What qualifies the Process as successful for the Sixers?

Sam Hinkie | Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Sam Hinkie | Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Life is about the journey, not the destination. But for the Process and the Philadelphia 76ers, what destination makes this five-year odyssey successful?

The tumultuous last five years for the Philadelphia 76ers have tested the mental fortitude of the fanbase. As the team slogged through three seasons in a row with less than 20 wins, the team’s supporters grew tired of the Process and ready for some results.

The Sixers have finally arrived at that juncture in the Process, which begs the question, what will qualify the Process as successful?

To start off, it’s important to note how dominant NBA franchises in recent years became successful. The three most successful NBA teams of the past decade or so are the Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, and San Antonio Spurs, so to gain reference to what will make the Process a success, let’s look at how they built their championship teams.


The Spurs have always been good. They have not posted a losing record since 1997, the year Gregg Popovich took over as head coach. They built their team on Tim Duncan and David Robinson, drafted and developed players well, and won all five of their franchise titles since ’97.

San Antonio epitomizes longevity and basketball intelligence, and their success in the past 20 years should come as no surprise thanks to their emphasis on developing young talent and playing as a team.


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The Miami Heat won the title with Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal in 2006, then two seasons later, they won just 15 games and drafted Michael Beasley with the second overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

They squeezed into the playoffs in 2009 and 2010, and then they signed LeBron James and won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.


The Golden State Warriors’ path to success resembles the Sixers’ path. They toiled in basketball purgatory from 1995 to 2013, making the playoffs just once during that stretch.

Golden State never won a top-three pick in the draft, but they drafted well, grabbing Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the mid-to-late lottery and Draymond Green in the second round.

General Managers Larry Riley and Bob Myers only botched two high picks in the seasons leading up to their team’s dominance: Ekpe Udoh in 2010 with the sixth-overall pick and Harrison Barnes in 2013 with the seventh-overall pick.

Before signing Kevin Durant as a free agent, the Warriors won an NBA title.

The Sixers & the Process

So, back to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Process closely resembles the Warriors’ rebuild, but the Warriors were mediocre for two decades before they drafted Curry, Thompson, and Green. The Sixers have been mediocre or worse since 2002, meaning 76ers fans have not waited as long for success as Warriors fans did.

Even though the Warriors were really bad for a longer period of time than the Sixers, Philly has all the pressure. No franchise had enough gall to blatantly game the system the way Sam Hinkie and company did.

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Additionally, the Philadelphia 76ers’ draft picks came into the league with more expectations than the Warriors’ picks did. Scouts touted Ben Simmons as the next LeBron since he was in high school, pundits saw shades of Hakeem Olajuwon in Joel Embiid as soon as he stepped on the floor at Kansas, and Markelle Fultz was the consensus top pick all year when he played at Washington.

With all that pressure on Philadelphia’s shoulders, the franchise needs to aim high. That’s why Philly needs to shoot for three titles to ensure the success of the Process. Three titles in ten years would get the Sixers close to dynasty status, and three will alleviate any thoughts of whether or not the team reached its full potential.

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Embiid and Simmons have the potential to become the best players to ever play center and point guard, respectively, and Fultz has the capability to become the next James Harden. That core of players, along with Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and whoever the Sixers draft in June, has the potential to dominate the league for years.