Asking people to spend money on 76ers games this season is a difficult task. Why ask people to make an effort to come to games if a winning product isn't going to be there? Regardless, the Sixers sales department has a job to do, and this week they began to offer 11-game plans. It's like a 10-game plan, but with an 11th game! Or something!
The team offered weekday, weekend, and big game plans. The price points aren't terribly different, so it really depends on what you want. I didn't think any plan offered exactly what I wanted. But in looking to possibly purchase one of these plans, I wondered, if given a chance to make an 11-game plan for myself, what would it look like? How different would it be from the three plans offered by the team?
In looking at the schedule and trying to figure out my main 11 games, I considered the following criteria for a good game day experience. Note that yours may differ, but I feel good reasoning went into this:
- Weekend games are more convenient than weekday games. Most people work or go to school during the week, and commuting to and from the Wells Fargo Center can be a task.
- Wins and losses do not matter. Picking games based on the likelihood that the Sixers will win is not the point here, because the team's point is not to win. However, competitive games are a much better viewing experience than ones that aren't, so games with high blowout potential aren't optimal.
- Even if a game is competitive, boring teams hurt the viewing experience. Who wants to watch a Sixers-Nets game if the Nets are mind-numbingly dull?
- Price matters, but only if the game doesn't warrant a premium price. For instance: theBulls might be expensive because the Bulls are good, but I wouldn't pay more to see the Bulls than most other teams.
- Even though it would be tempting to see certain teams more than once, I want to see 11 different teams with this plan.
- A cool former Sixers returning to town is fun, too. Cool meaning someone like Thaddeus Young but not Evan Turner.
Given this made up criteria, I narrowed the list of 41 home games to 13 teams on my first go-around. I then had to eliminate two teams. Here are my just-misses:
- March 30th, Monday vs. LA Lakers: Nick Young, aka Daddy Swag, returns to the Wells Fargo Center for the second time since his untimely departure from our everyday lives. Unfortunately, Kobe stans will still show up to watch a dreadful Lakers team, and who wants to sit next to them?
- February 9th, Monday vs. Golden State: The Splash Brothers and Andre Iguodala bring one of the league's most entertaining teams to any town. With Steve Kerr as their new coach, I anticipate that they'll be even better than last season. But unfortunately, on a Monday with huge blowout potential headed into the all-star break, I decided the downsides were too great.
And now, the list of 11, in the scheduled order:
1. Miami - Saturday, November 1st: The Heat probably won't be that entertaining, but re-living the magic of last year's opening night victory is too awesome not to include. Miami does not have LeBron anymore, and I'm not sure there's much entertainment value outside of this game being (1) the opener and (2) against the same team last year's miraculous season starter came against. The second home game against Miami, doubling as the last home game of the season, is an easy pass.
2. Phoenix - Friday, November 21st: Even if Eric Bledsoe signs elsewhere at some point during the rest of the summer, Phoenix should be a fun-as-heck team to watch. Goran Dragic is prime entertainment value, with his reckless drives into anyone and everyone in the paint, especially if Nerlens Noel is there to try and contest them. Tony Wroten will try the same tactics in the paint as Dragic, but the entire Suns defense will probably be there waiting.
3. Charlotte - Friday, December 19th: Lance Stephenson on a team where he gets more responsibility is dangerous, and also very thrilling. Kemba Walker's a fun time as well. The most fun time to be had? It includes most of the local LB community being in attendance.
4. Cleveland - Monday, January 5th: LeBron. Love. Kyrie. The blowout potential and Monday night setting hurt, but leaving this team off the list is a crime. They should have a captivating offense, and a large enough crowd should be in attendance to make it a fun show for all.
5. New Orleans - Friday, January 16th: This game hits every criterion I listed earlier, and should be a must-watch for Sixers fans if the Pellies aren't walking wounded. Jrue and the Unibrow and a whole bunch more come to town, and that team is a borderline playoff team in the West.
6. New York - Wednesday, January 21st: New York fans always show up, as it's probably cheaper for Sixers game and Amtrak train tickets combined than good lower-level MSG tickets. The environment is always fun with the New Yorkers in town. Carmelo Anthony is fun to watch, if not always effective. Derek Fisher won't be playing!
7. Minnesota - Friday, January 30th: No deep explanation necessary, as the Wolves feature a drool-worthy group of youngsters and the awesome Thaddeus Young. On a Friday night, this is about as good as it gets. I'll get in line for single-game tickets.
8. Washington - Friday, February 27th: The lengthened all-star break makes it a large gap between games. Washington makes up for it. John Wall runs a breathtaking one-man fast break. Bradley Beal and Paul Pierce (?!) should run to the three point line. A healthy Nene is a long-shot, but if so, he just adds to the game. MCW against Wall is a nice test for the Sixers young guard.
9. Utah - Friday, March 6th: Utah has so many young players that were once the objects of my affection. The Jazz probably sit in or near the Western Conference cellar, but a new coach coming from Atlanta and potentially bringing some variation of the Hawks' five-out offense along with him should make the misplaced musicians fun to watch.
10. LA Clippers - Friday, March 27th: Lobtropolis disappeared soon after the Clippers decided they wanted to be "Serious NBA Team" at the beginning of last year. But they chose to bring it back in a rout of the Sixers last season. Odds are, they'll have a chance to repeat that.
11. Milwaukee - Monday, April 13th: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker come to town. Bucks fans hope each has a strong year. If we're lucky, we might see two top 3 picks play.