Ten years later, trusting in “the process,” the 76ers still fall short

On a Tuesday afternoon in May 2013 the Philadelphia 76ers they officially put a Stanford-educated egghead in charge of rebuilding their organization, who had a bold vision for the future.

“We talk a lot about the process — not the outcome — and trying to consistently get all the best information possible and consistently make good decisions. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but you have to reevaluate them all.” — On Sam Hinkie’s Philosophy May 14, 2013

And with those words, “The Process” was born. On the 10-year anniversary of being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, the 35-year-old Daryl Morey is an acolyte To lead the franchise into the future, the Boston Celtics added a new layer of schadenfreude to The Process era.

The process was interrupted

Ironically, Hinkie’s manifestation of The Process is a 280-pound, 7-foot-1 low-post MVP with a hint of contemporary floor spacing. The spirit of Hinkie’s progressive fueling experiment lives on Joel Embiid and through current Sixers general manager Daryl Morey. The bleak reality is that Hinkie has ignored the tangible dynamics that connect teams on and off the floor. His early rosters regularly scraped the salary cap, and Philadelphia’s 10-72 record after 2016 demoralized the team, the fan base and left him open to criticism from the league office. He could not combine the eye test and psychological assessment used by scouts with his quantitatively driven analytical methods. Hinkie was able to crunch the numbers, but he couldn’t complement that edginess with the ordinary basketball of professional basketball.

overtime”The process” viewed from the outside, it has turned into a cosmic joke. Some of the purportedly brightest minds in basketball regularly botched the job or were often struck by lightning. Former No. 1 Markelle Fultz forgot to shoot, Jahlil Okafor went from Rookie of the Year candidate to bench warmer in record time, Ben Simmonshistorical aversion to jump shots belongs in the Bad Basketball Hall of Fame and that before he developed the woe in the paint against Atlanta in Game 7 of the 2021 semifinals.

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Mikal Bridges remains the best player not named Embiid drafted by the Sixers. The local Villanova national champion, whose mother worked in the organization, was thrilled to be drafted on draft night by the Sixers before being unceremoniously traded for a Texas Tech swingman who missed his entire rookie season with a sprain. allergic reaction and never worked his way into an NBA rotation. Bridges was one of the catalysts for Phoenix’s runner-up finish in the NBA Finals, being named All-Defense while guarding key offensive playmakers and becoming a two-way cornerstone. For Brooklyn’s franchise rebuild after the trade deadline.

Philly bleed talent and playoff losses

The Sixers aren’t just losing prospects, they’re losing a playoff series in memorable fashion. Some haunting experiences cannot be suppressed. This weekend marked the four-year anniversary of Kawh Leonard turning entire Philly families into emotional wrecks.

James Harden on Sunday He was so spooked by another legacy-defining game that the only reasonable explanation for his performance is that he went down sometime after Game 5 and Sixers coaches refused to share that his appearance would start Game 7. It was the worst defeat in the league. era of the whole process. Through five games, Philadelphia held the series and returned to South Broad Street. In the last two games of the series, Harden scored 22 points, shot 25 percent from the field and had 10 steals. As I warned you first roundHarden’s reduced burst and expanding waistline exacerbate his traditional game decline during a streak where everyone has adapted to his tricks.

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Jayson Tatum’s ferocity driving Boston’s comeback and Philly’s latest Hindenburg makes Philly’s elimination all the more excruciating. In 2017, the Colangelo administration traded up with Boston to acquire Fultz over Tatum, while Boston deftly acquired the top player in the draft two picks later.

Then there’s Jimmy Butler, who was Philly’s sherpa on their highest rise in 2019. One common misconception is that Butler decided not to re-sign Butler so Philly could re-sign Tobias Harris. In fact, Harris was more palatable to Simmons, but there was never any Harris vs. About Butler. As Embiid and others revealed years later, Butler was gone A component of Simmons’ hold he was happy after already signing the extension. They also caused a spacing problem. Butler’s ball proclivities never matched Simmons’ prowess on the floor. As a third man who needed space in a congested lane, he was the odd man out, leaving Embiid alone to wade through the mud.

The process stalled with Ben Simmons

A rational organization would have taken note of Butler and Embiid’s undeniable chemistry and contrasted it with the poor dynamic Simmons had on and off the floor… the consequence of almost everyone. At the time, Simmons was still considered a franchise player with strong upside in certain corners of the league, who could net the Sixers the likes of Chris Paul (four years younger) or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. As usual, Philly failed the test in the 2019 offseason.

For years I was also a dedicated member of The Process cult. And like most cults, when the desired results never came as predicted, and then when Hinkie resigned in disgrace, I rationalized Hinkie as a martyr and filed his 13-page resignation letter as pseudo-religion. At that moment, my Process glasses fell off and I realized that this organization was the punch line in the dark comedy in the sky.

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Since then, JImmy Butler he led the Miami Heat to three Eastern Conference Finals in four years, and in 2020, he suffered one loss in the NBA Finals. This year, Miami was again on the edge of the finals as the eighth seed. Still, he still talks about regrets not having Embiid as his teammate.

James Harden is not that guy

Butler’s steely determination is the exact opposite of Harden’s passivity when the going gets tough. The universe laughed when Harden sank the game-winning corner 3 in Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2.

Harden has always been a rich man’s Ben Simmons in the postseason, but for different reasons. Harden’s fart in the playoffs is usually attributed to shooting too many lazy pull-backs, chasing calls that inflated his stats during the regular season and manipulating the refs to help keep the rhythm going. During Game 7, Harden was out of bucket shots for struggling shooters who needed an adrenaline shot from the stars on the road. Harden was ready for summer vacation.

In his last three fourth quarters, Harden has been held scoreless in 32 minutes, and he can’t even point to the game-changing defense that the guy he was traded for could stand on. Al Horford, 36, scored nearly as many points as Harden did in Game 7 and rebounded or contested shots. After Game 5, Joe Mazzulla finally restored Robert Williams to the five-man starting lineup that nearly led Boston to the Finals a year ago.

Sunday’s Game 7 was the seventh time Doc Rivers has lost a series he’s led, either 3-1 or 3-2. A normal organization would find a new voice for that locker room, but the 76ers are numb to the pain. There were no tears. You can only laugh at how comically underwhelming The Process is.

Follow DJ Dunson on Twitter: @brain sportex

Source: https://deadspin.com/nba-playoffs-76ers-the-process-joel-embiid-ben-simmons-1850437284