By Rafael Bandayrel
In the 2015-16 season, the Philadelphia 76ers went 10-72, just a loss shy of having the absolute worst record in NBA history.
As absurd as it sounds, the 10-win Sixers only needed two years to transform into a serious championship contender and a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference.
When Allen Iverson left, he took with him everything that’s special in Philadelphia. In turn, the Sixers have become a solid at best team with no real upside for the next decade.
And then “the Process” happened.
Former Sixers General Manager Sam Hinkie performed an experiment that caused him his job in exchange for a shot at relevancy. Hinkie drove the Sixers to the ground, tanking shamelessly to make sure his franchise gets a coveted high draft pick every single year.
And where has “the Process” gotten Philadelphia? It got them to the third seed of the East and to the second round of the playoffs.
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons – the products of “the Process” – impressed in their playoff debuts as Philly gentleman swept a pesky and better-coached Miami Heat squad. They shattered expectations by claiming the third seed and advancing to the second round with ease.
But how is today’s Sixers different from AI’s team or Andre Igoudola’s (AI 2.0) band?
Embiid and Simmons have the tools to become all-time greats. The Cameroonian big-man – as long as he stays healthy – is an impossible match-up for any player in the league. He is quick and unbelievably strong, plus he can shoot from beyond the arc.
Simmons, on the other hand, poses another problem for Philly’s his defenders. He has the power and quickness of LeBron James with Magic Johnson’s feel and vision.
“The Process” did not just turn the 76ers into a competitive team once again; it gave them tools to build a dynasty. And with LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers showing glaring flaws in the first round, this year might not be too early for a finals return for the Sixers.