If I had their ear, here’s what I’d tell ‘em:
Dave Hakstol: Throw in rookie goalie Anthony Stolarz right away. Let’s find out if the kid can play.
The Flyers’ playoff chances took a huge blow last weekend when backup goalie Michal Neuvirth was declared out for the rest of the regular season – at least. With four sets of back-to-back games looming, it’s foolish to expect the always-fragile Steve Mason to suddenly become an Iron Horse.
So the coach should let the 22-year-old Stolarz wet his feet, as early as Tuesday against the doormat Blue Jackets. If the 6-foot-6 rookie plays well, Hakstol should give him another chance. And then another.
And what if the kid shows flashes? Hey, the Flyers didn’t have a No. 1 goalie three days ago. I’m not sure Mason should win the job by default. NHL playoff history is packed with stories of untested rookies who dominated – from Cam Ward to Antti Niemi to some kid named Dryden, who won a Cup before he even qualified as a rookie.
Flyers’ management regards Stolarz as the goalie of the future. Maybe we can get a little peek of that future now.
Jerry Colangelo: If you win the NBA Lottery, immediately make the call to Duke wingman Brandon Ingram. I’m speaking to Colangelo here because I believe GM-in-name Sam Hinkie has finally, mercifully, been neutered.
Anyway, we all expected the top draft prize would be LSU freshman Ben Simmons. But Simmons, as Charles Barkley pointed out, “just went through the motions” this season. Take that as a foreboding of how he’d quit on a poor NBA team – say, one that’s 9-61 right now.
Ingram, meanwhile, has the outside shot and passing skills that would help spread the floor around Okafor, Embiid and Noel (assuming at least two of those big men are here next season).
Oh, and if the 76ers somehow get lucky twice, and wind up with the Lakers’ top pick (a 44-percent chance that LA falls out of the top three), they should nab Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield. The senior went off for 36 points Sunday and has hit more than 46 percent of his 3-pointers this season.
Ingram and Hield? Now that’s a process I can believe in.
Howie Roseman: Yes, grab Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley if he falls to Pick 8, or take one of the QBs – Carson Wentz or Jared Goff. But if they’re gone, don’t fall into the zombie mindset that you can’t pick a running back in the first round.
Prevailing wisdom says any RB taken early is doomed to become the next Trent Richardson. While some cautionary tales have some merit, not every case is the same. Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott seems like that transcendent talent who can win Rookie of the Year and make his team about two games better. In the NFC East, two games better might be enough to win the division
Ahh, if they’d only listen to me.