BOSTON — The Philadelphia 76ers won 52 games this season and a round in the NBA playoffs, signaling that “The Process” has been a success so far.
The 76ers, and former general manager Sam Hinkie, in particular, took a lot of criticism for losing many games in order to draft high and secure top talent — not really a crazy idea, right? Philadelphia won just 19 games in 2013-14, 18 in 2014-15, 10 in 2015-16 and 28 last season.
Critics of “The Process” have been pretty quiet of late, though. Hinkie’s vision produced, among other things, two franchise cornerstone stars in point guard Ben Simmons and center Joel Embiid.
The 76ers’ 2017-18 season ended Wednesday night with a Game 5 loss to the Boston Celtics to close their season-round series. Despite the disappointing end for Philly, Embiid believes “The Process” has been worth it.
“I don’t think we were trying to lose on purpose, as far as the players,” Embiid said. “No players in the league go out there every night and want to lose on purpose. It was just unfortunate it happened that way. But I feel like everything happens for a reason.
“Sam Hinkie did an amazing job. Looking at everything we got, he’s a big part of it. I gotta give him a lot of credit. Coach, he stayed within the system. … Look at what it did this year. We went from 28 to 52 wins. I’ve said this before, the process is never going to end. It’s a process to get to the playoffs, we did it. It’s another one to get to the conference finals. We didn’t do it, so next year it’s definitely our goal. Then it’s another one to get to the Finals and win it. When you actually win it, you start the following year and do it all over again. The process is never going to end. Looking at where we are, it paid off. We have a bright future and a great coaching staff. I hope that everybody is going to be here for a long time.”
The 76ers certainly have a bright future. In addition to Simmons and Embiid, the roster is full of quality players who fit a specific role. Dario Saric, who played very well in Game 5, has become a very capable starter. Robert Covington is a solid 3-and-D guy, and 2017 No. 1 overall draft pick Markelle Fultz has a lot of promise despite an injury-riddled rookie campaign.
“The Process” is far from complete, but the early results are very promising. The best way to build a winner in the NBA is to lose and hit on your lottery picks. The 76ers have enjoyed lots of success using this model, and plenty more success seems likely in the near future.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports