Sixers Or Eagles? Which Has Ultimate Success First?


Jul 14, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard

Scottie Wilbekin

(18) celebrates after a scoring play in an NBA Summer League game against the Knicks at Thomas and Mack Center. The Knicks won the game in overtime, 84-81. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Sixers Or Eagles?  Which Has Ultimate Success First?

I’m watching the Philadelphia Eagles first preseason game on August 18 against the Indianapolis Colts, and despite knowing this is a preseason game, I find myself feeling optimistic about the Eagles this season.  After a very controversial off-season, the Eagles truly need to come out hot out of the gate, and stack up wins early to keep the fans engaged.

But if Eagles general manager and head coach is required to win early and often, despite a pair of 10-6 seasons, then where are the Sixers in the hot seat?

Well we know the pressure is on.  The pressure is less vocal, and more voting by staying away.   But the team is limited in its ability to reload to playoff caliber talent.  A team gets two draft picks a year, and the contract terms of players are much more regimented and constrictive.   When a team is down, it will likely stay down in the NBA.   It’s a long season as well, so once the season begins, there is less ability to watch films, train, and focus on individual improvement.

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The Eagles are “loaded”, the Sixers are rebuilding.   The Eagles are “almost there”, the Sixers haven’t turned the corner yet.  The Eagles boast one of the most prolific offenses, and innovative coaches in the NFL.  The Sixers have one of the most patient and well-versed coaches in the NBA.

So in the race to the championship, who wins?

Well, the Sixers HAVE been there before.  Back when the team enjoyed Dr. J Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Bobby Jones, Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks, they were so good that they swept through the championship series, or in the words of prognosticator Moses Malone “Fo’ … Fo’… Fo'”.  And it’s that type of template the Sixers are working on rebuilding now.

So how far off the mark is this team?  Well, in record alone its a word away.  But there are signs of hope.   In the struggle to win in 2014-15, the team maintained a competitive spirit to the whistle.  And with the addition of Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas, Pierre Jackson, it’s likely that this team will be entirely different.  So many new faces, so much youth, so much room to grow and mature.   The team is loaded with first round talent and will continue to load up each year.   In fact, general manager may not have built a championship team today, but he’s stacked the deck so that when success finally finds the team, it will linger.

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The Eagles are further along on the record front, already knocking on the opportunity this season if all the pieces fall into place.   And while the team is an entirely different sport, the team has cut or traded fan favorites who were productive and league leaders.   The team is banking on the ability of a professional athlete to return to production after rehabilitating from a serious injury.   The team is working with cutting edge analysis of sports medicine and science, and employs analytics.

The window for the Eagles is this year.  With their quarterback Sam Bradford on a one year deal, the team will be hard pressed to go without a hitch if they need to reload at quarterback again.  In fact, the team has yet to have the same starting quarterback in two successive years under Kelly’s watch.   So the Eagles, with a host of veterans, and a one year lease on a starting quarterback, may be more in a “win now” mode than many realize.  The Sixers are set up for gradual improvement for at least the next four years.   As players improve on the current roster, they will be reinforced in 2016 with several first round draft picks, Joel Embiid from rehab, and Dario Saric from the European league.

So it comes down to “can the Eagles win the Superbowl in 2015-16?   I think they get into the playoffs but don’t get to the Superbowl.   And with that, Bradford seeks employment at the highest bidder, and the team is forced to grow another quarterback.  The Sixers?  I think they don’t get to the playoffs this season, but they will retain their core players.  In 2016, the team gets supercharged on any number of fronts, and do make post season.  In fact, I think 2016-17 begins a run into post season.

So it’s likely that the Sixers find the jewelry first.  But that is assuming that the Eagles will shop for a new starting QB after this season.

What are your thoughts?

Next: >A Curious Comparison Between Our Okafor and Moses Malone