Philadelphia 76ers Trust the Process to Get into NBA Playoffs

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Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (left) and Boston Celtics' Aron Bynes in action during the NBA London Game 2018 at the O2 Arena, London. (Photo by Simon Cooper/PA Images via Getty Images)
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Let’s face it, when a team drafts in a top-five slot four years in a row, they are bound to have success eventually. This season, the Philadelphia 76ers clinched a playoff spot for the first time since the 2011-12 season. They currently sit fourth in the weak Eastern Conference with a 43-30 record. Some could argue this could be a result of the “Trust the Process” movement in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia 76ers Trust the Process to Get  into NBA Playoffs

Unfortunately for them, the Sixers will not be winning a championship because they are not in Golden State or Houston and LeBron James is not on the roster. Fans are just happy to have a winning team and do not care about the historical bad stretch for their team because they “trust the process.”

What is the Process?

Basically, “Trust the Process” is a phrase used over the years by fans to make themselves feel better about having an embarrassingly bad team. The term originated after former General Manager and President of Basketball Operations, Sam Hinkie, made comments about the rebuilding process.

“We talk a lot about process—not outcome—and trying to consistently take all the best information you can and consistently make good decisions,” Hinkie said on May 14, 2013.

The term “process” blew up all over Philly social media. For a team that had Ish Smith, Hollis Thompson, and Jerami Grant playing consistent minutes, the vibe was rather upbeat. Why? The so-called “Process”.

Was it a process? It might have been. The front office didn’t seem to want to win, as seen by the teams they ran out there. Over a span of four seasons, the Sixers had a 75-253 record.

This was the ultimate tank and that is where the epidemic started in the NBA. It seems that the process was just to be bad and draft high. Once the top picks were in Sixers’ uniforms, just pray that they were good. Fortunately for Philly, they are.

Draft Picks

After a 19-63 season in 2013-2014, the Sixers selected Joel Embiid third overall and traded for 12th pick Dario Saric. Embiid was sidelined for two full seasons due to injury. He was held to just 31 games last season but came into this year healthy.

The following draft, the Sixers were in the third spot again and passed on Kristaps Porzingis to take former Duke big man Jahlil Okafor. That didn’t work but after a 10-win season in 2015-2016, they hit a home run in the draft.

Ben Simmons was selected first overall by the Sixers in the 2016 NBA Draft. He was set to join a team that would have been underdogs against Kentucky or Villanova. Like Embiid, Simmons missed his first season due to injury.

In his rookie campaign, Simmons is averaging 15.8 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists per game. He has posted 10 triple-doubles this season that will most likely end with a Rookie of the Year award. Simmons was an All-Star game snub but Embiid represented well.

In his first full season, Embiid is scoring 23.3 points per game and grabbing 11.1 rebounds. Embiid was voted as a starter in the All-Star game and has proven to be one of the most versatile big men in the NBA. Embiid, Porzingis, and Karl-Anthony Towns are showing what the future of the NBA is going to be for seven-footers.

The Sixers have another first overall pick in Markelle Fultz on their roster but he’s following the injury trend. Fultz missed most of the season but is expected to be ready for the playoffs.

So, is this team a championship team? No. But the front office had the fan base believing something special was on the horizon and it seems to be here with Embiid and Simmons.

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