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June 15, 2023

Eytan Shander: Why the Sixers are the anti-Eagles

The Sixers front office is a disaster compared to the other three teams.

Let’s play the blame game.

One of the smartest things the Philadelphia Eagles did pre-Super Bowl victory, especially in and post-Chip, was make it damn near impossible to point one finger and blame one person. Even to this day I have no idea who truly was behind the drafting of Marcus Smith despite all of the smoke and even Howie Roseman falling on that sword. 

I don’t know, man. But that was the genius behind it. We never truly knew who to blame because power was fragmented, or responsibility was shifted depending on results. There wasn’t just a designated hitter to parade out, like the old Joe Banner to WIP move, if something went to sh**. It’s rather clear right now that things have changed, both drastically and for the better, with Roseman being the true face of this team’s success. Others have bought in and provided necessary help, but if it goes well or poorly, we at least know. 

The Philadelphia Flyers are trying to do just that with another major announcement to their front office. While names like Keith Jones are great in rekindling great past memories, he and others are here to correct the most recent history. The organization is in shambles compared to the winners in the NHL, but there is true hope surrounding a resurgence, even if it takes a few seasons. Some of this is just benefiting from a new regime but you should get some points for recognizing things are going in the wrong direction. 

The Philadelphia Phillies recognized it last year. They made a necessary move before anything went truly downhill. What happened after that is just legendary. The team is once again blooming in the month of June, with way more than just an awakening by Kyle Schwarber. They are starting to truly live up to expectations. There wasn’t any major push by the team to sell or dangle pieces like Aaron Nola or Zach Wheeler — how could they with so much time to still play? 

What we don’t see or hear is how Trae Turner or Jose Alverado went to someone in the clubhouse and demanded change. We don’t have stories of dysfunction creeping out of the organization, especially when things were bad. That’s what the Flyers are trying to avoid; it’s what the Phillies have successfully accomplished. The Eagles are simply re-writing the book on how to keep a tight knight group of men on the same page for 20+ weeks.

Can you imagine reading a story about Jalen Hurts going to Roseman and demanding they remove Nick Siranni from command? Or Hassan Reddick or Darius Slay or anyone else on this team? 

Yes, we’ve come a long way from DeMarco Murray riding shotgun with Jeff Lurie to basically fire Chip Kelly. You would think an organization that performs just steps away from the city’s gold standard could learn a thing or two. 

Go ahead, point the finger at the 76ers. 

Who exactly are you blaming for the latest nonsense surrounding James Harden allegedly (I personally believe it) moving on Doc Rivers to force the coach’s exit? Is Daryl Morey to blame for bringing in a guy for less than two full seasons only to allow that player to “make” the decision to fire a coach? Is Embiid culpable as the true star of this team for not doing anything, or maybe doing too much? Do you even know which owner to blame for this mess?

I could spend the next 200-300 words on how bad and dysfunctional this organization appears, but it’s simply not worth it. Nobody has any idea what direction this team is going as they keep bringing in new pieces, from coach to player, expecting things to gel. 

The Philadelphia 76ers are the anti-Eagles. 

Not the anti-Nuggets or Patriots or Golden Knights. They are the opposite of a team right here in our own city. The Sixers infrastructure is weaker than I-95 and it’s almost as embarrassing. 

We have two working examples of how to keep a team exactly that, a team. The Phillies are currently reminding us that no matter what we think goes on in a 162-game season, they aren’t losing sight of what truly matters – staying together. 

The Eagles are the new Patriots. Don’t get me wrong, the Chiefs are better, but they are strapped, at least more than the Eagles. People want to play for Philly for two reasons: Jalen Hurts – and everything he represents, and they can win a Super Bowl. 

No person in their right mind thinks coming to play for the 76ers is their best pathway to winning a championship.

The Phillies and Eagles are in front. It’s going to take a lot to catch them, but at least credit the Flyers for making aggressive moves up front to try and narrow the gap. I guess three out of four ain’t bad. 

Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

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