Photo courtesy of WWOS - Nine
By: Glen Ivol
It’s been a long time since Sam Hinkie first talked about the process in 2013, and in that time, the Sixers went from irrelevant to the team everyone was talking about. Ben Simmons and Co. led the team on a 16-game winning streak to close the season, Joel Embiid stayed relatively healthy in terms of knees/ankles, and Fultz showed he’s not completely broken. Add on to that 52 wins and a first round victory in 5 games over the Miami Heat and you’ve got a team that blew away the expectations. With the season coming to an abrupt end after the loss to the Celtics, there are few ways to view this season. First, as mentioned, this season exceeded anyone’s wildest predictions. Making the playoffs was considered ambitious at the beginning of the season, with many experts finding it hard for a team that was so young to come together so quickly and find their groove in the first season. Then, everyone said Embiid was crazy for thinking 50 wins and home-court advantage was a possibility. Then, the Sixers drew the worst matchup for them, the Miami Heat, and would be dispatched from the playoffs quickly. We all know how those possibilities turned out. The second point of view is the Sixers blew a very winnable series against an undermanned Celtics team. The Sixers-Celtics renewed rivalry is great for the NBA and can only get better from here.
So, what’s next? As Embiid said, the Process never ends and their goal is to get to the conference finals next year. The Sixers have a lot of money to spend, the young talent needed to recruit, an abundance of draft picks, and the assets team look for in a trade should a star become available (looking at you, Kawhi Leonard). The Sixers beginning part of The Process is complete: be bad enough and lose enough to give you the maximum chances to hit gold in the lottery. Part two is underway: start to win and compete in the playoffs. Now though, is the tough part, part three: build a championship-caliber team that complements its young nucleus. That has to start this summer. The young players cheapness and team’s financial freedom won’t last forever. The Sixers will be in the top 3-5 for most cap space, depending on who returns and who goes and have the most appeal of any contender with money. There are splashes to be made, however the team would like, whether that’s loading up a brink truck and delivering it to LeBron or Paul George or shipping off a bundle of assets and draft picks.
Who would have thought the Sixers would be in this position so soon? The Process is starting to bear fruit with two of the brightest young stars in the game and limitless possibilities this summer to take the next step. Sometimes you just have to trust it.
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