With Black Friday upon us, the shopping season has officially been ushered in.
There might be a bit more of a reliance on buying our holiday gifts online rather than in-store, but ’tis the season for thinner wallets; all for the people we love.
For Philadelphia’s professional sports teams, a lengthy list of wants and needs would make Black Friday shopping pretty easy — if only their desires were found on the shelves.
Alas, that’s not the case. But the top decision-makers at each of the professional teams could make some key purchases or investments in the near future to turn the fortunes of their teams around.
Here are some things (or players) to buy for each franchise on Black Friday:
Eagles: Offensive line and a new QB coach for Carson Wentz
When sifting through the Eagles’ horrendous start to the 2020 season that still sees them in the thick of the NFC East race at 3-6-1, the attention is immediately drawn to the struggles of quarterback Carson Wentz, who is having his worst season as a professional.
He leads the NFL with 14 interceptions, which ties a career-high, and has career-worst marks in quarterback rating and completion percentage.
With his confidence seemingly shot, the Eagles have seen a sporadic Wentz who at times is either too timid or too aggressive — the latter a result of trying to force things.
Much of that has to do with a sieve-like offensive line that has played a large role in Wentz getting sacked a league-high 40 times. It’s clear that the fifth-year passer can’t withstand the endless waves of pressure, but quarterback coach Press Taylor has to find a way to help Wentz cope with the uncertainty that comes with every dropback.
If that means working with head coach Doug Pederson to tweak the playbook, then so be it. But Taylor clearly hasn’t done enough to help Wentz turn things around this year.
Phillies: A bullpen and JT Realmuto
This dumpster fire of a year was yet another instance in which the Phillies failed to make the playoffs. It’s been nine years since they’ve played meaningful October baseball and there’s much to be done to end that streak despite featuring the likes of Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola, and Rhys Hoskins.
The Phillies’ bullpen was just the third unit in baseball history to possess a cumulative ERA of over 7.00, making late-inning work an adventure — and for all the wrong reasons.
Normally, that would be the top priority of a front office that has still yet to hire a general manager following the departure of Matt Klentak. Yet the big fish in Philly’s pond is retaining JT Realmuto, who is one of baseball’s biggest free agents this winter.
Harper has continuously campaigned for the Phillies to bring back the best catcher in baseball, but the money might be tight as the organization licks its financial wounds from the COVID-impacted season.
A potential bidding war could put Realmuto’s price out of Philadelphia’s range, which would create another sizable hole within its ranks.
76ers: A three-point shot for Ben Simmons
This is quickly becoming the white whale of Philadelphia sports.
Every year, we are promised with the tease of 76ers star point guard Ben Simmons working on his three-point shot and bringing a completely different skill-set to his already impressive game.
Remember when he made that one three-pointer during preseason play and the basketball world exploded? Now imagine if he could consistently shoot — and make — those shots from deep.
Simmons attempted just seven three-points last year, making two of them, as opposing defenders gladly gave up the area beyond the arc to the guard.
Both Simmons and center Joel Embiid’s offensive offices currently down near the basket, making whispers of a rotten fit between the two all the more prevalent in recent years.
A developed three-point shot from Simmons would at least keep the opposition honest while opening up the floor that much more for Embiid.
Adding other dangerous perimeter shooters like Danny Green and Seth Curry is only going to help moving forward under new head coach Doc Rivers.
Flyers: Scoring depth
How much longer can the Flyers put a majority of their offensive reliance on the shoulders of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Sean Couturier?
Especially on the wings, the Flyers’ scoring depth has been suspect, and it was exposed during the Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Islanders, who they lost to in seven games.
They’ve addressed such needs at the draft, but this is a team that went from rebuilding to having Stanley Cup aspirations rather quickly — taking full advantage of the COVID-19 restart by nabbing the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
That’s not to say that the blue line is anywhere near secure, but Carter Hart certainly is the goaltender of the future with a ceiling higher than the lid of Wells Fargo Center. As soon as the Flyers can put together a consistently potent offense, their status as a postseason contender will only skyrocket.