The Process Era Heads into Uncharted Waters

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Philadelphia 76ers stole the headlines across the nation this weekend with the acquisition of the top selection in the upcoming NBA draft from the Boston Celtics.

The Sixers made a deal that would allow them to draft the consensus number one player in the draft by the name of Markelle Fultz out of the University of Washington. This was a no-brainer for Philadelphia, considering that they needed a guard who could play alongside primary ball handler Ben Simmons. 

Fultz is only a 19-year-old kid, who put up monster numbers for the Huskies in his freshman campaign. He posted an average of 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds last season. The top selection is a threat from anywhere on the floor, but primarily from behind the arc. He shot 47.6 percent and 41.3 percent from three-point range. 

The Deal

Philadelphia receives Boston’s No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft. 

Boston is provided Philadelphia No. 3 selection in the 2017 NBA draft as a swap. Additionally, they have the rights to the 2018 Lakers first rounder or the 2019 Kings pick (protections). 

Incase you needed clarification on the exact details of the deal:

Philadelphia’s Perspective

Adding Fultz makes Philadelphia basketball relevant again in this town. It has been way to long! He adds much needed firepower to a position that desperately needed to be addressed. This move puts this team on the map with Simmons running the show. Fultz does not have to be the face of the franchise either, unlike Lonzo Ball. 

Staying at three in this draft meant taking another wing in Josh Jackson who struggles shooting the basketball. Jackson might be the best player down the line, but he does not help the Sixers’ backcourt problem.

Ball could be a pain with his father and will most likely be joining the Lakers. If he falls, it won’t last long with Phoenix chomping at the bit on draft night. The Sixers did do their homework with both De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk with evaluations in private workouts. Fox has speed to excel, while Monk can flat-out shoot the lights out.

Fultz at the end of the day was a perfect match for both sides. He was worth going up two spots in the long-run. The idea of a playoff run is a strong possibility. 

Boston’s Perspective

GM Danny Ainge better be right after dealing the top selection in the draft. He believes his backcourt is set with Isiah Thomas and company. That leaves Boston with Jackson in the draft, who most believe will go third after Ball. 

This squad appeared to be the only team to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, so adding another wing to guard Lebron James does not hurt. With that being said, they think they can win now. 

That means adding a superstar to go alongside Thomas. Ainge has done his best Sam Hinkie impression by hoarding first round picks. His treasure chest of picks makes people believe they are in a prime position to add one of these three superstars: 

  1. Jimmy Butler – There have been reports of a three-team deal with Butler heading to Boston. This is a strong possibility as the Bulls can rebuild with the amount of assets that would be sent its way. Think about Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, and the Philadelphia No. 3 (’17), as a start. 
  2. Paul George – On the market, already said he prefers to go to Los Angeles when he hits free agency next summer. Asking price already set for a “rental” would be one starter and a pair of first rounders (little steep.. but they do have the pieces to pull it off). 
  3. Anthony Davis – Highly unlikely, but Boston has enough ammo to make an offer that they can’t refuse. They could offer five first round picks: Philadelphia No. 3 (’17), Lakers/Kings from the trade, Nets (’18), Clippers (’19), and Memphis (’19). 

Overall 

This was a good deal on both ends. Boston can potentially scoop up a veteran superstar, while Philadelphia builds its core through the draft.

Therefore creating excitement in the air about Sixers’ basketball. Seems to only be happening in the off-season … hope that changes. A new “big three” can emerge this season with the likes of Embiid, Simmons, and potentially Fultz after the draft on Thursday night. 

Stay tuned, the fun is just getting started in Philadelphia! (Fingers crossed) 

 

Should Okafor be Dealt for Russell?

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Is the process over? After the Philadelphia 76ers received the third selection in the upcoming NBA Draft, there appears to be a buzz around the city. 

This team has built through the draft with top selections dating back to Nerlens Noel in 2013. Despite the hype, the Sixers are now faced with a logjam at the center position with Joel Embiid, Richaun Holmes, and Jahlil Okafor.

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Okafor for Russell seems fair, right? 

Embiid is the face of franchise alongside Ben Simmons. Holmes won’t be going anywhere, providing energy and athleticism off the bench. The odd man out is Okafor. What to do? Make a phone call to the Lakers. See what they want for him. 

