Written by: Kyle Geimer
Welcome to the moment.
I’m about to say something that hasn’t been said in a long time
Philadelphia is relevant in the basketball world once more.
The “Process” has been well documented and thoroughly critiqued since Sam Hinkie started the reconstruction years ago. Philly fans were restless, tired of losing, and hungry for a winning team. Meanwhile the entire NBA judged, joked, and hated on their form of rebuilding, saying “tanking is the wrong way to become competitive.” The fans in Philadelphia have suffered long enough, and hopefully, for not too much longer.
The “Process” is coming to fruition and is now essentially complete after Bryan “Big Collar” Colangelo traded for the no. 1 overall pick and drafted Markelle Fultz from Washington. The young man has the most potential of any player in the draft and he is saying all the right things. He is a proven college talent who is going to come in, work hard and be the perfect fit on and off the court for this team.
The city has fallen in love with former no. 3 pick Joel Embiid, who Markelle rightfully stated could be the mayor of Philadelphia if he chose to run. Embiid not only put together some historic numbers during his limited rookie campaign, but he connected with the fans and showed heart on the court. He is a once in a generation talent with an unlimited ceiling. He will be the dominating force in this league for years to come and we should all buckle up for an entertaining, hopefully healthy, 2017-2018 season.
Dario did in fact come over, much to the surprise of the Hinkie haters. And he came over in a big way. The ROY snub was extremely impressive, showing he can do a lot of great things on both ends of the court and he is willing to compete at a high level. “The Homie” averaged 12.8ppg 6.3rpg and 2.2apg in his 26mpg during his rookie year. His intangibles have also caught the eyes of the Philly faithful, his hustle and personality have won over the traditionally tough Philly crowd and they’re all in on Super Dario.
Robert Covington is a proven defender, dare I say elite. RoCo finished in fourth place in the voting for DPOY this year. His three-point shot is coming along and he mirrors the toughness of the city that he plays for. Covington came up big this past season and played a ton of meaningful minutes. He will be an essential piece to this team as they move forward. Last year’s no. 1 pick, Ben Simmons has the chance to be like Joel Embiid, a generational player. The Aussie has an immense amount of talent, skill, and work ethic. He showcased his superior skills during his summer league campaign (check out his summer league highlights if you haven’t already). His vision, passing, and athleticism are second to none among players his age and guess what…he’s only going to get better.
Now let’s talk about “the other guys”, no not Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. I’m talking about TJ McConnell (the most clutch player in NBA history), Richaun Holmes, Nik Stauskas, TLC, and Jahlil Okafor. All of these guys are bench players who were forced to either be starters or play big, important minutes last season. Each player got better, smarter, and stronger because they had to step up. Now the Sixers bench shows experience, leadership, and competence. TJ McConnell can be to the sixers what Matthew Dellavedova was to the Cavs championship team, TLC/Stauskas can be the JR Smiths, while Holmes can be that sparkplug off the bench like Andre Iguodala (gone but not forgotten).
The chemistry on this team is off the charts, it’s clear in the TV interviews, Instagram stories, and Twitter videos. Each player has bought into the “Process” and their role in it. This is an aspect that cannot be overlooked. Let’s not look at skill for a second when I mention the Warriors, I dare you to find one team that likes each other more than they do. They get along, they root for each other, and they accept their roles for the sake of winning. These Sixers are the same way and our city is right there with them, just as Oakland is with the Warriors.
The east is an extremely weak, top heavy conference with middle-of-the-pack teams starting their own reconstruction like the Bulls, Hawks, and Pacers. The 76ers will be right in the thick of it when the season rolls around to the playoff push. Sure, they will need to work through the kinks early on, but with the support of this rabid fan base and guidance from Brett Brown, a coach ready to prove himself, the sixers will surge into a playoff spot. As this article was written, Vegas released their NBA championship odds and the 76ers have the eighth best odds of winning it all next season.
Get ready NBA fans…
The process is complete.
The time is now.
Welcome to the moment.