Somewhere, Sam Hinkie (probably) sat in a dark room Wednesday night, occasionally pumping his fist between sips from his highball and inaudibly-mumbled phrases that sounded bitter and resentful. Everything he’d worked for had finally come to fruition, even if he was no longer happily employed enough to enjoy it.
The former general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers had been begging and preaching for fans to “trust the process” while the team went through an ugly, catastrophic rebuild. It got uglier when the NBA stepped in and essentially pushed Hinkie out, appointing USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo as the new man in charge. The process seemingly couldn’t be trusted any longer.
But on a night when former No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally made his NBA debut two years after being drafted, everything changed. The Process is back, and it’s here to stay.
The 7-foot-2 sensation dazzled in his first professional game, stuffing the stat sheet — and the Oklahoma City Thunder — in a 103-97 loss that was much closer than anyone expected it to be. His final line: 20 points (including a 3-pointer!), seven rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes of action.
To say Philly fans were fired up might be an understatement. At one point, with the Sixers up three points in the fourth quarter and Embiid at the line, they started chanting “Trust-The-Pro-Cess! Trust-The-Pro-Cess!”
Here’s some of the best highlights and reaction from the game.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images