Sports in Philadelphia seem to be buzzing with young talent lately. With the city’s long playoff drought (No, the Soul don’t count), it’s time to identify the potential saviors of this misery. The rankings below are obviously opinionated and open to criticism and disagreement (be respectful, people).
I would love to see everyone’s rankings on this subject, because I feel it could go many different ways. Tweet or post it in the comment section below. Nonetheless, let’s get started!
1. Joel Embiid
Ranking “The Process” at No.1 was quite easy for me. He looks to be the second coming of Hakeem Olajuwon. When healthy he is arguably a top 10 player in the league. After sitting 2 full seasons before debuting he showed that by putting up 20.2ppg 7.8rpg and 2.5bpg (2nd in NBA) in just 25 minutes per game. As a Sixers fans or just a fan of basketball, we need to keep our fingers crossed for the injury bug to stay away from Embiid. He’s that type of talent that comes around only once in a decade.
2. Rhys Hoskins
If this list was made just a few months ago, Hoskins wouldn’t even be on the radar, but what he has done in not even 2 months of play in the Majors is truly incredible. Outstanding power while maintaing plate discipline is all you can ask for. As most of us know Hoskins has shattered MLB records, hitting homerun and RBI marks quicker than anyone ever has.
Showing similar production in his minor league career something tells me this is no fluke. Hoskins broke the Ironpigs single season homerun record (29), and extra base hits record (57) just before being called up.
The Phillies have a star.
3. Ben Simmons
Simmons gets ranked here purely off of his insane potential. Although he has yet to play a NBA game, he is expected to be one of the most tantalizing players in the league. A 6’10ft Point Forward with elite passing vision!? Simmons before going down with a season ending injury last summer received votes over John Wall for “Best Passer”….. Before playing a single second of NBA ball! At LSU he put up numbers that haven’t been seen in the NCAA for over a decade.
Drawing comparisons to the likes of Lebron James, Magic Johnson, and Blake Griffin he is sure to be one of the NBAs best.
4. Carson Wentz
How can Carson not clinch the top 5? What he did last season with minimal talent around him was incredible. A dual threat QB that has Franchise Player written all over him is a gimme in rankings like this. Wentz broke the NFL rookie record for most completions in a season with practice squad guys getting legit playing time at Wide Receiver. His improvement in the first 2 games this season with additions like Jeffery and Smith are evident.
Now if only we can get him a run game…
5. Nolan Patrick
If it weren’t for his injury at the time there’s a good chance Patrick could’ve gone No.1 in this years past Draft. At only 19yrs old he’s expected to take the ice with the Flyers this Fall. Before turning 18yrs old he was the 5th leading scorer in the WHL. His talent with and without the puck can take this young Flyers team to the next level.
6. Markelle Fultz
Fultz at 6!? This is when you begin to realize the incredible depth of young talent in Philadelphia right now. The guard out of Washington virtually has no glaring weaknesses. Getting comparisons to James Harden, Brandon Roy, and etc. the kid is surely going to kill it. He was questioned coming out of college due to his teams poor success, but if you watched those Washington Huskies games you can see the kid can ball.
Fultz put up 23.2ppg 5.9.apg 5.7rpg while shooting the ball at 41% from deep. He was the first NCAA player in over 25yrs to average a 20-5-5 line while shooting over 40%. Mind you he accomplished this at 18yrs old.
7. Ivan Provorov
He has all the tools. After his rookie season in 2017, Flyers fan knew they had someone special. He proved to be the best defenseman on the roster last season at only 19yrs old. With no huge holes in his game in addition to his youth, he has the chance to be great.
8. Jordan Hicks
When Eagles fans boo you when selected it usually turns out good in the end. If weren’t for his multiple injuries at Texas, Hicks could’ve heard his name much earlier on Draft night in 2015. Hicks now in his 3rd NFL season has proven to be one of the best linebackers in the league. His 12 takeaways (7 ints) show just how big of a force he is in pass coverage. We should be seeing Jordan down in Hawaii soon for multiple future Pro Bowl selections.
9. Aaron Nola
When healthy, Nola has proved to be one of the top pitchers in the NL. Many people forget how young he really is. At only 24yrs old he’ll be finishing up his 3rd MLB season, and first one without missing major time. He’s currently ranked 9th among pitchers in the NL for WAR (4.2), and right outside the top 10 in ERA (3.56).
Although he may not be a surefire All Star he’ll always keep the Phillies in the game if their bats are awake.
10. Dario Saric
The energy Dario brings to the floor is undeniable. The 23yr old from Croatia hustles like no other. Before drafted by the Sixers in 2014, Saric was considered a lottery pick in the two drafts prior but backed out of both. At 22yrs old he found himself in contention for Rookie of the Year after coming off of his slow start to the season.
Once Saric develops his 3pt shot, he’ll become very dangerous at the stretch forward spot.
Honorable Mention: Shayne Gostisbehere
Gostisbehere blew up onto the scene his rookie season and almost became the Flyers first Calder cup winner in franchise history. After a sophomore slump this past season though, some fans are off the wagon. With one great season, and one not so great season it’s hard to pin what exactly Ghost will be down the road, reasoning for him missing the top 10.
He broke Reggie White’s sack record. This was a record in the mighty SEC nonetheless. Barnett possesses the skills to become an elite pass rusher. Since his freshman year at Tennessee he was regarded as one of the best Defense Ends in the nation,while being considered No.1 in his sophomore and junior years. Although he may not blow up onto the scene like other candidates did/or will do, he will surely become a force in due time.
You can hate his bat flips and questionable attitude all you want, but the guy can play. For the past 2 seasons he has proven to be one of the best contact hitters in the game. Herrera’s 40 doubles this season ranks 2nd in the NL, and top 10 in the entire MLB. His 40 doubles are also the first 40 double season in Phillies history since Jayson Werth did it in 2010.
Jordan is the founder of Sports Are Philly and a current student at Misericordia University.
You can follow him on Twitter @darealjlaw.