Flyers, Sixers, and Eagles All Finding Their Balance
I was at the stadium complex downtown today and as I was hanging around I realized it’s hard not to feel really positive about the state of Philly sports. When all four coaches in town were replaced it felt like a forest fire had run wild. Now we’re seeing the regrowth from the active teams and it’s a beautiful thing. Here’s what I’m talking about.
The Birds are proving to be a fringe-playoff team this year and most of the credit goes to Chip Kelly, who I would gladly bet money on as coach of the year. He turned a 4-12 club into a top five offense and a respectable bend but don’t break defense.
The Eagles now stand at 7-5 following a tough win over the Cardinals and are directly in the hunt. They’ll be playing three similar teams in Detroit (7-5), Chicago (6-6), and Dallas (7-5). They have full control over their playoff chances and if the Birds manage to break through it will be well earned. If you’re not excited for this next month you’re just not human…and that’s not even the best part of all of this.
What’s better? The success is led by a youth movement on both sides of the ball: Nick Foles (24) DeSean Jackson (27), LeaSean McCoy (25), Riley Cooper (26), Zach Ertz (23), Fletcher Cox (23), Vinny Curry (25), Cedric Thornton (25), Brandon Boykin (23). All performing amazingly well in Chip’s first NFL season. This team has a great future.
Now for the Flyers, it’s a bit of a different story. The Flyers looked like a train wreck just a few short weeks ago. As of November 7th, the Flyers fired their head coach, their record was 4-11, and Claude Giroux hadn’t scored a goal.
It was at the point where a friend of mine remarked, “Watching the Flyers feels like you’re watching an amateur pick-up game” and it was hard to blame him. The team had no sense of rhythm or consistent effort as they blew leads at home and hit rock bottom against Washington.
Since then? This team has really hit its stride. Giroux’s scored four goals and leads the team with 18 points, Steve Mason continues to play like a top-ten goalie (.934 SV%), the power play was successful in eight straight games, and the Flyers are 7-2-1 in their last ten. The streak has launched them to 5th in the Met (26 points) and 2 points out of a playoff spot.
My only real concern is this kind of hot steak could help keep Paul Holmgren in at GM and with Brayden Schenn allegedly on the trade block, I’m not so thrilled about it.
With the 76ers, fans were mystified by the 3-0 start from a team expected to lose like a bulemic with a gambling problem. Instead they were leading the Atlantic Divison. It was the worst success ever.
And now? Whenever I think of Sam Hinkie I imagine him slow rolling down the Wells Fargo Center lot with the windows down bumping Can’t Tell Me Nothin. The man is just on fire.
To start, the Sixers are quickly falling to the bottom of the league. They’ve gone 3-12 since going 3-0. Now it’s not neccessarily the record that pleases me, but the manner in which they’re doing it. The Sixers have had close losses against some top teams. For example, losing to Dallas 97-94 is about as good of an outcome as you can ask from this team. They also has a great loss to the Pacers.
In the standings the Sixers are 11th in the East and the 7th worst record in the NBA if the season ended today. Consider that they’re currently ahead of more talented teams in the Knicks, Nets, and Cavaliers and this team is destined for the bottom 4, with a minimum of a 12% chance of getting the first pick. The draft tank is rolling along perfectly on course.
Speaking of the draft, remember that New Orleans
Hornets Pelicans pick from the Jrue Holiday trade? It’s protected for picks one through five. New Orleans won’t sink that low but with Anthony Davis out for an extended period with a broken bone in his hand they’ll get closer to it than anticipated. The Sixers could be picking twice in the top 8-10 in an amazingly deep draft class.
Oh, and there’s Michael Carter-Williams, that dud out of Syracuse who might just happen to be the steal of the draft thanks to Brett Brown and his staff (which my deep love for is well-documented). He’s got five double-doubles in 13 games and looks very confident on the floor. Tony Wroten has thrived too.
Now while MCW and Wroten are the surprising story, don’t forget that Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner are having career seasons. Turner has thrived in Brown’s attacking scheme and the US Military has saved half of its budget with all of the bombs Hawes is dropping (48% from three). Both of these guys seem destined to be traded, which means more picks.
Does it really get any better?
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Posted on December 2, 2013, in 76ers, Eagles, Flyers, Vince Quinn and tagged Brandon Boykin, brett brown, cedric thornton, claude giroux, Desean Jackson, evan turner, fletcher cox, Lesean Mccoy, michael carter-williams, Nick Foles, riley cooper, Sam Hinkie, spencer hawes, tony wroten, vinny curry. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.