76ers

If you want to learn Sixers' language, just study the '76ionary'

If you want to learn Sixers' language, just study the '76ionary'

Al Horford, a 33-year-old with five All-Star appearances and 786 games of NBA experience, has already said twice that he “feels like a rookie” adjusting to the Sixers’ terminology and concepts. Horford isn’t the only Sixer with a lot to learn — Brett Brown’s unique language is all new to Josh Richardson, Kyle O’Quinn, rookie Matisse Thybulle and a handful of other Sixers.

Brown explained after the Sixers’ practice Monday how the team aims for its terminology to become part of players’ vernacular.

We actually have a book. We call it — and it's not my idea, although I loved it — we called it the 76ionary. Clever? We think so. Our assistant video guy came up with that —  I thought it was clever. 

“You come in, and you've heard me say this, 'What's the Malone line? We're going to Nash this and Varejao that and Payton this,' and again, just go on and on and on, and it's quite extensive. And so we have a formalized book. We help new people — Al Horford or Matisse, doesn't matter the age, just to get that established as quickly as we can, the language.

If you’re around Brown and his coaching staff enough, you eventually pick up on some of his distinct terms. Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report detailed many last year. For instance, “Nash-ing” is when a player circles with his dribble around the baseline, and a call to “Payton the post” is an instruction to send a double team down low.

Much of the Sixers’ terminology is common across the league and not especially exotic.

“For the most part, the NBA is pretty solid in what they want to do,” O’Quinn said. “It’s all about gelling with the guys. I think the quicker you do that, I think the quicker the team goes in the right direction."

But Brown and the Sixers will throw around plenty of terms that likely aren’t present in other NBA facilities. 

A “sprintaway screen" is a wide pindown, which Ben Simmons sets for JJ Redick on the play below.

“Get” is when the Sixers’ “A to B” offense begins with the point guard, “A,” giving the ball to the trailing big man, “B,” and then getting it back — pretty intuitive. 

A "gut cut" is a purposeful sprint down the heart of the floor, a T.J. McConnell speciality during his time with the team.

The “Flip and follow” is when a player tosses the ball to a teammate and then continues in the direction of his pass, as Mike Muscala does here.

The “D-Wade diagonal” is the spot around the opposite elbow where the Sixers aim to have a player stationed on a baseline drive, named after future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade.

“Explosion” is the team’s spontaneous, unpredictable cutting off a player in the post.

A “corral blitz” is a more conservative version of a full-on blitz of the pick-and-roll. The goal is to level off the ball handler — essentially the Sixers' coverage below if Simmons had also followed Redick's hedge-and-recover approach.

It’s a lot of names and information to take in — the terms listed above are just a small sampling — and Richardson was reticent to speak on the subject.

“I can’t give you the details, because it’s the 76ionary,” he said. “It’s just our terminology that we use, and he’s been teaching us new things, watching film every day. It’s just referring to all the new words that the new guys are learning.”

How many pages are in the 76ionary? 

“I can’t tell you that,” Richardson said.

Simmons, though, was willing to divulge.

“It’s 438,” he said.

Richardson acted as if he was stunned.

“He told you that! OK, there it is — 438,” he said. “I thought it was a secret.” 

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.

More on the Sixers

2020 NBA return plan: Adam Silver says NBA is in '1st inning,' explains COVID-19 precautions

2020 NBA return plan: Adam Silver says NBA is in '1st inning,' explains COVID-19 precautions

In an appearance Thursday night on "The NBA on TNT," commissioner Adam Silver emphasized that the NBA still has several important concerns it must address before resuming the 2019-20 season.

While the NBA’s Board of Governors approved a 22-team plan to finish the season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, beginning on July 31, Silver framed that vote as the first of many steps.

“It’s been a very difficult process,” he said. “And I should say, to mix sporting metaphors, we’ve got a long way to go here. We’re really in the equivalent of the first inning.” 

