The 10 Biggest Philadelphia Sports Stories of 2016 [VOTE]
After a miserable 2015 for Philly sports, 2016 at least had some positive vibes with the Flyers making the playoffs, the Phillies taking a small step forward, the Eagles look like they might have found their franchise quarterback and the Sixers might have landed not one, but two franchise players.
So what were some of the top moments (in no particular order) of the year? Let’s take a look back at 2016:
After two seasons of sitting out due to two separate foot surgeries, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2014 draft finally made his NBA debut - and he hasn't disappointed. While playing most of the season so far on a minute restriction, Embiid is still scoring 17.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game aftert not playing any basketball in two full seasons. Meanwhile Saric finally came over after playing two seasons overseas and has had an up-and-down rookie season, averaging 9.1 points, 5.7 rebounds.
While Embiid finally made his debut, the key to the Sixers success could be how well he and this years No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons mesh on the court. Simmons could be the key to the Sixers "Process" working or not. While 2016 got off on the wrong foot (no pun intended), breaking his foot during training camp, when he finally makes his debut, combined with Embiid, the Sixers might have two superstars, something essential in today's NBA.
While the Sixers are hopeful they have landed two super stars, the Eagles hope they landed their franchise quarterback, something essential in today's NFL. The North Dakota State product was thrust into the starting line-up just eight days before the start of the season after being injured for most of the preseason. The key for Wentz moving forward will be seeing if the Eagles can now build around him, adding some weapons to his impressive skill set.
The Eagles sent Sam Bradford to Minnesota in exchange for a 2017 first-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018, just eight days before the season started. The move signaled a change in the Eagles organization, moving on from Bradford and handing the key to the organization to Carson Wentz.
After a slow start the Flyers finished fast to land a spot in the 2015-2016 NHL playoff field. The orange and black landed the No. 8 seed and faced the President's Trophy winning Washington Capitals in the first round of the payoffs. The Flyers fought hard and made it an very tough series for the Caps, before losing the series 4-2.
For the second time in the school's history, the Villanova Wildcats won the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Kris Jenkins memorable shot lifted the WIldcats to a 77-74 victory over North Carolina, ending a memorable run through the tournament. The Wildcats finished the season 35-5 overall and are currently 11-0 this season, No. 1 in the rankings.
The mastermind of the "Process" abruptly stepped down in April from his roles as president of basketball operations and general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers. Hinkie exited with a 7,000 word letter, leaving the Sixers a pile of talent and assets in his wake. While fans are torn on Hinkie's impact on the Sixers, with fans chanting "Trust the Process" at the Wells Fargo Center and Joel Embiid has dubbing himself "The Process", you can still sees signs of Hinkie in Philadelphia.
After Chip Kelly was fired with one week left in the 2015 season, the Eagles began a search to find his replacement - enter Pederson. The former Eagles quarterback took over to mixed reviews, having never been a head coach and never really calling plays in the NFL, serving as Any Reid's offensive coordinator in Kansas City. The Eagles got off to a hot 3-0 start, in which Pederson looked like he was a natural at the job, but as the NFL season has gone on, Pederson has struggled.
Back in March, the Phillies announced that manager Pete Mackanin signed to a new contract that would cover the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Mackanin took over as the interim manager after Ryne Sandberg stepped down in the middle of the 2015 season. Many thought the Phillies would go out of the organization and find a higher profile manager, but Mackanin has meshed well with the young Phillies.
The Phillies said goodbye to Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz and now Ryan Howard. The 2008 Phillies are no more as every member of the World Series team is no gone from the franchise. Howard had one of the most impressive runs for the Phillies from 2006-2009, winning a MVP award in 2006. Now 37, the Phillies declined their $23 million option on the first baseman ending one of the best eras of Phillies baseball in the process.