Ed Wade Returns, Hopefully to Claim His Ring

Ed Wade Returns, Hopefully to Claim His Ring

As his departure became more and more likely in Houston, the line often heard and read around these parts was, "I bet he ends up back with the Phillies."

And he has. Richard Justice of MLB.com said he'd heard that Ed Wade would be back with the team as a scout, and CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury has confirmed that that he will be back with the scouting department in some capacity. Wade's tenure as Phillies GM wasn't considered to be a particularly good one at the time, but he returns to a team that still fields a talented group of players drafted during his time here, including Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, and even Vance Worley. (Worley opted to go to college, but was again drafted in 2008, this time by Pat Gillick's regime.) Charlie Manuel was also his guy, and he selected Shane Victorino in the Rule 5 draft (but almost returned him). Wade and his scouts drafted the recently departed Ryan Madson, as well as Pat Burrell.

That's not to say he didn't also make some critical missteps. It's hard to think of anyone who was less popular during a Philly tenure than Wade. But, in its own cruel way, history has been increasingly kind to his legacy. The guys listed above finally did win us a World Series. While Wade couldn't himself put it all together, he drew the prototype on the cocktail napkin and saw through it the startup phase. I certainly didn't appreciate what he had put in place at the time, how close he was.

The Gillick Era will be seen by many, particularly as years pass, as the phase in which the Phillies went from being the bums who were a constant letdown to the heroes who have owned the city's sporting hearts from 2008 'til question marks. But Gillick would be the first to credit Wade for the work he did leading up to that.

Since leaving, Wade's also been seen by some as a guy easily fleeced by his former club, leading to jokes that he had a golden parachute job in waiting back in Philly (there are also other Ed Wade parachute jokes, as you may have heard). The Good Phight put together a good summary of the reasons why Wade was not in fact ripped off on the several deals between the Phillies and Astros while he was with Houston, which is worth a read.

And now, Wade's back with the Phillies. Maybe he can finally be part of a World Series winner, with several of his own guys leading the way. If not, IT WILL ALL BE WADE'S FAULT. FIRE WADE NOW. Sorry, force of habit.

Sixers-Thunder 10 observations: Joel Embiid electrifies in debut

Sixers-Thunder 10 observations: Joel Embiid electrifies in debut

Joel Embiid and Dario Saric playing in a regular-season game for the Sixers? Check.

Russell Westbrook being, well, Russell Westbrook? Check.

An overzealous fan giving Westbrook a crude salute and getting tossed from the arena? Yeah, check that one off too.

The Sixers' tight 103-97 loss to the Thunder in Wednesday night's season opener at the Wells Fargo Center had a little bit of everything (see Instant Replay).

Let's take a closer look at the action with 10 observations.

1. Embiid is already a rock star among Sixers fans thanks to his personality and social media antics, but if his game ever matches his fame, look out. When he caught the ball at the free throw line during the first quarter and did a mini "Dream Shake" to bury a jumper for his first NBA points and then followed it up on the other end with a massive swat of a Westbrook layup attempt, he gave the crowd an in impressive glimpse of his vast potential. He was even showered with “Trust the Process” chants when he stepped to the free throw line during the second half. Embiid finished the game with 20 points on 6 of 16 shooting and seven rebounds along with two blocks.

2. That's not to say the big fella was without his faults. After spending two years on the sidelines, Embiid was understandably amped up and tried to do too much at times on both offense (held the ball too much, four turnovers) and defense (over-helping on rotations, which left the paint open). Like anything involving Embiid, it's a process.

3. Note to fans: Westbrook is already a supremely focused and competitive player. He doesn't need any help to get going. However, one Sixers fan took it upon himself to rev up the Thunder's All-Star point guard with a special salute in the first quarter before being promptly ejected (see story). No wonder Westbrook scored 12 of his game-high 32 points in the first quarter and finished just one assist shy of a triple-double.

4. Saric didn’t have a great shooting night (2 of 12 from the field for five points), but he still looked relatively solid in the victory. The Croatian showcased the versatility that had the Sixers salivating over him for the past two years, including a number of pump/head fakes to get defenders off balance before he missed the ensuing shot. He was overmatched inside when OKC went to its super-sized lineup with mustache afficionados Steven Adams and Enes Kanter (combined 33 points and 17 rebounds) down low. But that’s more on Brett Brown leaving the rookie out to dry than Saric’s ability.

5. Speaking of Brown, I’m not sure if the Sixers will ever value possessions like they should under a head coach with his Spurs pedigree. However, just 14 for a squad that has finished 30th, 30th and 29th in that category during Brown's first three years at the helm is definitely a step in the right direction.

6. Surgery for a meniscus tear didn’t do anything to hamper Jahlil Okafor’s post moves. The second-year big man looked spry after playing in just one preseason game before the opener. His shot was a tad rusty (4 of 10), but Okafor managed eight points in 16 minutes.

7. I’ve been critical of the Sixers’ defense over the years mainly because … it was non-existent. That wasn’t the case Wednesday until the fourth quarter. They were outscored, 34-22, in the final period. For the most part, the Sixers closed out to shooters and rotated with purpose on the defensive end of the floor. They held the Thunder to 41.5 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from three-point range. Not bad when the “crown jewel” of the D in Embiid was limited to 22 minutes.

8. Jerryd Bayless might want to hurry back from that wrist injury. Sergio Rodriguez had the ball on a string all night long for the Sixers. The point guard had 12 points to go along with nine assists, zero turnovers and countless dribble moves that left Thunder defenders grasping at air. Not bad for a guy who hasn’t played an NBA game since 2010.

9. Sauce Castillo lives! OK, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but Nik Stauskas was excellent. He was decisive with his movements and got himself going by driving to the rim. The guard posted 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting off the bench. Perhaps coming into a season without the pressure of having to live up to being the No. 8 pick in the 2014 draft and playing with close friend T.J. McConnell are what the third-year player needed.

10. Wednesday’s game was a thriller down to the end, but you can’t help but feel that some of the extra juice that would have been in the building for No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons was missing. Instead of suiting up, Simmons held a press conference to discuss his health after foot surgery (see story).