Dan Roche

Sign LeBron? Philly sports history shows final piece is needed

Sign LeBron? Philly sports history shows final piece is needed

Tonight, the 76ers play against LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Cleveland, and the chatter has ramped up again: Will LeBron sign with Philly this summer?

At first, I thought it was just a few dissenters on social media who were against the possibility. Then I watched Philly Sports Talk earlier this week, where they ran a real-time poll asking viewers if they want LeBron to sign here ... and 47 percent of the votes came back no.

My response to the 47 percent: Why do you hate fun?

From the opposers with whom I've discussed this, the response is that it flies in the face of The Process, that it would no longer be as organic as they believe former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie intended. 

Full disclosure: I was never a fan of The Process — the fandom equivalent of walking on Legos for a half-decade for a chance at a chance at a chance at a title. Putting that aside, let's take a walk back through Philadelphia sports history.

December 1978
The Phillies had just won their third straight NL East title and their third straight time getting bounced in the NLCS. They signed 12-time All-Star Pete Rose to the biggest contract in baseball. Twenty-two months later, they had a parade. Everyone was happy.

September 1982
The Sixers had just lost in the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons. They signed regining NBA MVP Moses Malone to a six-year deal. Nine months later, they had a parade. Everyone was happy.

Two months ago
The Eagles won the NFC Championship Game with a 38-7 dismantling of the Minnesota Vikings. All 38 points were scored by players who were acquired within the previous year.

To Eagles fans who don't want LeBron on the 76ers: Are you upset that the Eagles won a Super Bowl without a Process?

Whether you trust The Process or not, we all want the same thing, for our favorite NBA team to win it all. Why does it matter so much how it happens?

This team has won one playoff series in 16 seasons. They've been to the Finals once in their last 35 seasons. No idea should be turned away that would give the Sixers a better chance at a title.

In my opinion, The Process was about being opportunistic. Use your cap space and assets to acquire the best players available to get you to a title. Signing the best all-around player in the NBA, one of the top-10 players to ever lace up high tops, feels like something Sam Hinkie would do, without giving it a second thought. Hinkie's mentor, Rockets GM Daryl Morey, made a similar move six years ago. He created the cap space, assembled the assets and traded for reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden.

So if the Sixers do sign LeBron and end up winning the NBA title, come on down to Broad Street. It's gonna be one helluva party.

Leave the NBA playoffs alone

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Leave the NBA playoffs alone

You can't kill NBA commissioner Adam Silver for trying.

Last week, Silver announced to the media during All-Star weekend in Los Angeles that he's considering a change to the playoffs, where rather than the top eight seeds in each conference competing to determine a conference champ, playoff teams will be seeded 1 through 16.

More recently, ESPN reported that the league is kicking around a "play-in tournament" to determine the final two seeds in each conference.

Let's take these ideas one at a time:

Re-seeding the postseason may sound fun, and even kind of fair, but it completely dissolves conference rivalries that the league has celebrated for decades. Looking for the Warriors and Rockets in the Western Conference Finals? Sorry. Under the new format, there would be no more West Finals. Right now, those are the two best teams in the NBA. So you might see them in the Finals in that format — if they both get that far.

I could understand this argument in years when the disparity in balance of power is egregious. That's not the case this season. If the NBA season ended today, one team would reap the benefits of a 1-16 playoff format: the 9-seed in the West, the Clippers, who are a half-game better than Eastern Conference 8-seed Miami.

(Psst, right now the 5-12 matchup in a 1-16 format would be Sixers-Cavaliers. But let's stay on topic.)

As for the play-in tournament, this completely contradicts the re-seeding idea. The NBA wants the best teams in the playoffs, right? Is a Pistons-Hornets play-in game must-see TV? Or what's left of the Clippers vs. the Jazz?

And how long do you want the postseason to be? Last season, the playoffs lasted nearly nine weeks. It was only that "brief" because the Finals didn't go the full seven games. Adding another round could extend the NBA season into July (unless it corresponds with a shortening of the schedule). We have seen what happens in Olympic years when players don't get enough offseason rest and it ain't pretty.

I'm guessing this is a backhanded way for Silver to keep more teams from tanking for better draft picks. "Hey, you may be 11th in the conference, but you're one 3-game win streak away from a shot at the postseason!!"

I'm all for change, but in the case of the NBA playoffs, commish, I think we're good for now.

Forget backups, Nick Foles better than half of NFL starters

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Forget backups, Nick Foles better than half of NFL starters

Nick Foles has been thrust into duty as the starting QB of the Eagles. But it wasn't that long ago that this region fell in love with the Arizona product under similar circumstances. In 2013, Foles stepped in for an injured Michael Vick and set the NFL ablaze, going 8-2 as a starter, tying an NFL record with seven TDs in a game, and setting a new league mark for passer rating by a second-year QB (119.2).

When the Eagles signed Foles back in March, it was billed as a solid insurance policy in case Carson Wentz was injured. Now that they need to cash in that insurance policy, let's take a look at where Foles stands among current starting NFL quarterbacks.

I put the 31 other starters into four groups: definitely better than Foles, a bit better than Foles, as good as/maybe better than Foles, and no stinking way they're better than Foles. I am making this determination largely based on how they are playing right now, not necessarily what they've done prior to today.

Definitely Better Than Nick Foles — the "Duh" section (7)
Tom Brady
Drew Brees
Philip Rivers
Ben Roethlisberger
Aaron Rodgers
Matt Ryan
Russell Wilson

Better Than Nick Foles, But Not By A Ton (8)
Derek Carr — Still not 100 percent after a back injury.

Kirk Cousins — Way better than any Eagles fan will admit. Here's hoping he signs a lifetime deal somewhere else. Like Venus.

Jared Goff — Pretty impressive Sunday vs. the Eagles. Star on the rise.

Case Keenum — So hot right now.

Marcus Mariota — Shoutout to Chip Kelly

Cam Newton — Maybe the last true dual-threat QB out there. Damn near indestructible.

Dak Prescott — Another tough admission, but when kept upright, he's pretty darn good.

Matthew Stafford — If this guy ever gets a real team around him ... nah, forget it. He makes so much money, he'll never get a team around him.

As Good/Maybe Better Than Foles (3)
Joe Flacco — Hasn't been the same since Anquan Boldin dragged him to a ring five years ago

Alex Smith — Started off white-hot, really lousy of late

Jameis Winston — World of talent around him, still lost to Brett Hundley two weeks ago

Worse Than Nick Foles (13)
Eli Manning — Please don't tell me about his rings. Dude lost his starting gig to Geno Smith. Even if it was the wrong decision, the fact that there was even a conversation about this tells you everything you need to know.

Mitch Trubisky — Starting to figure it out, but seven weeks ago he played an entire game and threw seven passes. Seven.

Blaine Gabbert — Nope.

Jimmy Garoppolo — Not yet.

Jay Cutler — (Giggles)

Tyrod Taylor/Nathan Peterman/Joe Webb — And yet, the Bills would make the playoffs if they began today. Yikes.

TJ Yates — Nnnnope

Bryce Petty — Will make first NFL start Sunday vs. Saints. Look out.

Deshone Kizer — Poor guy.

Andy Dalton — Used to fade in January. Starting earlier every year.

Jacoby Brissett — Never had a chance.

Blake Bortles — Throws 30-plus passes most games. Two 300-yard games this season.

Trevor Siemian — Woof.

So by my math, Nick Foles is about a middle-of-the-road starting NFL QB. What you think that says about Foles or today's NFL is up to you.