How Will Playing with No Fans Impact the Sixers?
Most Sixers and NBA fans know, they have been a much different team at home than they are on the road this season.
While the Sixers own the leagues best home record, 29-2 0 they are also one of the leagues worst road teams, sitting at 10-24. At this point, only seven NBA teams have less than 10 road wins - none of which are currently in the top eight of their conference.
So how would playing at a neutral site, with no fans, impact the Sixers?
"One coach told me that young teams are the teams to watch out there," said NBA writer Keith Smith from Yahoo Sports. "They are the ones that rely the most from the lift from the home-court.
Joel Embiid is actually a player that was called out to me by a team," Smith continued. "He specifically said he is a guy who really thrives on the home court. He plays to the crowd a lot, he lets them lift him, lets them carry them."
Embiid splits are actually pretty similar at home and on the road:
- At Home in 29.7 minutes per game, Embiid averages 24.6 points, 12 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 25 home games this season.
- On the road in 30.8 minutes per game, his averages are 21.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 19 road games this season.
His career splits are about the same:
- At Home in 29.8 minutes per game, Embiid averages 24.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 116 career home games.
- On the road in 31.7 minutes per game, his averages are 23.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 86 career road games.
Former Villanova Wildcat Darryl Reynolds, a member of the 2016 National Championship team joined The Sports Bash on Thursday and acknowledged that playing in an empty gym will be different, especially for a guy like Embiid who is used to feeding off the home fans energy.
The Sixers home record for many was a reason to believe they could still turn things around, steal a game on the road and turn this up-and-down season around. However, its pretty hard to quantify what playing in front of an empty area might do to the team.
"They call out the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers," NBA coaches told Smith. "They are two teams that really took advantage of good home crowds. And they are clearly not going to have that in this environment where its going to be completely closed to fans."
So how important is the home crowd, and why has it been such an advantage to the Sixers this season?
"The reason their record is what it is at home versus the road is because its a young team," Reynolds explained. "With Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick not being there anymore not having that veteran presence. Young teams you hear about that all the time - they're great in front of their crowd, but they are not battle-tested or strong enough to go somewhere else and take it from somebody. As much progress we thought they had made, this year, they really didn't do it."
"At the end of the day, the crowd isn't on the floor with you. Its 94-by-50-feet. Its really what happens between those lines."