Let’s start a few arguments today with some contrived over/under numbers:
Combined regular-season games played next season by Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz — out of a possible 246.
Sixers fans are rightly delighted by the draft move-up to get Fultz, whose backcourt skills project to be elite and should mesh nicely with his teammates. Hey, some Sam Hinkie acolytes were so overjoyed last week they started planning the parade route and launched a volley of Twitter retribution to those who doubted their idol.
But “The Process” only works if everyone stays healthy, and I needn’t lay out details of how much time Embiid and Simmons spent in the trainer’s room. Fultz missed six games at Washington with a sore knee, which has been examined and cleared by Sixers doctors. Yeah, those doctors.
If the Baby Triplets combine for more than 200 games, there’s reason to expect the Sixers could approach .500.
Projected losses for the Phils this season. Yes, I know they are actually on pace to lose 111 games, but it’s virtually impossible to sustain that degree of horridness. Even awful teams (See: 2015 Phils) tend to win their share of meaningless September games.
No doubt, this is an alarming season in which the rebuilding process sputtered and died. There is not one single player on the franchise whose future you can depend on. Someone asked me last week which six players currently on the 40-man roster I would protect if MLB had an NHL-like expansion draft.
Let’s see. Nola and Velasquez. Jerad Eickhoff despite his collapse. Cross my fingers and bet on Maikel Franco. Maybe catching prospect Jorge Alfaro. And, uh …
Number of goalies the Flyers sift through until they eventually find a keeper. I could use all my allotted column words listing the 27 men who’ve played between the pipes since the franchise last had stability (Ron Hextall, 1986-92). It’s difficult to have faith in the team until it finds someone able to steal games when the offense sputters — which is often.
Maybe it’s Anthony Stolarz, although the vibe is Flyers management doesn’t consider him the long-term answer. Maybe it’s Carter Hart, who was a junior sensation at age 18 last season. But it’s a long way from the Everett Silvertips to staring down Sidney Crosby.
Rushing attempts in 2017 by Eagles tailback LeGarrette Blount. Howie Roseman picked up Blount late and cheap, and the 245-pounder gives the Bird a short-yardage plunger they haven’t had in years.
We don’t know, however, whether coach Doug Pederson will use Blount as a bell cow or part of a committee with youngsters Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey, and the ageless Darren Sproles.
I suspect it’ll be Plan B. For one, Bill Belichick may have fed Blount 299 times last season but, surprisingly, it’s the first time he exceeded 200 carries since his 2010 rookie season. And, second, we all know Pederson, like mentor Andy Reid, will wind up abandoning at least six game plans to have Carson Wentz throw 50 passes.