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1. I keep hearing from fans who want the Eagles to trade down out of No. 4. And why not? Looks like the same value exists at 10-12 as it does at No. 4. But to trade down, you have to find somebody who wants to trade up, and teams won’t want to trade up from No. 8-12 to No. 4 for the same reason nobody wants to pick at No. 4. Why give up something when you can get equal value where you’re already sitting? So assuming the Eagles stay at No. 4 and Luke Joeckel is gone, I’m OK with Sharrif Floyd, Dee Milliner or Eric Fisher, at least one of whom will still be on the board. But my pick is Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, if his medicals are OK. Best fit. An absolute beast.
2. I just keep having this vision of commissioner Roger Goodell standing at the podium on April 25 and announcing, “With the fourth pick in the 2013 draft, the Philadelphia Eagles take West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith.” Would that shock anybody?
3. I’m stunned how many people want to keep Nnamdi Asomugha and convert him into a safety. Did you watch him play last year? Nnamdi Asomugha? He’s not a safety. And he won’t be an Eagle.
4. I think Ryan Howard hits 42 this year. Really.
5. And I think Cole Hamels wins 20.
6. Doug Collins has never coached anywhere more than three years.
7. Spencer Hawes is 7-feet tall. In the span of five days, he had one rebound in 20:54 vs. the Magic and no points in 19:45 vs. the Warriors. Hawes is the first Sixer 7-footer to have a zero-point game and a one-rebound game in the same week – while playing at least 19 minutes in both – since at least 1984, or as far back as available records go.
8. The Eagles have had 20 first-round picks since 1991 and 16 of them have gone toward drafting a linemen. Those 20 picks have turned into nine defensive linemen, seven offensive linemen, two receivers, one corner and one quarterback. Of the nine defensive linemen, only Corey Simon made a Pro Bowl, although three of the seven offensive linemen did [Jermane Mayberry, Tra Thomas, Shawn Andrews], along with the corner [Lito Sheppard] and the quarterback [Donovan McNabb]. The Eagles have never drafted a defensive end in the first round who’s gone to a Pro Bowl.
9. If Villanova beats Georgetown Wednesday, they’re in the NCAAs. If they lose, they’re not. Unless they win a couple games in New York. And Villanova has won more than one game in the Big East tournament exactly once in the last 15 years (2004).
10. Interviewing Dwight Gooden Saturday with Ray Didinger on 94 WIP, broadcasting from the Philadelphia Card and Memorabilia Show at the Valley Forge Convention Center, was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
11. Nik Vucevic is averaging 12.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. He’s 22. The 76ers have had two guys in franchise history average 12 points and 11 rebounds in a season before their 23rd birthday. Dolph Schayes in 1951 and Charles Barkley in 1986. Both are in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Vucevic played three minutes in the postseason last year.
12. Here’s a vote for “Sometimes When We Touch” by Dan Hill as worst song of the 1970s, “Smooth Operator” by Sade as the worst song of the 1980s, “Constant Craving” by k.d. lang as worst song of the 1990s and “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt as worst song of the 2000s.
13. At their current pace, the 76ers would finish 32-50. That would be their second-most losses in the last 15 years and second-most in franchise history in a season following a playoff appearance.
14. Why would Spencer Hawes ever take a three? Why, I ask you?
15. Over the last four years, Hawes has made 54 of 190 threes (28.4 percent). That ranks 240th out of 256 NBA players who’ve taken 150 or more threes during that span. In 76ers history, he’s 41st out of 45 with 100 or more attempts, at 27.2 percent, ahead of only Charles Barkley (24.2 percent), Eric Snow (19.7 percent), Larry Hughes (18.4 percent) and Andre Miller (17.9 percent).
16. The last Eagles coach who didn’t win at least 10 games and reach the second round of the playoffs by his second (non-strike) season was Marion Campbell in the early 1980s. Buddy Ryan went to the conference semis in 1988 (remember, 1987 was a strike season), Rich Kotite in 1992 (his second full season), Ray Rhodes in 1995 (his first full season) and Andy Reid in 2000 (his second full season).
17. This is kind of amazing to me: LeBron James has improved his shooting percentage seven straight years (.476, .484, .489, .503, .510, .531, .563).
18. Fran Dunphy was asked after Temple’s win over Rhode Island Saturday how much the Owls talk about the NCAA tournament: “We never talk about it. There's nothing to talk about,” he said. Across town, La Salle’s Ramon Galloway was asked the same question about the Explorers: “We’re talking about it more. It’s all of our dreams,” Galloway said. Honestly? I prefer La Salle’s approach. Nothing wrong with being open and up-front about your goals.
19. I have a hunch the Eagles’ days of holding training camp at Lehigh are over. The Eagles say nothing is decided yet, but I can’t imagine Chip Kelly taking the team 70 miles away for three weeks of practice in public. Would be a shame, because between Hershey in the 1950s and 1960s, Albright for a few years, Widener in the 1970s, then West Chester and Lehigh, the Eagles have allowed fans to watch their summer practices for more than 60 years. It’s my favorite time of the year, heading up to Bethlehem. But I’m guessing I’ll have to trade in those relaxing drives through the rolling hills, covered bridges and horse farms of upper Bucks County for more endless I-95 congestion.
20. If the Eagles don’t win a playoff game this coming season, the five-year gap without a postseason win (2009-2013) would be their longest without a postseason win since the 11-year gap from 1981-1991.
21. Andrew Bynum earns more by sitting out two games ($390,243) than Wilt Chamberlain made in his career (less than $300,000).
22. We’ve had some disasters in Philly – Danny Tartabull, Freddy Garcia, Jeff Ruland, Ron Solt, Nnamdi – but Bynum’s got to be the worst of ‘em all, right?
23. If the 76ers kept Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young and replaced everybody else on the team with a random guy from the D-League, they wouldn’t be any worse.
24. OK, I’m addicted to these “Killer Sudokus.” They’re the ones where you aren’t given any numbers, just shapes with a total value for what’s within the shape. So they require both math and logic to solve them, unlike conventional sudokus, which have nothing to do with math. They’re virtually impossible to solve. Great way to knock out a five-hour flight. Sample: http://krazydad.com/killersudoku/sfiles/KD_Killer_ST_8_v1.pdf
25. Domonic Brown is hitting .350 with three homers in 20 at-bats so far this spring, along with six walks. Every year I do this and every year I regret it, but I’m starting to think, yeah, the kid’s got all the tools ... maybe he’ll be pretty good.