2017 NBA MOCK DRAFT

1. CELTICS: PG Markelle Fultz, Washington
2. LAKERS: PG Lonzo Ball, UCLA
3. SIXERS: SF Josh Jackson, Kansas

It appears that Lonzo Ball is LA bound, leaving D’Angelo Russell to either move to shooting guard or put him on the trading block, which they already did.

Josh Jackson landing in Philadelphia is beneficial for both parties. Jackson is a talent wing with all-star potential. Will improve his shot (he’s not Evan Turner) and be lockdown defender that matches up with opposing team’s point guards. 

Trade Scenarios – Russell provides shooting. Okafor adds low post scoring. 

Scenario 1:

  • Sixers Receive: D’Angelo Russell 
  • Lakers Receive: Jahlil Okafor, Lakers 2018 First Round Pick 

Scenario 2: 

  • Sixers Receive: D’Angelo Russell 
  • Lakers Receive: Jahlil Okafor, Kings 2019 First Round Pick 

Scenario 3: 

  • Sixers Receive: D’Angelo Russell, Salary Dump (Timofey Mozgov) 
  • Lakers Receive: Jahlil Okafor, Any type of First Round Pick 

 

Way Too Early Eagles Prediction

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The NFL released the 2017-18 schedule this evening and the Philadelphia Eagles are slated to be on national television four times. 

They will play Washington and Oakland inside Lincoln Financial Field for Monday Night Football. The match-up with Oakland will occur on Christmas with kickoff set for 8:30 p.m. 

Additionally, they will be playing on the road for a pair of Sunday Night Football games. Philadelphia will head to Dallas as well as Seattle. They will also travel to Carolina for a Thursday Night Football contest. 

Here is my WAY TOO EARLY PREDICTION – The Eagles end up 10-6 

This belief is that Carson Wentz takes that next step, while management adds weapons for him through the draft. December will be tough… but good teams find a way to get into the playoffs. It does help that the bye week falls on week 10. They will pickup momentum in midway through the season. 

Full Schedule – Provided by Dave Zangaro 

 

Is Lonzo Ball Worth it?

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The season is now complete and the Philadelphia 76ers have landed with the fourth worst record in the NBA. 

Now fans can turn their attention to the highly anticipated NBA Lottery. On the bright side,the Sixers have an opportunity to grab the Lakers’ selection if the team does not fall within the top three picks. Now the question is… Where will they pick and more importantly WHO? 

Part 1: Lonzo Ball

If Philadelphia is lucky enough to be in the top three, they should put serious thought into taking UCLA standout Lonzo Ball. Yes, his father can cause headaches. Yes, his father stirs up trouble. However, his father is not the one on the court. 

Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball to Philly? 

Ball in my opinion was the best play-maker in the NCAA this season with incredible court awareness. He sees plays before they happen and can attack the rim with his 6’6″ frame. He is drawing comparisons to Jason Kidd, which is currently high praise.

Imagine the combination of Ball and Simmons in the backcourt. The experiment with Simmons running the point would no longer exist, but think of mismatches that would be in their favor.

Strengths

  • Another face of the franchise type of player: A new big 3 with Ball, Simmons, & Embiid … and don’t forget about Dario Saric
  • Tremendous size playing the PG position for Brett Brown 
  • Winning the transition game with Ball and Simmons running in the open court
  • Provides open looks for teammates with passing ability 
  • Brings a winning attitude to a team looking to turn the page 
  • Instantly puts the squad into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference 

Weaknesses

  • There certainly would be questions about who could knock down perimeter shots
  • Can Ball be consistent from beyond the arc with that odd type of shot? Simmons still has to prove he can stretch the floor
  • Will he be happy playing in Philadelphia? Will his father cause trouble? 
  • Would he fit in with the players on the team right now? 

 

 

 

MLB Predictions: 2017 Edition

By: Dave DiPasqua 

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Chicago Cubs snapped a 108-year curse last year with an incredible postseason run to capture the 2016 World Series.

As we fast-forward to now, look for the Cubs to repeat as the 2017 campaign is officially underway. Who knows what will happen over the course of the next few months! 

