Who remembers the time of the “process”? What a glorious time in Sixers history. I can’t remember the joy I felt preparing to watch my hometown team get bludgeoned every night by every team in the league, night after night. These teams were so bad that fans went to the Wells Fargo Center just to see the stars of the visiting team. What nerve ! We also had stars!
Ja Karr Sampson
And the best player since Michael Jeffery Jordan retired:
We had everything!!! Philly was the mecca of the basketball world for a few years. We were untouchable.
Ok, I’m lying. The Philadelphia 76ers were beyond awful. There are no words to describe how horrible these teams were. But, much to Stephen A. Smith’s chagrin, it was part of then-CEO Sam Hinkie’s plan. Using the NBA’s draft system against the NBA, Hinkie deliberately tanked for years to get the top picks of those years to bring elite talent to the city of Brotherly Love.
It worked. Somehow.
Three of those first four picks no longer wear Sixers uniforms. Markelle Fultz, Jahlil Okafor and, more recently, Ben Simmons.
The fourth? Joel Embiid, five-time All Star, three-time All-NBA, two-time runner-up NBA MVP, 2021-2022 NBA champion and three-time defensive team selection.
Safe to say Hinkie offered Philadelphia an anchor that could carry the franchise into the next decade. And Embiid did that, and more.
But now, it’s safe to say that Joel Embiid’s days in Philadelphia are numbered.
How much longer will Joel Embiid wear the Sixers uniform?
Embiid is at the height of its early years. However, at 28, Embiid has had more than enough of his share of serious injuries. This year’s playoffs were another example of the wear and tear of league play that takes it physically. How much more can the 7-foot, 280-pound man handle? Add to the fact that the Sixers haven’t made it past the second round of the playoffs since 2001, these two factors can leave the front office, and even Joel himself, wondering if a move would be beneficial for both sides.
To add more context, the Sixers’ front office faces the same hurdle the previous regime, led by Billy King, failed to figure out in the age of AI: finding a complementary star to play with their player. of franchise. The Sixers failed to give Iverson the star power needed to maximize his glory days in the 2000s. Today, the Sixers’ front office, led by Daryl Morey and Elton Brand, is struggling to put the right pieces around Joel Embiid.
They try though.
Morey and company traded a disgruntled and stagnant Simmons for James Harden this year in a blockbuster trade, but what they received was anything but what they anticipated. James Harden hasn’t aged well and that hasn’t helped Joel Embiid in any way in this series, or in the first-round series against Toronto.
Does Harden stay after this season if the Sixers go down in six against the Heat? No one is certain. But it’s not the long term answer to supplement Embiid. So that brings the Sixers back to square one.
Whatever happens in Game 6, one thing is certain: Philadelphia is heading into uncertain waters this offseason. Perhaps the “process” never ended. It took on different guises throughout the journey. And if the process is still processing, then something is still wrong.
Hope this can be fixed.