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts this season on 6.7 attempts per game. 

In the NBA, it’ll be interesting to see if Butler is able to guard multiple positions effectively. He has a sturdy build, is a good lateral mover and had 2.2 steals per 40 minutes for a Baylor team that finished 26-4, all of which is encouraging. 

TRADE — No. 49 for Memphis’ 2021-second round pick and cash considerations 

The Sixers have been very willing to sell second-round picks in recent years, and with the team projected to be in the luxury tax, it would not be remotely shocking if they did it again. In this deal, they’re at least getting back a future pick in addition to the cash. 

59. (via Lakers) — Killian Tillie, C, Gonzaga 

Tillie endured a slew of injuries at Gonzaga, which is one reason he might be available this late in the draft. The 6-foot-10 Frenchman has a lot of skill for his size and shot 44.4 percent from three-point range in college. He has real stretch four/stretch five potential in the NBA, especially with his ability as a passer. 

For the Sixers, his diverse skill set would have to be intriguing here. They don’t have any young backup big men on the roster, and Tillie has the tools to be a productive rotation player — if he stays healthy. That caveat would be worth accepting with the 59th pick. 

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Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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