World Series Prediction: Chicago Cubs over Boston Red Sox in 6 games

NL East: New York Mets 

NL Central: Chicago Cubs

NL West: San Francisco Giants

Wild Cards: Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers 

AL East: Toronto Blue Jays

AL Central: Cleveland Indians

AL West: Houston Astros

Wild Cards: Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers

Phillies Prediction: 77-85

  • Despite being on a three-game skid, the Phillies have shown promise with a young core.
  • They do lack power in the middle of the lineup, which is why this is such a big year for Maikel Franco. He has not shown anything yet, hence the losing streak with him batting clean-up.
  • Need the arms in the rotation to produce with Vince Velasquez being the ace.
    • Personally, I think Velasquez is better suited for the closer position with his strikeout potential.
    • Expect them to deal Jeremy Hellickson and Clay Bucholz at the deadline to bring up guys from the minors (Jake Thompson & Ben Lively to name two).
  • Expect them to throw big money this off-season as rumors fly around the notion of landing … Bryce Harper if the price is right.
  • A player to watch: Aaron Altherr
    • After missing time last year due to injury, Altherr needs to have a big year
    • He has the size (6’5”) and now has to put it all together
  • A pitcher to watch: Jerad Eickhoff
    • Has the ability to be the best of the bunch: 11-14 record with 3.65 ERA in 2016
    • Has good command of his pitches, but needs run support
    • Reminds me of a young John Lackey

 

 

NFL 2017 Mock Draft: Picks 16-20

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Listed below is my official 2017 NFL Mock Draft. These are my opinions on who they should take and not who each team will actually select.

Dave’s 16-20: 

Baltimore Ravens: John Ross, WR, Washington  

Washington Redskins: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State 

Denver Broncos:  David Njoku, TE, Miami

 

Charlie’s 16-20: 

Baltimore Ravens: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Washington Redskins: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt 

Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Njoku, TE, Miami

Denver Broncos: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

NFL 2017 Mock Draft: Picks 11-15

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Listed below is my official 2017 NFL Mock Draft. These are my opinions on who they should take and not who team each will actually select.

Dave’s 11-15: 

New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee 

  • The Saints can either go offense to replace the production of Cooks or turn towards defense. Personally, Brees will find a way to make it work with Thomas on the outside. Therefore, the team will look to enhance the secondary or front seven. Taking a player like Barnett with a high motor helps cause havoc in the backfield.

Cleveland Browns:  Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson   

  • Cleveland took Garrett with the top selection and now can focus on QB. All three options are available. Personally, Trubisky is not ready. Kizer can turn out to be the best of the bunch, but can’t step in right away. That leaves Watson, who I believe would fit in nicely with the young nucleus being built. 

Arizona Cardinals: Haason Reddick, DE, Temple 

  • Arizona could go with a QB in order to replace Palmer. However, Reddick has done nothing but raise his stock after the season ended. This could be a huge move as Reddick can play all over the field.

Philadelphia Eagles: Christian McCaffrey, RB/WR, Stanford 

  • I have gone back and forth with this selection. Considering the vast amount of depth in the draft, Philadelphia will elect to go with a player who can help Wentz in multiple ways. 
  • He can be lined up in the slot, while also taking handoffs. He causes mismatches all over the field, whether being in the backfield or motioned to the outside. Can he withstand punishment in-between the tackles? My gut says yes. He has vision and is shifty enough make men miss. As a returner, he can learn from Sproles and gradually take that over.
  • Some people say go Dalvin Cook. Others hope a corner falls to No. 14. You don’t want to reach, espeically after Sydney Jones went down. There will be other opportunities to grab defensive backs. Take McCaffrey.

Indianapolis Colts: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

  • This is a no-brainer. Protect your franchise player in Andrew Luck.

 

Charlie’s 11-15: 

New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

Arizona Cardinals:  DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

Philadelphia Eagles:  Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State 

Indianapolis Colts: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

 

 

 

NFL 2017 Mock Draft: Picks 6-10

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Listed below is my official 2017 NFL Mock Draft. These are my opinions on who they should take and not who each team will actually select.

Dave’s 6-10: 

New York Jets: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State  

  • Hooker is a top talent, but I believe this No. 6 selection will be traded for a team wanting either Hooker or Fournette. This team is rebuilding after letting go of Marshall, Mangold, etc. If they keep it, they can’t go wrong with him.

Los Angeles Chargers: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama   

  • The Chargers want Malik Hooker and with him being off the board… trade. They don’t need a QB this high up or a RB after Melvin Gordon’s performance last season. In this case, they’ll take the next best option in Humphrey. Foster is another possibility.

Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU  

  • No brainer. Adding the likes of Fournette in the backfield allows a solid running game to help Cam Newton setup play-action. The Panthers will return to form with this selection. Complete slam dunk.

Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama  

  • If they were smart, the Bengals would run to the podium and select Foster. He is the complete package with his combination of speed and power. One of the top players in this draft class.

Buffalo Bills: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama   

  • Todd McShay has Howard in his Top 5 right now going to Jacksonville. However, I don’t believe anyone takes him that high. Howard can help in the running game with McCoy and block for Taylor. A safe pick for Buffalo.

 

Charlie’s 6-10:

New York Jets:  Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson   

  • The Jets are a mess and are in desperate need of a franchise QB. Jay Cutler is not exactly the answer to their QB problem. Watson can turn this team right around with his high character. 

Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State   

Carolina Panthers:   Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU  

Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama   

Buffalo Bills:   John Ross, WR, Washington  

2017 Mock Draft: 1-5

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Listed below is my official 2017 NFL Mock Draft. These are my opinions on who they should take and not who each team will actually select.

Dave’s 1-5: 

Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

  • Cleveland has multiple needs, but Garrett has the highest upside of any player in this draft. Taking a QB this high is too risky. Adding Garrett helps win the battle in the trenches.

San Francisco 49ers:  Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford 

  • San Francisco completely imploded last season. With a new era upon them, drafting Thomas helps ease the pain. It is a stepping stone in the right direction, plus the Stanford connection. Taking Jamal Adams wouldn’t be a bad option either.

Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

  • The Bears need a fresh start on defense. Adams is a top prospect in this class and provides an instant presence. Chicago faces good quarterbacks in Stafford, Rodgers, and Bradford twice a season.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, DE/DT, Alabama  

  • The Jaguars are stacking up on defense. Incorporating Allen into that defensive line can create havoc. A young nucleus with Ramsey, Fowler, and veteran core makes be believe this franchise just needs a QB. If the Jaguars can take care of the football this season, watch out for the Jaguars.

Tennessee Titans:  Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

  • After the trade with the Rams last season, the Titans have the luxury of adding a top tier cornerback in Lattimore. He can learn from Logan Ryan and play all over the field. You can never have too much depth in the secondary.

Charlie’s 1-5:

Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford 

  • Depends if they trade for Kirk Cousins

Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DE/DT, Alabama 

Jacksonville Jaguars: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Tennessee Titans:  Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State   

 

Christian McCaffrey at No. 14?

Philadelphia, Pa. – With the franchise building around Carson Wentz, is it too far-fetched to believe that Christian McCaffrey could be selected No. 14 to the Philadelphia Eagles? 

This team has been busy in free agency, landing Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and Chance Warmack. Don’t forget he brought Nick Foles back to help Wentz moving forward.It goes without saying that Jeffery is the best wide receiver to be in this town since the departure of Jeremy Maclin.

Smith on the other hand adds a deep-threat, similar to when DeSean Jackson was here. Do not count out Warmack on the offensive line, since he is a former first rounder with 323 pounds in the middle. General manager Howie Roseman has indicated that he wants to restructure this team to days of when Andy Reid was at the helm.

Last year, Roseman went up to the second overall selection and brought this city a franchise quarterback. Despite being strapped with a tight salary cap number, he went out and provided Wentz with options on the outside who can change a game.

It is possible that Roseman takes another offensive playmaker at No. 14, even though he added weapons? With Darren Sproles in his final season, maybe McCaffrey could take his role. Ryan Matthews is not the long-term solution either. 

I am not saying that I want them to definitely take the former Heisman finalist, but it is a good question to ask. He can be moved all around the formation and cause mismatches for Wentz to find. This offense will be putting up points and it helps that the duo of McCaffrey and Wentz can grow together. This would be a nightmare for teams in the NFC East. 

The Stanford standout has the speed and moves to be successful. He can be lined up in the backfield, slot, or as a returner in this league. His combine was impressive enough to have him go somewhere in the first round. McCaffrey registered a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash, while scoring a 37.5 vertical. 

I am not sold on him running in-between the tackles, but anything is possible. He is a smaller back but it a necessity in this offense to be able to be a check-down. Think about him on third-downs and keeping drives alive. 

Howie must nail this NFL Draft and has to consider every option.