Silver explained why the NBA felt comfortable proposing a plan now after first suspending the season on March 11, when Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Of course we’ve always been looking for whether or not there is an appropriate and safe way that we can resume basketball,” Silver said, “and knowing that we’re going to be living with this virus for a while. … We’ve been exploring with the players whether there can be a new normal here.”

He singled out Hornets chairman Michael Jordan as an advocate for maintaining as typical a conclusion to the season as possible. The 22-team plan includes eight “seeding games” and the possibility of a play-in tournament if the eighth and ninth seeds finish within four games of each other. The postseason, however, would follow a traditional format, with 16 teams and four best-of-seven series to determine a champion.

Jordan “felt it was very important, after we established the 16 teams, to not be gimmicky,” Silver said. 

What’s next for the NBA? First, the league must secure approval from the National Basketball Players Association. The NBPA is set to meet Friday, according to The New York Times’ Marc Stein, and it sounds like the Players Association may have reservations about certain aspects of the league’s plan. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski she was “surprised” to see a tentative date of Nov. 10 to start training camps for the 2020-21 season. Oct. 12 would be the last possible date for Game 7 of this year’s NBA Finals under the owners-approved plan.

“We’ve had extensive discussions with the Players Association,” Silver said, “but we haven’t finished those negotiations.”

Silver outlined some of the precautions the league might enact to minimize coronavirus-related risk, but he acknowledged there are still unanswered questions. He said players would need to maintain physical distancing protocols, even when away from the court. There may also be more stringent safety measures for older coaches and personnel more susceptible to COVID-19. 

“Obviously the most significant changes from when we shut down are we’re playing without fans, we’re playing in a central location, we’re playing on a campus where the players are going to remain there throughout the competition,” he said. “The players are going to be tested … most likely daily.”

“… Certain coaches may not have to be the bench coach. They may have to maintain social distancing protocols … but when it comes to actual play, we may not want them that close to players, in order to protect (the coaches). Those are all issues we’re working through.”

If the NBA does ultimately travel to Disney World, what are the contingencies if players, coaches or other team staffers test positive for the coronavirus? When asked specifically by Charles Barkley if a positive test in the playoffs would force a team to withdraw, Silver said, “we don’t believe we would need to.”

He said the league’s current belief, based on discussions with NBA health consultants and public health officials in Florida, is that it would be possible to contain a player, trace his contacts and allow a team to proceed because of daily testing. 

That’s one question of many Silver seems aware he’ll need a satisfactory response for if the NBA is indeed going to proceed with this season under very unusual circumstances. 

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube



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.

More on the Sixers

Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant randomly bought a minority stake in the Philadelphia Union

usa-060420-kevin-durant-philadelphia-union.jpg
USA Today Sports Images/MLS.com

Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant randomly bought a minority stake in the Philadelphia Union

Strange but true: Kevin Durant now owns (part of) the Philadelphia Union.

The NBA megastar reportedly purchased a minority stake in Philly's pro soccer team this week, according to the Sports Business Journal, worth somewhere between 1% and 5%.

Whether Durant purchased the stake himself, or through his Thirty Five Ventures umbrella company, is unclear, according to the SBJ.

Durant was seen meeting with Union ownership this past December, raising eyebrows after the Maryland native tried on more than one occassion to buy a stake in the MLS's D.C. United, according to the SBJ.

I'll say it: Durant buying a stake in the Union feels ... super random? 

Trying to buy a stake in D.C. United makes plenty of sense for Durant. He's very proud of his DMV upbringing, so latching on to the local soccer team, in a league that still has plenty of room to grow, is a smart business move with explainable roots.

But Durant opting for the Union, after being turned down by United, is just odd. (Of course, he's no stranger to opting for an easier path.)

Durant joins former teammate and Houston Rockets guard James Harden among the MLS's notable NBA athlete minority owners. Harden holds a minority stake in the league's Houston Dynamo, along with the NWSL's Houston Dash. 

I wonder if we'll see Durant hanging around Chester real casual, before heading over to the newly-named Subaru Park.

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: 
Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

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.

More on the Sixers