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Deladelphia: A Look at the 87ers' History


Welcome to the city of Deladelphia, where we talk about the Delaware 87ers and the Philadelphia 76ers. Today, we're going to put on a special focus on the 87ers. Let's talk about them for a little bit.

The Delaware 87ers were originally known as the Utah Flash. The Utah Flash was the D-League team of the Utah Jazz (I guess you kinda figured that out). Financial struggles forced the team to shut down in 2011. However, this was actually a good team during its Utah run.

The Flash started in 2007-08 season. They ended after the 2010-11 season. For those four seasons, the team had a winning percentage of .540. They made the playoffs 3 times and won the division title in one season.

For the 2007-08 season, the Flash had their only losing season with a record of 24-26. Then, they jumped to a franchise best 34-18 the next year. The last two years they went 28-22. So, in all, they went 114-88. The 08-09 Flash were a defensive team as they were second in the league in opponent points per game and second in the league in defensive rating. They made it to the finals and lost to the Colorado 14ers (the D-League has had three teams named after a number).

The Flash, even with success as a team, struggled and had to shut down, as I mentioned before. The Utah Jazz were unwilling to support the franchise so indeed, it had to shut down.

A couple of years later, the 76ers' ownership bought the operating rights to the team and relocated the team to Delaware. I found it cool the Sevens followed their parent team's story sort of. The Sixers were from Syracuse and were known as the Nationals. Then they moved to Philly and changed to the Sixers.

As the Sevens, things haven't been close to the success of the Flash. The Sevens have an overall record of 61-104 which is producing a winning percentage of .370. However, they have improved each year of their existence. They went from 12 wins, to 20, to 21. In their 4th season, 2016-17, they have a winning record of 8-7. I can only hope they can stay afloat and finally get a winning record.

Let's combine the records of the Flash and Sevens. 173-192. Oh, darn it. The Sevens pulled down the winning ways of the Flash.

The Sevens seem poised to avoid the fate of the Flash. The NBA's mindset on D-League teams is different as more and more teams are taking D-League teams as their own personal training ground for young prospects as well as a place for players to recover from injury, as we saw with the Sixers this season sending Nerlens Noel and Jarryd Bayless down there as part of their rehabilitation process.

Specifically, the Sixers' ownership seem willing to put in the money for the team. They grabbed the Sevens and built a training facility for the Sixers. One wonders if they plan on owning their own arena for Sixers games, as that also seems to be a growing desired trend within the NBA. Most teams are sharing with NHL teams, mainly because the seasons run parallel with the NBA. NFL and MBL games generally play under the sun too.

So yeah, I think the Sevens are here to stay and it almost seems like one day it'll be something where a D-League team is simply a built in part of the NBA team structure. We still gotta work on that WNBA. I am still waiting for a team related to the Sevens and Sixers. Since we're in Pennsylvania and Delaware, perhaps this team goes to New Jersey. You already have Camden (so maybe build there?) or perhaps Atlantic City.

Uh, anyway, I just wanted to share some info on the Sevens, in case you didn't know about them. I'm also a historian so I enjoy looking at this stuff. The D-League doesn't get a lot of attention but I strongly believe this league is a growing force that is essentially countering the idea of going overseas to play. This league is becoming a built in training ground for teams. Teams can fill up their roster, but avoid players sitting around not playing. By completely owning a team, NBA teams can transfer the culture to their D-League counterpart to ensure the player is still in that mindset.

As we saw with the Sevens, this league is also a nice place for older players like Baron Davis to try to see what they still got. Some players spend time there for a while like Rodney Carney. But yeah, NBA players can end up there just as well as players being called up to an NBA team. Were seeing a growing success rate of those call-ups, too.

Go Sixers. Go Sevens. Thanks for reading.


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