It’s Over; The Process Was A Failure
I honestly don’t know where to begin when it comes to what occurred in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday. Obviously, the Sixers got their show run by the Boston Celtics on their way to another 2nd round exit, but this goes further than just the end of this season. This series was a culmination of the past decade of Sixers basketball, and it was a microcosm of what has gone wrong since Philly decided to undergo an aggressive rebuild (see: tanking) under former GM Sam Hinkie. The Joel Embiid era for Philly has gone much like this most recent series went: immense talent, a winning basketball team, great opportunities, and ultimately some mind-numbing mistakes that undo all of that to crush us in the end. We’ve seen it year after year regardless of supporting cast, head coach, GM, health of the team, or anything else. There’s only one conclusion to be drawn at this point. The Process is over, and it was a failure.
The Process and Joel Embiid now go hand in hand, but it wasn’t always this way. Sam Hinkie started his strategy of tanking for draft picks before he even thought about Joel Embiid as a potential draft pick of this franchise. But, of course, the crown jewel was always Embiid, who fell to the Sixers by chance due to a break in his foot coming out of Kansas. Even the best part of The Process was a completely lucky break, no pun intended, that was not a piece of some master plan. Outside of Embiid, the Sixers haven’t been remotely lucky. Just take a look at a list of draft picks from this era, and you’ll see how truly awful the execution has been for this team. Jahlil Okafor, Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, Mikal Bridges being traded on draft night for Zhaire Smith… the list goes on, and that’s only the 1st round selections. On top of that, it seems that just about every roster move the Sixers have made since has had some type of backfire. Trading Jimmy Butler. Paying Tobias Harris. Failing to find a competent back up to Embiid. Endless role players that don’t fit or don’t perform. It would be almost impressive if it wasn’t so infuriating.
And yet, in spite of all the pitfalls of The Process’ attempt at roster building, the Sixers still wound up as an incredibly competitive team. They’ve made the playoffs the past 6 seasons, and for 4 of them, had real championship aspirations. What do they have to show for it, though? Absolutely nothing. The Sixers’ last appearance in an Eastern Conference Championship series is still in 2001, which is an embarrassing drought, especially for a team in this type of market. How is it possible that a team with this much talent can’t find a way to win a 2nd round playoff series? Well, it’s partially because the Sixers have never figured out how to build a roster around Joel Embiid. That’s a failure of the organization, and plenty of people share blame there.
The process was a failure.
— Connor Thomas (@ConnorThomas975) May 14, 2023
This year, though, things have changed. It’s no longer Embiid’s supporting cast. For the first time in his career, it is fair to question whether or not the big man can ever win it all. He shrunk in Game 7, and in a closeout opportunity in Game 6. He finally got his MVP trophy this year, but is no closer to winning a championship. Faith is fading, and for good reason. Joel Embiid is an incredible basketball player, maybe one of the greatest to ever step on an NBA court. That doesn’t make him a winner though. All he, and the rest of his process-mates, have done for this organization is gotten them 1 round further in the playoffs. There’s no universe where that is worth the garbage basketball that this city had to withstand to get to this point. You can’t trust the organization, you can’t trust the super stars, and you have no success to show for the strategy that got you here. That is why, as of yesterday, The Process is an absolute failure.