By Justin Diaz
After attending each of the first three Sixers home games as a founding member of the 76ers Revolutionaries (you may have seen us; we're the lunatics by the opposing bench making noise all game), I have to say I'm very disappointed. Yes, we're 3-0. Yes, we blew out two teams and won convincingly against a quality Pacers team. But nonetheless I'm disappointed. Why?
Nobody seems to notice this team's success.
The opening night attendance was great, a sellout. I was very pleased by that, but the second game, a noticeable drop to around 14,000. That's right around typical, but I was still hoping we'd get more people out considering how great the team has looked. Last night was an atrocity. 8,600 paid attendance, and even those numbers were likely inflated. Are you serious, Philly? This is a first place team we have here! They are playing great basketball and, maybe more importantly from an attendance standpoint, they're playing a Philly brand of basketball; Lockdown defense, hustling after loose balls, getting physical down low. That's supposed to be the style of play we embrace. But we haven't seen that.
If you need a reason to support this team, look at Jrue Holiday. People always complain that this team doesn't have a superstar, but we do. It's Jrue. His point guard instincts are still coming to him, but he has all the talent in the world. Dribble penetration, pulling up for jumpers, ferocious defense, the kid can do it all. He does it night in and night now, but people aren't coming out to watch him. It's a shame.
If you need a reason to support this team, look at Andre Iguodala. The guy may be the most maligned Philly athlete today, but he goes out every night and plays his game. He has an ugly jumper, but it goes in. He distributes the ball and always seems to find the open guy. He will essentially remove one of the opposing players from the game on the offensive end with his defensive intensity. That's an easy type of game to appreciate.
If you need a reason to support this team, look at Lou Williams. If you don't like what Iggy brings, Lou Will is the exact opposite. His size limits him defensively, but he is instant offense every time he gets on the floor. He reminds me of a poor-man's Iverson with his driving ability, but he has a better jump shot. And he is TWICE the rapper Jewelz ever was. If everybody loved Iverson so much, there's no reason to not throw that same support behind Lou Will.
If you need a reason to support this team, look at Evan Turner. After one season people were already calling him a bust. Was it fair? No. Did he mope about it? No. He got in the gym and worked on his game, getting lessons from the Shot Doctor and Philly's own Herb Magee. Eight games into the season, the results look good. His form is much improved, and his confidence to take jumpers is vastly improved. The kid is a star in the making, and you can get out and see him now.
If you need a reason to support this team, look at Nikolai Vucevic. People dreaded he'd be a Spencer Hawes clone, but he looks great thus far. Particularly against the Pacers he was spectacular. In 17 minutes, he put up 11 points and ripped 8 boards, just two shy of his first career double-double. He is only going to get better as the season goes along, and he, Jrue, and ET form a young core that could be together for the next decade.
If you need a reason to support this team, look at Spencer Hawes. Like Turner, he was a guy who got a lot of grief from fans last year for his performance. He was labeled soft, among other things. How did he respond? By busting it all offseason to get better and the results are clear. The same guy who was booed mercilessly last season now has the crowd chanting his name. He's an extremely likable guy, so get out and watch him play some ball.
Above all else, if you need a reason to support this team, look at Doug Collins. He took a team that looked pathetic just two years ago, and has turned them into, dare I say, a contender. This is the best team in the Atlantic, and we have Doug to thank. He has found a role for everybody, and the guys are flourishing. His no-nonsense approach should resonate with this city, but we're not getting out to watch them. Come on, Philly, I know we're better than that.
Get out to as many games as possible. With as affordable as they are, every Sixers fan should make it a goal to get to at least one game a week. You can get a seat as cheap as $15, and you're going to get quality basketball from the hometown team. We the Revolutionaries are trying to create an intense game day atmosphere, but there's only so much we can do. We need a packed house screaming their heads off every night. We need teams to loathe coming to Philly not just for the team they're going to play, but the fans they're going to have to deal with. Get on it, fans. I know you have it in you.