The Sixers have made news in each of the past two days. They are building a practice facility in Camden, NJ per multiple local media reports and a vague statement from Sixers CEO Scott O'Neil. They hope the building will be ready for use in 2016. And on the heels of a wildly successful Liberty Ballers/RTRS NBA Draft Lottery Party (thank you, as always, for your support with that) the Sixers decided to 75-up us and throw draft parties like they were going out of style.
First, the real news: the Sixers finally committing to a spot to build a practice facility is a huge deal.
The Sixers are currently the only NBA franchise without its own practice facility. As noted by Chris Vito here, Brett Brown has been vocal about the Sixers needing their own space. Currently, they rent space from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) to use for practices and workouts. However, the facilities at PCOM are not always available for the Sixers to use, and the facility is far enough away from the Wells Fargo Center that living near one or the other can create a hassle. Not having a place where a player can put extra work in at any time* is also disadvantageous.
*Major caveat that "any time" for Camden is still a scary proposition. I worked in Camden on the waterfront for two days last year, leaving between 6:30 and 7:00, and I don't want to relive that ever again.
Most players of old have lived off the main line, which is close to PCOM, and is an excellent neighborhood for the wealthy. But the drive from there to the arena during the day can be a nightmare.
DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT
Even if the location is spurred in part by a large tax credit, that's a big commitment to do what is right. In Camden, the Sixers will have a central base of operations and a practice facility that's the largest in the league. The practice facility won't be far from WFC. Traffic generally will be heavy in the opposite direction. South Jersey has a lot of neighborhoods for the well-off despite their giant property taxes. In other words, all the perks you'd want for your players, with the exception of "driving into Camden" come out positively here.
The Sixers hope the facility and the perks they're putting into playing for the franchise translate into being a place players want to go. Philadelphia is a huge market; historically, the Sixers haven't played up that card, largely because the franchise hasn't treated itself like a big market team. Now? Large media market with grandiose practice facility and other perks, plus a re-energized (hopefully) fan base that's just begging for a young up-and-coming team to root for. We're in a good spot.
As for the 76 draft parties, well, they're still looking for 61 willing participant bars around the area. Where do you think those 61 will go? My #SixersDraftPartyLocations hashtag barely picked up any steam, but I feel like we can have some fun with it.
If you plan on going to any, please let us know where. You can find their full list here.