There is a new fad sweeping Philadelphia.
Three of four Philadelphia GM’s have acquired a pick at or near the top of their draft class in their respective 2016 drafts. Having a top pick of the draft often means that the fans suffered through a hell of a rough season. Having a city with three top picks is dreadful.
The Phillies own the first overall pick in the MLB Draft this June. The Sixers have been holding out hope for the very first pick of the last three NBA drafts and have the best odds at finally locking that up this year. And newly/oldly appointed GM over at Lincoln Financial Field, Howie Roseman, felt that he had to join in the fun too. Roseman traded five (FIVE!!!!) draft picks to acquire the number two pick in the upcoming NFL draft, as well as another pick in next year’s draft.
But let’s focus on what all of this means for Philadelphia on the whole.
First, our Philadelphia General Managers might as well submit their names into the Presidential pool, because at this rate, they’ve been preaching change and championships for years and years and have no rings to show for it. It would be convenient enough, seeing as the Democrats are holding their convention right here in Philadelphia this July. They could walk over together, hand in hand, and try to usurp Hillary from her throne, er, podium (shout out to Bernie too, I guess. Hope you’re feeling okay after New York). No doubt they all have the rhetoric skills and maybe some fancy analytic numbers to pull it off.
But alas, we’re stuck with these guys and what they keep trying to sell to us. For a while it was “The Process” and “In Chip We Trust”, but both leaders of those movements have left the City of Brotherly Love. Instead, the shiny thing they’re now selling is none other than “LOOK AT OUR HIGH DRAFT PICKS AND THINK OF THE FUTURE!”
In case anyone was wondering, fans of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Royals, the New England Patriots, and practically half of the NBA are laughing at Philadelphia and our collective wet dream of landing the next big thing at the very top of the draft.
The way drafting is supposed to work is that teams find the best value for the pick they have and try to best develop those players. Those aforementioned teams laughing at Philly? That is their game plan, year in and year out. What do they have to show for it? Consistency, oh and the most important thing, wins.
Our city’s sports teams used to grasp this understanding. The Eagles ran the NFC East for years on the back of well drafted, well developed players. The Phillies won their only championship this century with the help of nine homegrown players. The Sixers’ most recent Finals appearance being lead by 1st overall pick Allen Iverson may ruin my argument here. However, it should be noted that the Sixers’ front office played a major role in creating that starting lineup. Without a couple of key trades, AI would not have had a team to carry (shout out to Dikembe- how’s the weather up there?).
Ultimately, the reality is that each of these teams has a new man at the helm either in an executive role or as a coach, which means that we as fans must adapt a bit to their new strategies. Yes, they will each spew rhetoric and misdirection, both to excite us and keep the competition guessing. And, of course, none of their words matter until they can manage to field a winning team.
So while I, and everyone else in the city of Philadelphia, want nothing more than watch one of these teams popping bottles and hoisting a shiny trophy in celebration, we have to understand the steps it takes to get there.
Hopefully, by this time next year, we won’t have to hear “top pick” and “Philadelphia” in the same sentence. If somehow by then it’s still all the rage and the direction remains the same, city wide, let’s all agree to reconvene here next spring to come up with our own trend to take over the region. Allow me to offer an initial suggestion of something we can all get behind- jean shorts! Now those things are sweet.