December 20, 2016
Among all of the online sports coverage, power rankings are like junk food. Everyone knows that they’re not good for you, but it’s hard to turn away. With the NBA and NHL seasons in full swing, I figured we would give into that temptation and round up where the Flyers and Sixers stack up.
(Hint: One of them is up high, the other is not. You’re shocked, I know.)
The Flyers had their 10-game winning streak halted by the Stars, but they've worked their way into the playoff picture with a bang.
This is a better-balanced Flyers team up front than in the past few seasons. It helps, too, that top forwards such as Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds have played together for a few years. There are still concerns about the defense and goaltending, but for now, let the good times roll.
The Flyers had their 10-game winning streak snapped at Dallas Saturday, and while there are familiar names leading the way offensively, 19-year-old rookie Ivan Provorov and Andrew MacDonald’s disaster contract are leading Philadelphia in ice time this month.
They have won 10 straight games. Enough said.
The Flyers' 10-game win streak was the first double-digit win streak in the NHL this season and Philadelphia's longest win streak since 1985.
Rich’s Take: With the Flyers having played a few more games than most teams, it’s hard to peg exactly where they stand among the league’s top teams. But after starting out the season a ho-hum 9-10-3, the Orange and Black should be pretty pleased with where they generally stack up league-wide headed into Christmas.
Also, the Metropolitan Division is ridiculous.
After Joel Embiid's career-best 33 points in Sunday night's win over Brooklyn, Philadelphia actually now sports a winning record (4-3) when he scores at least 20 points. The Sixers are 1-10, by contrast, when Embiid is held under 20 -- and 2-7 when he doesn't play.
They have to make a trade and desperately need help in the backcourt, but they have minimal leverage with how the situation has played out. Noel is right in that he doesn't deserve to be in this situation, not only because he's a useful player who needs playing time, but also because no player has had to endure "the process" as much as he has.
The Sixers made some waves this week by officially benching Nerlens Noel one day after he complained he needed to play more. This is going to make some people angry, but I am not one of them. It’s unclear where anyone got the impression Noel is more than a role player with a fancy pedigree—which is a fine thing to be.
Philly's center situation is poisonous. The 76ers are trapped between an unfulfilled promise of the past and an unfulfilled promise of the future.
The Sixers only had one win at this point last season and two wins at this point two seasons ago. Slowly but surely ...
Rich’s Take: Not last!
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann