Take a Look Inside the Philadelphia 76ers’ Locker Room

According to the 76ers’ PR people the Sixers are the only NBA team that allows fans in their locker room. I don’t know if that is true or just PR propaganda to shed a positive and unique light on the team; either way it is pretty cool they let fans in there.

As you already know, Saturday I was at the San Antonio game. I went with my gf who got tickets through her college’s (Franklin & Marshall) Philadelphia alumni chapter. (The Sixers’ VP of Sales is an F&M alum.) They raffled off a chance to walk through the 76er locker room during the game. And with my luck, we won (16 in 120 chance). There was a downside though. The tour was during the entire 3rd quarter! Well, the die-hard fan that I am I decided I couldn’t miss an entire quarter so my gf went instead. Below are the great pictures she got during the tour. Enjoy.

NOTE: I had a picture of the 76ers’ whiteboard before the San Antonio Spurs victory on here when I first posted this article. After some thought and being contacted by the Sixers organization I decided to take it down. Why? As loyal fans of the Sixers we can’t have the team’s plays and strategies posted on the Internet for opponents to figure out how we are kicking their @$$es, now can we? Let’s go Sixers!

Andre Miller's Lockers
Above: Andre Miller’s two lockers. Count ’em, he has 30 boxes of sneakers.
Sixers' workout room
Above: Sixers’ workout room
Sixers' pre-game workout
Above: Sixers’ pre-game workout
Sixers Lockers
Above: Louis Williams – sportin’ the pink button-up (left), Thaddeus Young (middle), Willie Green (right)
Sixers Lockers
Above: Andre Iguodala (left), Louis Williams (middle), Thaddeus Young (right)
Center of the Sixers Locker Room
Above: This is the center of the 76ers’ locker room. The lockers shown above are located to the right.
Wilt Chamberlainimage and John Wooden Quote in Sixers Locker room
Above: Is the hallway outside the showers. The entire locker room and hallways are covered with similar images and quotes.
Charles Barkley image in the Sixers locker room
Above: This is part of a huge image of Charles Barkley in the locker room with a very famous quote all Philadelphia 76er fans should be familar with.
Charles Barkley Quote in the Sixers Locker room
Above: Continuation from the Barkley image above. This is one of his most famous quotes. Gotta love that the image is the Round Mound dunking against the hated Boston Celtics.
Maurice Cheeks office in the Sixers locker room
Above: Maurice Cheeks’s office in the locker room with the assistant coaches’ area in that back room. Is it just me or is this pretty low budget?
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Sixers All-Star Weekend – Or Lack Thereof

Allen Iverson 2005 NBA All-Star MVPForgive me while I show my true “homerism” and rant about my disappointment/anger regarding Philadelphia’s non-existent representation in the 2008 All-Star festivities.

Rookie/Sophomore Challenge

Why the hell was Thaddeus Young not on the All-Star rookie team?!? Can you say BULLSHIT.  If you need a refresher on why he should have been playing Friday night check this out.  Who would I replace for Young?  Jeff Green.  He has been nothing short of mediocre considering he plays 24.5 minutes per game and takes almost 8 shots a night.  On a p/40min basis he doesn’t stack up and shoots a rookie All-Star worthy 44% from the field.  Add the fact that Seattle sucks and his selection makes less sense.

When you also consider the potential entertainment value for the fans of having a high flying, super athletic Thaddeus Young in the game it should have been a no brainer to have him representing the Sixers.  It’s one thing to be Tim Duncan and have a boring, yet dominant game. It’s a completely different story when your game is just as boring and your name is Jeff Green.  Matter of fact, did he even play in the game?  I think John Hollinger sums it up best in his post-game grade of Green (D-) “Plenty of time (34 min.) to prove unworthiness.”  Enough said.

Skills Competition

For a competition that rewards speed I think we all agree the first Sixers player that comes to mind is Lou Williams.  His athletic ability fits perfect for this event.  Blazing fast with and without the ball, ability to stop on a dime and quickly change direction. 

You put Lou in the competition this season vs. the current contestants – Jason Kidd (former winner), Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and two-time defending champion Dwyane Wade and I’d argue he’d give these guys a run for their money.  Wade is all beat to crap now, Kidd is aging (albeit still quick), Paul has failed to win the past two years, and Deron Williams I think is the least quick of the bunch.

Passing ability you say?  If Wade can win being the weakest passer in groups composed of Nash, LeBron, Kobe and Paul I wouldn’t worry about Louis Williams’ passing skills for this event.

Slam Dunk Contest

This section is best served with videos.

Rodney Carney

I don’t know about all of you but I am an animated basketball watcher.  When this dunk happened I was screaming.  Posterizing like this is always better when it’s a high profile player getting banged on.  D. Wade can you say FACE!

Andre Iguodala

We can all agree he got completely shafted at the 2006 dunk contest, right?

Three-Point Shootout

Ummmmm……………Willie Green?  OK ok moving on.

2008 NBA All-Star Game

We have no iconic superstar that would get voted in by the fans.  (Sad)  More importantly, not having a stud big man on the Sixers makes getting a current player selected by the coaches even tougher in the East.  I think the PF and even more so the center position is the weakest in terms of depth in the Eastern Conference. 

