Lace 'em up, it's time for day ✌️ pic.twitter.com/qm10NL1ya9— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) July 12, 2020
There isn’t a ton of actual basketball news but there are a ton of Sixers updates at least, now on day 2 in The Bubble, following a successful 36 hour quarantine upon arrival starting Thursday.
Here’s a bunch of stuff we’ve learned over the last couple of days.
- That first day was about getting tested for coronavirus, “both with a saliva test and two nose swabs” per Serena Winters, writing for Yahoo Sports. Winters has brought loads of intriguing or fun updates so keep an eye on her Twitter account.
- We have not heard that any of the team’s players tested positive for the virus so far however we did learn of an update on Ryan Broekhoff. [More on that in item seven, added as an update after this was originally published].
- Matisse Thybulle is making a riveting documentary. Apparently Matisse is going to chronicle some of this Bubble life for us and it’s very exciting. I’ve always craved a Hard Knocks style show about NBA life. And not only do we get a little bit of that now, we get it at one of the most weird and compelling times in modern history.
- As Brett Brown said, per Jason Blevins of The Painted Lines:
"in 20 years we will be talking about what life was like inside the bubble" Brett Brown meets with media and talking about the surreal feeling. "it's a life experience" pic.twitter.com/7cvGZkGinz— J Blevins (@JBlevinsNBA) July 11, 2020
So thank goodness Matisse has an eye for journalism because watching him try to figure out a weird small chair, get playfully scolded by a masked Furkan Korkmaz that he needs permission to record him, or just walk by a hallway and see some employees in full-body antiviral gear is must watch for fans of any team.
5. So many people around the world right now miss so many of their favorite things. So even without getting to enjoy this little taste of normalcy ourselves, the sentiment here expressed by Coach Brown is weirdly relatable:
Brett Brown: “The freedom of a gymnasium is pricelesss, you take off your mask and you’ve got a basketball in your hands, you’ve got a passport to what you remember & brings you to a level of normality that none of us had.”— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 12, 2020
(I’m saving this one in the Brett Brown quotebook)
6. This one is pretty interesting. I kind of thought the Sixers might opt for a larger than usual rotation for the playoffs. But it sounds like they may whittle it down to a 9 player group for the playoff run:
Brett Brown says his mindset leading up to playoffs is to look at a 10-man rotation (which will shrink to 9 in the playoffs).— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 12, 2020
Says his bandwidth is wider right now b/c he hasn’t seen his players in 4 months, wants to give players true opportunity to earn spots in the rotation.
This means that a pretty valuable player or two will be relegated to a spectator role.
7. [Update] On a more somber note:
Wow, terrible news for Ryan who expressed concern about exactly this last week when he met with us. https://t.co/vCFUv8l0Y1— J Blevins (@JBlevinsNBA) July 12, 2020
Devastating news for Broekhoff. Thoughts and prayers for him and his family.
Awkward transition back to basketball updates.... If we penciled in Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, and Shake Milton that would leave Furkan Korkmaz, Alec Burks, Mike Scott, Glen Robinson III and possibly Raul Neto auditioning for the final three spots. It does seem like a wide-open race. I’d probably bet on Korkmaz, Scott and RGIII to round it out. But I’m basing that off where they left off. Who knows what kind of shape they’re all in now, that could be a big factor.
8. Joel Embiid sounds like he has maintained his conditioning over the break:
Brett Brown on what he saw regarding his team's fitness in their first practice in Orlando: "I'm happy with their conditioning. I thought Joel especially stood out."— Noah Levick (@NoahLevick) July 12, 2020
9. Everyone has been talking about how Tobias Harris has emerged as a leader and how important he now is to this team’s chemistry and playoff run:
Tobias Harris views the constant communication with teammates as a definite positive of the hiatus:— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 11, 2020
"It’s no mystery that the teams with the best chemistry, usually end up being the teams that are some of the toughest to beat, that’s not rocket science." https://t.co/0l7FJOInOu
10. Tobi and Bobi reunited but with some issues to work out:
11. Ben Simmons was fishing:
Ben Simmons throws fish back in the water with the wrong hand. pic.twitter.com/365wn4Imwh— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 11, 2020
12. Meanwhile, outside the bubble, there may be those hoping the Sixers crash and burn and Brett Brown gets fired. Steve Popper of the New York Newsday, reporting on the front-runner for the Knicks’ head coaching job, Tom Thibodeau, says Thibs may have his eye on the Sixers gig should something open up in the future. Per Popper:
“The chance remains Thibodeau would rather wait and see if openings shake out in Philadelphia or Houston, making the Knicks’ interview with him a two-way street.”
13. And of course there are updates like these just outside The Bubble as well. These alarming data provide a constant and torturous reminder of the world just outside of the NBA’s zone:
Breaking. All time record for US. 15,300 new Florida COVID-19 cases overnight— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) July 12, 2020
It’s not all fun and games and these players, coaches, trainers, staff members, and employees are taking considerable risk here to entertain us.