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Philly vs. Everybody (Literally)

By Victor Williams, Sports Talk Philly Writer

It’s very seldom that you see teams in the Philly sports market get praise from media outlets. Radio and TV personalities alike continuously use Philadelphia as their punching bag. Whether it be making Carson Wentz out to be an arrogant character or trying to put a wedge in between Ben Simmons & Joel Embiid, there’s always a journalist trying to make something out of nothing. When the stories turn out to be less credible than the writers who create them, we don’t ever hear about it again. Everything on the internet comes and goes and people can spew whatever narrative they want, on a local and national level, and there's no accountability because the internet moves so fast. The success of our Philly sports teams needs to start being put on the same pedestal as their shortcomings.

Carson Wentz & The Philadelphia Eagles

Prior to the 2019 season, there were many question marks surrounding Carson Wentz. After ending the previous two seasons injured, the uneducated takes against the Eagles franchise QB started to fly:

  • Can’t finish a season healthy
  • Isn’t clutch when the Eagles need him to be
  • Isn’t a good leader for the team
  • The team doesn’t rally around him the way they did for Foles

During the offseason last year, I had nothing but rival fanbases telling me that Dak Prescott & Baker Mayfield of all people were more valuable QBs than Carson Wentz. People were saying with conviction that the Eagles should’ve kept Foles over an “oft-injured” Wentz. Foles missed half the season with an injury then proceeded to be benched in favor of Gardner Minshew. They said Wentz wouldn’t be worth his new contract because apparently the Eagles organization were “fools” to give an extension to a quarterback who’s only thrown 2 redzone interceptions so far in his 4-year career.

Carson Wentz checked off each and every offseason knock on him one by one and with lackluster receivers at that. He led 3 consecutive game-winning drives against division opponents to get his team into the playoffs. In the last 4 games of the season, Carson recorded 1199 yards, 68% comp, 7 TDs, 0 INTs at a 100.8 rating. His entire offense went down to injuries, his leading receiver had 490 yards on the year and he had to win games with a 5’6” sixth-round running back and a former college QB as his go-to playmakers. His teammates clearly believed in him and the ones that didn’t will more than likely not be with the team next season. We haven’t heard a word from Joe Santoloquito since his claims of Carson Wentz being selfish last year. Josina Anderson sounds off on Carson Wentz on a regular basis to the point where I question what her motive is. Alas, Carson exposed every doubter just to be taken out of his first playoff game on a cheap hit after just 8 snaps. 

With everything that Carson endured this year, all we will hear until next season is that he still hasn’t won a playoff game. He played 99% of the offensive snaps this year and yet the media will continue to label him as injury-prone. Wentz is going to have to learn to protect himself moving forward because it’s evident that the NFL isn’t going to. In the meantime, the Eagles along with their fans will continue to be known for snowballs that were thrown before my parents were even born and the slander will continue. The national media will be damned if they have to watch a Philadelphia team succeed and if you don’t take my word for it, just listen to the NBC broadcast on the review of the late Zach Ertz touchdown in the Super Bowl.

 

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons & The Sixers

For whatever reason (in other words, for clicks) the media has taken up a hobby of stirring up tension between budding superstars on the same team. They’ve attempted to make Ben Simmons & Joel Embiid the next casualties of the media wrecking ball. We all know that Ben & Joel aren’t the most ideal fit in the world. One needs a good portion of the floor to dissect the defense while the other excels in transition. That doesn’t mean that the two young stars cannot coexist, however. 

Nobody seems to care to mention how the duo performs on the defensive end. Ben Simmons currently leads the league in steals per game while putting together an impressive DPOY campaign. To put it into perspective, here are some of the players FG% while defended by Simmons this year:

  • Trae Young: 18%
  • LeBron James: 22%
  • Pascal Siakam: 26%
  • Jayson Tatum: 27%
  • Russell Westbrook: 30%
  • James Harden: 33%

Ben Simmons wreaks absolute havoc on the court and with Joel Embiid in the paint averaging 2.5 blocks a game for his career, the young duo makes it really difficult to score.

Every day I log onto Twitter and more often than not, some uneducated “fan” is screaming from the mountaintops that one of the two needs to be traded. I can never quite comprehend what led these people to this conclusion. Yes, Ben Simmons’ lack of shooting is a concern and so is Embiid’s health, but they are 23 and 25 years old respectfully and multiple-time All-Stars. In the last 10 games, Ben Simmons is averaging 21 points, 9 rebounds & 8 assists while defending the opposing team’s best player. All I ever heard from people when Embiid was out was that Ben wouldn’t be as aggressive when the franchise center returns. In the last game against the Clippers, Ben had 26/10/12 while Embiid had 26 points and 9 rebounds. When the roster is constructed to fit their strengths, Simmons and Embiid are one of the most lethal duos in the league.

They’ve won 50+ games in their first two seasons together and even with that little bit of success, the world wants to split them up before they can be great. The narratives of them being jealous of each other’s spotlight or that the Sixers are specifically favoring one of the stars over the other is ludicrous. This season the Sixers have run the championship-contending Bucks, Lakers and Clippers out of the Wells Fargo Center but apparently, the more important story line here is the fictional tension between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised since nothing in the NBA is worth acknowledging these days unless it’s related to the Lakers or Zion Williamson. Perhaps a Ben Simmons jumper would change that.

 

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