In Philly, if you’re not a four-for-four fan, you’re not a real fan.
And if you are a close follower of the four major sports franchises in the city, you’re well aware that the futures of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers and Flyers are all looking promising — with pieces in place for each to potentially step deep into competitiveness in the not so distant future.
But there are a few glaring holes, even at this early juncture that surely give the most optimistic of fans reason to worry.
Here’s a look at the five roster spots that are most concerning:
First base, Phillies (currently Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf)
Ryan Howard has a great future behind him. And Darin Ruf is just painfully bad. The Phillies need to make a move at first base and a viable option sits in the minors in hot-hitting Tommy Joseph.
Among MLB teams, first base is typically a position of strength offensively. But this year’s Phils have seen first baseman hit at a slim .178 clip, second worst in baseball. The position’s eight home runs have all come off the bat of Howard, who will likely be cut from the squad if he’s not traded this offseason.
Point guard, 76ers (currently Ish Smith, Isaiah Cannon and others)
The Sixers have added three potential All-Star big men in Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel in recent years. Though it is yet unknown whether the Sixers will find a way for them all to exist (when healthy) together on the court, it is clear that a true point guard is needed to run the offense.
Ish Smith, after being traded to Philly performed well as a stop gap in the role and scored 12.6 points per game while adding six assists and four rebounds per contest. But he was a high volume shooter and not quite the distributor a contender in the NBA requires.
Expect this to be one of the top priorities in June’s NBA Draft.
Left wing, Flyers (currentlyBrayden Schenn, Michael Raffl, Matt Read)
The Flyers have two of the better scorers in the NHL lining up on the right side of Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier in Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds, but scoring from the left side has been a weakness for Philly.
Schennhas continued to improve each season in the pros, but more firepower is needed for Philly –a team that squeaked into the playoffs despite scoring just 211 goals in 2015-16, 22nd of 30 NHL teams.
Wide receiver, Eagles (currently Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Reuben Randle and others)
In the last two offseasons the Eagles have shed Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, replacing them with high-drafted rookies Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff and Nelson Agholor. That trio will carry the workload in 2016 after the Eagles did little to address the position’s lack of playmaking and veteran leadership.
Small pieces Reuben Randel and Chris Givens will likely make the roster and be valuable veteran voices in the locker room, but there is some doubt about whether the current crop of wideouts is enough to compliment their loaded tight ends room.
Running back, Eagles (currently Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and others)
After LeSean McCoy and DeMarco Murray were each traded away in their prime, the Eagles will rely on veterans Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles to carry the workload on the ground this season. Mathews, when healthy is a very effective, strong and speedy back. And Sproles, as Eagles fans know, is a sparkplug and a great change of pace back. But Sproleswill be 33-years-old when the season begins, and if the two backs at the top of the depth chard go down things could be bad.
Kenjon Barner returns, looking to make the squad in training camp and their rookie, Wendell Smallwood, has high potential but a lot of baggage after his draft stock plummeted due to off-field issues.