Thank God for the Philadelphia Eagles. Thank God for Nick Foles.
Without the miracle of that combination and the incredible season Carson Wentz had before he went down with the injury, the addition of a small school product like Jay Ajayi mid-season and the masterful way Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson put it all together.
At long last, Philadelphians have a championship to call their own after a decade had gone by since the Phillies won their latest World Series, ousting Tampa Bay in 2008.
NBA fans have been waiting … and waiting … and waiting … for what has now been 35 years.
Larry Brown (Coach of the Year) and Allen Iverson (Most Valuable Player) got close in 2001, fighting and clawing their way into the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, but would fall 4-1 despite having Defensive Player of the Year Dikembe Mutombo and Sixth Man of the Year Aaron McKie.
Since then, it’s been akin to watching the Agave franzosinii grow to the point of blossoming - a process that takes 40 painstaking years.
The process. Trust the process.
Tanks, but no tanks.
In some corners of thought, it appears that the process has worked, though I would call 32-26 (.552) nominal success, and that would be an optimistic perspective.
Injuries besieged the team’s draft picks early on in this process, with high draft picks like Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid spending more time on the pines than on the hardwood where former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie envisioned the team’s resurrection occurring.
Michael Carter-Williams’ best NBA season was in a Sixer uniform, but by fans’ expectations it wasn’t enough. There are those who even feel new head coach Brett Brown underperformed out of the gate, though I would argue that Brown is wrapping up his fifth season, which isn’t bad for someone who was painted tenuous at best.
The team had a losing streak of 28, not once, but twice during The Process.
Jahlil Okafor came on board thick with expectation and, although he had nice bursts here and there, Okafor would also under deliver in fans’ eyes and succumbed to a torn meniscus in his first season.
It’s the names that no one expected that have made The Process evolve into what it is today. Guys like Isaiah Canaan, Robert Covington, and of course, Jerry Colangelo.
Seemingly, despite coming from good stock in Daryl Morey’s front office lineup, Hinkie was the chink in the armor of The Process and ultimately had to fall on his sword, allowing former Phoenix executive like Colangelo to come on board.
With Colangelo in the front office, anyone who knew those names knew change was imminent.
Despite the numerous trades, stockpiling of draft picks, and seemingly good selections with the lottery picks he acquired, Hinkie proved he was no Danny Ainge when it came to running a basketball franchise.
Tanks for the memories, Sam.
However, Colangelo did acquire some gems from Hinkie’s moves. Many just needed time to heal. Some like Noel and Okafor needed to go, but Embiid is playing like a man on a mission and is certainly the anchor of this franchise.
Many would argue, just the way Sam Hinkie envisioned him playing had he never been injured.
Where would the kid from Yaounde, Cameroon by way of Gainesville, Florida have been in 2014-15 and 2015-16 had it not been for that bothersome right foot?
Likely where he is today, dropping 23.9 a night (13th in the league) and grabbing 11.1 (6th) while swatting 1.8 per game (tied for 5th with Houston’s Clint Capela). With 2017-18 maybe even being MVP-like numbers.
Pepper in players like Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and Dario Saric, and you have a nice core - like the Atlanta Hawks had in Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap and Al Horford - before Hawks management dismantled the team.
To be honest, I’d put these Sixers up against those Hawks every day of the week. Because we all know Al Horford is no Joel Embiid - not by any stretch of the imagination.
And, of course, there are the complementary players of the franchise like Marco Bellinelli, T.J. McConnell, and the aforementioned Covington who is hitting from 40+ percent from the field and 12.6 a night.
Hinkie may truly have been onto something. Colangelo may very well have inherited a well-stocked team in the “Steve-Kerr-won-with-what-Mark-Jackson-built” fashion.
Brighter days seem to be coming in Philadelphia with this iteration of the 76ers.
If Colangelo can keep them together. If trainer Kevin Johnson and the medical staff of Christopher Dodson, Barry Kenneally, Brad Tucker and Peter Vitanzo, Jr. can keep everyone healthy. And if Coach Brown can get the most out of all this raw talent, better days than .552 are most certainly ahead.
I feel you, Philly fans. I’m watching for the blossoming right along with you.
But, at the same time, I’m truly hoping these Philadelphia 76ers are a better show than the Agave franzosinii.
As spectacular as that plant is, it dies right after it blossoms.
And Philadelphia fans have seen that happen far too many times.
About This Blog
This is the official blog of the NBAyd show. All our correspondents you hear on the show post here, as well as show host Gary Ayd. Looking for more? Visit the premium blog in our members only area for full access to premium articles and commercial free shows!