“The Process” wasn’t supposed to happen overnight, and it hasn’t.
With that said, the Philadelphia 76ers are starting to turn heads in a big way, and they also have arguably the best young duo in the NBA in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
For fans who aren’t familiar with the 76ers’ strategy, washingtonpost.com nails it:
The Process, in which the 76ers have been intentionally bad for several seasons in order to obtain high picks in the NBA draft, boils down to this:
Lose now so we can win later.
The 76ers’ team credo is: Trust The Process.
Whether fans want to agree with this process or not, Philadelphia, at the time of writing, is No. 5 in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 11-8. For all it’s worth, this team is 5.5 games out of first place in the East.
Now, the 76ers have had some really bad seasons just to make it to this point (for example, in recent years, this team went 19-63, 18-64, 10-72 and 28-54), which was part of the process, and they have also had some draft picks that didn’t quite work out according to plan (such as Jahlil Okafor, a very talented scorer who was drafted No. 3 overall in 2015, but doesn’t appear to be in the team’s long-term plans ).
It hasn’t been a perfect process, but it appears Philadelphia could compete for championships in the future as long as players like Embiid and Simmons can stay healthy, which hasn’t exactly been the case until this season (unfortunately, Markelle Fultz has been battling an injury during his rookie season).
Nevertheless, they have a strong core in Embiid and Simmons, as mentioned above, and there are high expectations surrounding guys like Fultz, who was picked No. 1 overall in this past summer’s draft, and Dario Saric, who was picked No. 12 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft.
According to Sixers fans, the new nickname is the "FEDS" (Fultz, Embiid, Dario, Simmons).. the FEDS are coming 🔥🔥🔥#TheProcess
— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 22, 2017
Embiid is averaging 22.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, and Simmons is putting up 18.1 points, 7.4 assists and 9.1 rebounds per game in basically his rookie season in the NBA (he missed his entire first season due to an injury). Simmons is being compared to LeBron James, and both players look like stars. It doesn’t hurt that Embiid is 7-f00t and Simmons is 6-foot-10.
Of course, guys like Robert Covington, who is averaging 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this season, and JJ Redick, who is putting up 15.8 points per game, have been coming up big during the 2017-18 season.
If Philadelphia landed a player like, say, LeBron James during the offseason, then it would likely compete for a championship during the 2018-19 season. Of course, landing LeBron is asking for a lot.
Even if that didn’t happen, Philadelphia has, and I promise this is the last time I bring this up, Embiid and Simmons, as well as Fultz. That trio alone — well, if all three meet expectations, continue to grow and can stay healthy — could end up turning Philadelphia into a yearly title contender. All three players were drafted in the top three by the 76ers. In fact, Embiid was the only one out of the trio who wasn’t drafted No. 1 overall, but he was still selected with the No. 3 pick.
No matter what happens in the future for the group of players mentioned above, and the 76ers as a whole, one thing is certain: Philadelphia is turning heads this season, and it looks like “The Process” has arrived, if you will.