The plan was simple. Let No. 2 overall draft pick Carson Wentz learn how to be an NFL quarterback by watching Sam Bradford.
And across Broad Street for the Sixers, see if Joel Embiid can play healthy and experiment with him off the bench.
Both the Eagles and 76ers saw their plans for their up and coming (hopeful) superstars tossed out the window from Game 1.
And both have exceeded expectations.
“Before the season I thought ‘Ihadn’t played in two years before the season,’ I thought I was going to come off thebench and they were going to get me along slowly,” Embiid, averaging more than 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game in just 25 minutes per game, told The Ringer’s NBA Podcast.”You know especially my offensive game has gotten so much better — Ithought I would come in and show some flashes … but it’s been great that I had the chance to come in and really show what I could do.”
Embiid — after missing two NBA seasons with two foot surgeries — is potentially the Eastern Conference All-Star Team’s starting center. And in just over three months has positioned himself as the franchise’s cornerstone.
That’s what Wentz did too.
After expecing to hold a clipboard for 16 games, the Eagles traded Bradford for a first round pick 10 days before their regular season opener against the Browns and Wentz led the Eagles to a 7-9 record — and set the NFL’s rookie mark for completed passes in a season.
It was trial by fire, and Philadelphia got pretty lucky.
“It’s a kids’ game that they’re paying us way too much to play. It’s a beautiful thing,” the level-headed, baby-faced Wentz told reporters after the Eagles Week 17 win over Dallas.”I’ve always loved the game and I’m very fortunate, that’s for sure. So you have to have fun with it.”
Both have also earned the favor of Philly fans off the field, or court.
Embiid,just this week, thwarted a trolling porn star, tweeted at Donald Trump looking for support for his All-Star campaign and said the 10-25 Sixers were playoff contenders.
I wonder who @samhinkie is gonna vote for All Star.. Gotta do it for the culture
Joel Embiid #NBAVote
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) January 10, 2017
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) January 5, 2017
And Wentzgave his touchdown ball last Sunday to another Philly-area star, Mike Trout, days after buying his entire offensive line custom hunting rifles. He also has arguably the cutest puppy on earth:
— Carson Wentz (@cj_wentz) December 15, 2016
Each looks to be fully ensconced in the Philadelphia sports landscape for years to come. And each will likely be fan favorites for long after.