So right now our best hope is Iggy to get in over players like Joe Johnson or Rip Hamilton.  The #1 thing he can improve individually to make it next season?  Shooting percentage (44.7% this season and last).  Since his shots per game increased over 10 he hasn’t shot as well from the field.  Why? 3.6 three-pointer taken per game and this has increased each of his 4 seasons.  That’s fine, but he isn’t hitting the magic number – 33%.  Add some more Sixers wins next season and I don’t see how Andre doesn’t make it with marginal improvement.

Here’s a good article from Philly.com about Andre Iguodala and the All-Star game by Phil Jasner.

Even without any Sixers representation I am still excited about Dwight Howard in the dunk contest tonight and the All-Star game on Sunday, although not as much because of all the injuries.  How bout you?

Thaddeus Young: The Sixers Overlooked Rookie Standout

Thaddeus YoungAt 19-years-old Thaddeus Young is proving to be a true diamond in the rough for the Sixers.  Going into the season most people thought Thaddeus was two or three years away from really contributing.  No one really anticipated he would make much of an impact right away for Coach Mo.  Except Young of course.

As the 12th pick in the 2007 NBA draft with tremendous upside, there were still a few questions marks about Young:

  • Raw – Having played only one college season his game was undeveloped.
  • Tweener – Is he a SF or PF?
  • Strength – At 6’8, 215ish coming out of college he needed to get bigger and stronger to handle the tough play inside and become a better rebounder.
  • Outside shooting – Considering how much he plays on the perimeter his shot needed to improve.

Those doubts just fueled Thaddeus Young’s desire to get better.  Young has quietly crept up among the top rookies this season.  This emergence was best noted by John Hollinger in his All-Sleeper Team: These guys deserve your attention article on ESPN insider:

Any time a teenager has a PER above the league average, we really ought to pay attention to it. Young has been way, way, WAY under the radar because he comes off the bench on a bad team, but the 19-year-old forward is having a noteworthy rookie season. The lefty can put the ball in the hoop (15.3 points per 40 minutes) and rebounds extremely well for a small forward [8.8 rebounds per 40 minutes] — so well, in fact, that he’s often used at the 4.

He still needs to figure out a lot of things, like how to draw fouls for instance — his rate of free throws is scandalously low for a player with his athleticism. Nonetheless, Young is one of the league’s most promising young players, [ranking first among rookies in PER], and he’s received virtually no attention so far.

It’s easy to overlook, but the Korver trade did more than just free up additional cap space this summer.  More importantly, moving Kyle made way for Thaddeus Young to get more minutes.  From Stefanski’s point of view this was probably to evaluate him in the context of the Sixers current and long-term personnel situation.

In 23 games since Korver’s been gone, Thaddeus Young has doubled nearly all of his numbers with the added playing time (while his TOs remain under 1/g):

Thaddeus Young

MPG

FG%

3P%

FT%

RPG

APG

SPG

BLK

TO

PPG

Before Korver Trade

10.6

48.8%

0.0%

60.0%

2.6

0.3

0.6

0.1

0.9

4.2

After Korver Trade

23.0

53.4%

33.3%

75.9%

4.8

0.9

0.8

0.2

0.9

8.5

When you combine Young’s rapid development, relentless hustle, smart play and athleticism, it’s clear the Sixers have an impact player in the making.  Although he is currently starting at the power forward, I think he is the small forward of the future for this team.  Here’s why…

  • At 6’8, 220 lbs Young is the prototypical size for an NBA small forward.  Add another 10-15 pounds of muscle to his athletic frame and guess what you have?  A body type very similar to Lebron James.  At that size he will be able to guard the 2 through 4 positions, become a much stronger rebounder and finisher after contact, as well as be more effective playing the PF on offense when the Sixers go small.
  • What does that mean for Andre Iguodala?  Options.  First and foremost sit Willie Green down, if not get rid of him entirely.  Move Iggy to the shooting guard spot and now you have a bigger guard to overcompensate for a smaller PG.  This makes the Sixers much better defensively overall but especially on the perimeter.  Better rebounding team as well.  Worst case scenario you have an up-and-coming replacement if Stefanski decides not to overpay for Andre Iguodala (more on this in a future post).
  • This would solidify the perimeter (as long as we “keep Andre Miller”) so Ed can work on what we really need which is a consistent scoring force inside.  Can you say Elton Brand?  Josh Smith?  How bout Michael Beasley?  Even if it isn’t one of those guys, it allows Stefanski to focus solely on that major hole at PF.  

More love for Thaddeus Young

David Thorpe recently took note of Thaddeus Young’s improved play in his latest Rookie Watch:

No player has surprised me more thus far than Thaddeus Young. ACC coaches told me he was a long way from being a pro. But Young’s instincts to play inside and out are sound (and somewhat rare), and he shoots with a beautiful pace. Golfers talk about the swing speed of Ernie Els — smooth and easy — and that’s what I think of when I watch Young shoot his jump shots. Not rushed, not slow, just right. He’s not yet a good shooter, but he’s coming along. He’s now up to [first] in player efficiency rating among rookies.

It’s about time people are finally starting notice.