How the Process became the Procedure: will the patient survive?
Philadelphia pushed in all its chips with the Tobias Harris trade, which was necessary because they pushed in most of their chips in the Jimmy Butler trade, which was necessary because they whiffed on their last two draft picks. Somehow the Process has turned into an endless series of GM interventions to keep the patient’s chances to represent the East as this year’s sacrificial lamb to be gutted by the Warriors.
Let’s look back to those happy days before Danny Ainge fleeced the 76ers in 2017. (Note to the Pelicans: the Nets Heist was in 2013, and the 76ers heist was in 2017. You’ve been warned.) What would Philadelphia’s roster be if the 76ers didn’t make ANY moves since 2017?
Starters (had the highest net rating of any starting 5 in the NBA last year):
Bench (#22, with -3.4 point differential last year)
2017 #3 pick ($8.4M)
Mikal Bridges, 2018 #10 pick ($3.5M)
TJ McConnell ($1.6M)
Landry Shamet, 2018 #26 pick ($1.7M)
Furkan Kormaz ($1.7M)
Rashun Holmes ($1.6M)
Jahlil Okafor ($5.0M)
Jerryd Bayless ($8.5M)
Nik Stauskas ($3.8M)
Amir Johnson ($1.5M)
Khyri Thomas (2018 #38 pick)
Isaac Bonga (2018 #38 pick)
Ray Spalding (2018 #56 pick)
Kostas Antetokounmpo (2018 #60 pick)
2019 Draft Assets
Sacramento Kings #1 Pick
Philadelphia 76ers #1 Pick
Approximately $40,000,000 in cap space.
In the 2018 Playoffs, Philadelphia was the favorite to win the Eastern Conference. What happened?
- Robert Covington had a nightmarish series against the Celtics
- Brett Brown was revealed to be one of those coaches who can nurture and develop a young team, but can’t take them to the promised land. He was completely outcoached by Brad Stevens, and that’s never going to change.
- Philadelphia’s front office panicked and thought they needed to add more stars to a team that was a couple of years ahead of schedule.
The 76ers have the best starting five in the East, but there is still no guarantee they will reach the NBA Finals.
Will all the moves be worth it, given the fact the team will lose one of Butler or Harris, and continue to have a weak bench going forward?
What if… looking at the future
While the do-nothing roster wouldn’t be as strong as the current one, wouldn’t the bench be better? Mikal Bridges is better than anyone on their current bench and is on a cheap rookie deal.
Assuming Philadelphia can’t beat Milwaukee or Toronto with the do-nothing roster, how would they not sign a top free agent?
If Philadelphia had done nothing, they would have six core players under 26 (Embiid, Simmons, Saric, 2017 #3 pick, Bridges, Shamet), plus Covington (28) and Redick (34), their 2019 #1 pick, the Kings’ 2019 #1 pick, and $40 MILLION DOLLARS in CAP SPACE.
Now imagine they picked anybody besides Fultz.
With all that cap space, they could sign any top free agent this summer. I think sticking to the Process would have created a team that could contend for the next 5–8 years.