Eagles

Budding stars, promising young cores give Philly fans hope

Wins have been hard to come by for far too long in this city. When that’s the case, your only real alternative as a sports fan short of bailing on your team is to focus on the individuals and what might be someday.

This is done in part by looking ahead to drafts, free agency and trades. The Sixers have made an art form of it, but each of the other three teams has had plenty of practice as well.

Eagles  
We don’t yet know what lies ahead for the Eagles this season. There certainly is reason for optimism and the large majority of that hope is centered around the quarterback.

Carson Wentz heads a growing list of young players with star potential who could lead the Philadelphia sports scene out of the depths of despair. The fruits of the laborious losing could finally be paying off.

Wentz appears to have the physical tools, work ethic and the desire to lead that translates into greatness and winning. The Eagles will need to continue to surround him with the right parts and coaching, but Howie Roseman’s vision and bold move up to get the QB could be a franchise-changer.

In the NFL, more than any other sport, one position dictates winning. With Wentz at the helm, the Birds could finally halt their Super Bowl futility.              

Sixers
The Sixers' potential cup runneth over in the “what could be” department. Joel Embiid’s brief but impactful 31 games last season fed a fan base starved for something tangible to back up that process faith. One can only imagine what he would do over an entire season.

The fact that he did not play in 51 games because of injury, and by design, makes Embiid the scariest of propositions. The upside is so high, but he could go down as the biggest heartbreaker in Philadelphia sports history.  

Then there’s Ben Simmons. The 6-foot-10 lefty with handle, skill, vision, unselfishness and athleticism. In a league that is becoming increasingly positionless, Simmons would appear to be the prototype. The thought of him grabbing a defensive rebound and pushing the ball the other way with endless options is downright scary. 

And the perfect complement to Simmons' skill set is Markelle Fultz. Similar to Wentz, the Sixers' front office identified their man and, with the ammunition, made their move. Fultz's versatility on and off the ball should allow Brett Brown the freedom to move Simmons all around to create the kind of matchup nightmares the club envisions.     

Phillies
Rhys Hoskins' start to his Phillies career has been nothing short of spectacular. He is not just a one-trick pony. While the 24-year-old has shown immense power, he is a hitter first. He works counts and he’s not afraid to operate from behind in the count. He has something not many Phillies batters have had in recent years: an approach.

You can also throw in Nick Williams, who has had a somewhat quiet, yet very strong rookie season. Of course, there is Odubel Herrera and, in the very near future, Scott Kingery. Aaron Nola, last two starts aside, has been ace-like since his return from the disabled list. There aren’t many other answers with the club’s arms.

Overall, the Phils appear to be building a core of regulars that could be pretty potent.

Flyers
Despite starting last season at the ripe old age of 19, Ivan Provorov proved to be the Flyers' best player. His poise and skill were on display from the jump. The blue line will be the club’s foundation going forward and Provorov will be the leader of this group.

If this year’s No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick’s injury history becomes nothing more than a footnote, the orange and black could have two foundational pieces to go along with Shayne Gostisbehere that move them out the malaise they've been in the last few seasons. 

While it’s not time to block off parade routes, if these players continue down the path they're currently on and they get some help, the fortunes of this city could be changing sooner rather than later. In the meantime, enjoy the youngins.