As the Delaware 87ers embark on their first season in the NBA D-League, the franchise continues to prepare itself by piecing together a knowledgeable staff, including the recent hire of General Manager Brandon Williams.
Liberty Ballers and Ridiculous Upside have been all over the 87ers story from the start, and recently as well with commentary and interview pieces. As the NBADL looks for ways to grow the league and possibly create more franchises under the idea of expansion, Delaware will surely be looked at as a guide for future teams.
Like any successful company, or franchise for that matter, success starts at the top, and Philadelphia made it clear that they understood this when they hired longtime sports industry executive Aaron Moszer as Delaware 87ers Team President.
Now, with the addition of General Manager Brandon Williams, who spent eight seasons in the NBA's league office, the franchise has the tools to be yet another successful organization in the NBADL, and perhaps the most unique. RidiculousUpside.com spoke with both Team President Aaron Moszer, and General Manager Brandon Williams, in an effort to understand the process of creating an NBADL team from the ground up.
Team President Aaron Moszer, draws from a detailed minor league sports background
In late April, Moszer was announced as Delaware 87ers Team President, and from that moment, his quest to help another minor league sports franchise become a model for success began. Moszer is well-equipped for his current position in Delaware, and will certainly use his background in minor-league baseball to help create a successful franchise.
As witnessed by the team having it's own day already, it appears that fans should expect more promotional ideas and strategies in Delaware, as their inaugural season unfolds.
"There's a lot of similarities, and building from the ground floor up we want to create affordable family entertainment. We'll hope to utilize our players as community stewards in Delaware. We started by working with the chamber of commerce and rotary clubs. There are individuals with families that are fortunately already familiar with the minor league baseball team here, and we look to be a complimentary piece for them." Moszer said.
Moszer continued, "I often use the minor league baseball model for a platform, we want to put that into an arena setting. Our fans will be have the unique ability to see some top-notch talent due to our relationship with the 76ers."
Fans that make their way to the Bob Carpenter Center this upcoming season will indeed see some high-level NBA talent. The Sixers have made it quite clear that the team, and franchise are building for the future, and as a result, fans should expect to see numerous assignment players within the confines of "The Bob".
"We hope to create an environment that will give us a great home court advantage. Make it enjoyable for the players, because that will ultimately help the team become successful on the court." Moszer added.
As witnessed by the excellent home crowd support in Santa Cruz last season (last year's new kids on the block), having an energized group of fans can give a huge boost to players and coaches. Realistically speaking, a large part of Santa Cruz's successful ticket sales is due to the location of the team, the Bay Area is crazy about it's hoops. Will Delaware be the same? Moszer, and his team certainly hope so.
87ers General Manager will likely assess decisions from different angles
Newly appointed General Manager Brandon Williams is quite familiar with player development, and also the NBA D-League. Williams once earned an All NBA D-League Honorable Mention award as a member of the Huntsville Flight, a franchise that no longer exists.
Williams will now look to utilize his previous accomplishments as a player (Williams played in the NBA, overseas, NBA D-League, and Continental Basketball Association), as he moves forward in his new role, as General Manager for the 87ers.
Williams described his plan to mentor future players in the organization. "First thing, the player in me remembers what it's like to be a dreamer. Staying focused through the grind of a minor league season is a tough thing mentally, and I want to help our players keep the right mindset."
Due to the 76ers owning and operating their new NBADL single affiliate, Williams, along with the rest of his staff, will have the opportunity to make personnel decisions that will ultimately impact both franchises. "My particular role will have an influence on both sides (Delaware and Philadelphia) , to look at talent and see how it may fit with either the 87ers or 76ers." Williams added.
As it stands, there are names on Philadelphia's roster with previous NBADL experience including Arnett Moultrie, Royce White, Tony Wroten, Tim Ohlbrecht, Darius Morris, and James Anderson. If some of these names stick with the club, it appears that there's a few sure-fire NBADL assignment candidates, and will likely be something for Williams and his staff to consider.
That being said, Williams talked about the luxury in having Delaware as an option for some of their players. "A lot of players have challenges with respect to their game, and it's our responsibility to put player development plans in place. And part of any plan might be spending time in Delaware. I expect many young players to spend time here, with the opportunity to experiment in our lab so to speak."
Williams elaborated, "we will have the ability to utilize two practice sites, we are only 30 minutes apart. It (Delaware) will not be a place where broken things go to get fixed, it will be about getting better, and taking your skills to another level."
After speaking with Williams, it's clear that the former Davidson standout is focused on making the 76ers-87ers relationship cutting edge.
"If there is one thing in which our organization will pride itself, it will be our touch. The idea is for our players to want to come back, because we will create a basketball learning environment. To achieve this, we plan on surrounding them with energetic coaches and trainers, to make it a special place." Williams told RU.com.
As the 30-to-30 model continues to be the NBA D-League's goal moving forward, Delaware will look to be a blueprint for new franchises to follow. Philadelphia will reap the rewards of having a single affiliate surrounded by talented personnel such as Moszer and Williams, which should generate excitement for fans in Delaware and Philadelphia.