More Sports:

July 14, 2023

Eytan Shander: Who do you trust right now in Philly sports?

Which figures on the local sports scene are the most trustworthy?

It’s time to break out the "trust wand" and wave it around like a TSA agent at Philadelphia International. You are lying to yourself about at least one of these major players across multiple sports, and it’s time you came clean. Otherwise, the beep is gonna get ya. 

This is meant to jump around — it is a hierarchy of importance. Think of relevance as another factor, yes, the Sixers are in the news now with Harden, but nothing is happening. Hurts won’t play for months but is the most important athlete in the city. 

Howie Roseman

Let’s be honest here, even if you don’t trust Roseman, you still kinda trust him. Nobody else in this city will be afforded that level of patience and understanding from someone who lacks trust. Nobody else has the vocal majority – rightfully so – behind him to remind those people how wrong they are. The reality is that Roseman should have few detractors remaining – which doesn’t mean he can’t be wrong or make mistakes. People trust Roseman to fix any upcoming issues. Replacing Hall of Fame centers isn’t easy, nor is any other major voice or impact player on the field. 

People would trust Roseman to do just about anything in this city. Too bad he’s not in charge of filling potholes. 

Trust Wand Results: Zero beeps

Jalen Hurts

Look, whatever you think needs work or isn’t quite there with Hurts simply isn’t holding him back, they are just areas where he can continue to level up. Whatever his real-life rating is can still get to a 99, he’s just in need of super fine tuning. 

This is a young man who adds nothing but light to our sports scene. I love him, just like you do. I was listening to the WIP “remember when” day for a minute when someone mentioned the fumble as the most important play of the Super Bowl. Take a second and contemplate that. The most important thing that happened in the Super Bowl was the (arguably) MVP fumbling the ball to the Chiefs, and most people – anyone with a brain – have been nothing but understanding.We trust Hurts in that position every time, even if one of those times means fumbling away the Super Bowl. 

Trust Wand Results: Faint Beeps – turns out it was just keys and loose change

Joel Embiid

This is where it gets complicated. It’s not truly his fault but there has been a significant dip in trust with Embiid. Partly because of his role in these second-round knockouts, partly because the teams just look so flat during these losses. It’s difficult to look someone in the eye and tell them you don’t trust Embiid, but it’s a complex situation. He’s dominant, omnipotent most times with his skills, he talks trash and routinely backs it up – the worst type of opposing player to deal with. Yet, something just fails in the playoffs. Sometimes it’s his body, other times it’s players around him and so on. Hurts is the most important player in the city and Embiid is the most complex, right down to our relationship. 

You won’t believe me, but another second-round exit and far less people will complain about trade rumors. I’ll do you one better; staunch supporters of him will start to demand that he demand a trade. He’s a platinum ghost writer but can’t quite nail the performance. That disconnect between regular season and playoffs is a real thing and significantly hurts the trust factor moving forward. 

Trust Wand Results: No beeps at the start but rapidly increasing towards the end of the procedure

Daryl Morey

He’s our only hope. I trust him but not like you want me to trust him. If Morey traded Embiid next year there would be a sound reason as to why, even though you and I may disagree, but there’s a plan here. We also have no choice but to trust him, as he’s not going anywhere unexpectedly. Firing Doc Rivers was a big step in solidifying Morey’s time here. He’s had some history of moves that are best defined as unconventional, as well as some fireworks. The off-season is lackluster at best, the re-signing of Paul Reed being social media’s highlight. But the question is how much do you trust these people? 

Do you trust him to build a championship contender? I do, but not under the current structure of the team. The bottom line is that nobody of championship-level importance wants to play here. Morey’s job is to convince someone in that top tier to want to come here. I’m not so sure he can. Maybe it’s Embiid, maybe it’s the money, maybe it’s New Jersey, maybe it’s something even more superficial. Or maybe it is Embiid. If it’s even a shred of the latter then forget Morey having a true shot to build a champ. 

Trust Wand Results: Mixed bag of beeps – MORSE Code spelling out C-R-U-M-B-L

Nick Nurse

The guy is going to have a huge honeymoon here because of one key thing he brings to the table – he’s not Doc Rivers. Nurse might be an upgrade, he might be a downgrade, he’s probably lateral if anything. I’m not so sure how much people trust Nurse to take this team over the top as they do to just not screw things up in-game. The basic approach of having a strategy, adjusting, maximizing a younger player like Tyrese Maxey – assuming he’s still here will be appreciated by the majority of fans. 

Nurse is still going to have to do better than what Rivers did, as Rivers could not do the same with Brett Brown’s team. Between a team that Nurse may not fully fit with his style, Morey making another move, the fans, and dealing with a true superstar – there may not be much to trust either way. Nurse is in a feel-out year and will get a huge benefit of “wait and see”. 

Trust Wand Results: The machine broke but the guy looked trustworthy enough to pass through

Bryce Harper

Harper is the heart and soul of a team that defines heart and soul. There’s just nothing lacking in the trust department because we’ve seen it all. This isn’t the “Jeter feeling” Yankees fans would brag about, where no matter the circumstances just get Jeter to the plate and something will happen – but it’s pretty damn close. Harper is just so much more than another bat in this lineup. He’s the player-GM, he’s the leader even if he’s not the vocal leader. 

The most important thing about Harper – as we see with Hurts – is that everyone takes their cues from him. He will fight every single Rockies player and we are 100 percent okay with it. We trust Harper to do our taxes, change a tire, raise our children, run for mayor. 

Trust Wand Results: No beeps heard, no lies told

Aaron Nola

Well… Here’s the thing. We all want to trust Nola, we truly do, it’s just been super hard. His volatility and implosions have left us hesitant to fully jump back in. Now, the great thing about this exercise is not everyone on every team is mentioned. This is a fine time to mention Ranger Suarez or Taijuan Walker, even Zach Wheeler. The team may not need Nola at his best, but they can’t survive him at his worst. 

This feels like the relationship where the other person keeps telling you they will stop cheating and even does for a bit. There’s just this ticking time bomb in the background. 

Trust Wand Results: The first time it kept beeping but the next time it was silent. Third time it beeped, fourth time was silent. 

Keith Jones, Danny Briere

Two beloved former players are charged with fixing a mess. It’s not easy, nobody said it would be. There’s already been issues off the ice, from Briere’s kid to the hot microphone, the overall perception isn’t perfect by any means. There was plenty of backlash from fans about hiring Jonesy, but after seeing this team on the ice, it’s hard for anyone to step in this job and fix it, at least right away. 

I am rooting for Briere and Jonesy to create something new in Flyers culture. It’s seriously lacking and can be created and facilitated by former players, better than most alternatives. Picking players, drafting, signing, etc can be learned but relaying to another player is instinct. I trust these guys but I’m just not sure the job is even possible to complete. 

Trust Wand Results: “I waived it around both guys and all I got was a bunch of bleep” -- Carter Hart

Jim Curtin

The two-time coach of the year just got a massive contract, deserving every last penny. Nobody from a coaching standpoint is more vital to their team’s direct success than Curtin. He’s in a game that doesn’t reward him for always having the best player – like Nurse or Nick Sirianni, and has mastered the art of defense and building around the goalie. 

The Union weren’t always the Union, as they were bottom feeding and looking to be heading nowhere for a long time. That’s another thing no other coach has gone through in this city, making Curtin even more valuable when things inevitably do go wrong. He’s a student of the game and seems to be learning as the sport evolves, while still being ahead of his peers. 

Trust Wand Results: Zero beeps

Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports