Wed. Sep 28th, 2022
One of the more highly anticipated summer interviews was recently released as Ben Simmons went on the Old Man and the Three Podcast with JJ Redick where they discussed various topics. Simmons has been almost entirely out of the public eye over the past year and a half as he did not suit up for the Sixers’ 2021-22 season before being traded to the Nets at the deadline. Simmons was fairly open in the interview and touched on many controversial topics surrounding his on-court play and his relationship with Philadelphia. One topic that Redick and Simmons dove into was the mindset of “The Process” era of Sixers basketball and if it can be considered a success.


Ben Simmons’ Role in The Process

While Joel Embiid embodies The Process in a way few other players could, Ben Simmons is just as connected to this era of Sixers basketball. He was the first number one overall pick during this time and the only one that the franchise landed without having to trade up (Markelle Fultz). Simmons and Embiid became the two cornerstone players of the organization and took the team to greater heights just as it was hoped during their four seasons together.

Just as Redick pointed out in the interview, the Sixers did miss on a number of picks during this time. While the mindset of collecting as many picks as possible makes sense, this only is effective if the selections turn into players that make a positive impact. When looking back at the draft selections during the time names like Jahlil Okafor, Zhaire Smith, Nerlens Noel, and Markelle Fultz produced far less positive on-court impact compared to Simmons.

The current Nets standout is correct in the aspect of The Process changing the outlook of the organization. In the first full season Simmons and Embiid spent together, the Sixers’ record increased from 28-54 in 2016-17 to 52-30 in 2017-18. They also snapped the five-year playoff drought in Simmons’ rookie year.


Did The Process Work?

While the progress the Sixers have made since their historically bad seasons is notable, the jury is still out on whether it will be labeled a success. Simmons is correct in his statement about the successful effort of “building Philly up,” but the team has yet to reach the heights that the end goal of a championship thus far. The type of leap the team took was by design based on the collection of assets that occurred and many are rightfully frustrated at the continued failure to make it past the second round of the postseason.

Both Simmons and Redick also reflected on the 2018-19 postseason loss at the hands of the Toronto Raptors due to Kawhi Leonard hitting one of the greatest shots in NBA history. If the shot had not fallen and the Sixers had advanced in that matchup, the narrative would certainly be much different. This was undoubtedly Philadelphia’s best chance at a championship to date and watching the Raptors go on to take the title themselves after losing in the final second made it that much more difficult to swallow.

With Joel Embiid in the prime of his career and surrounded by his most complete roster to date, there is still plenty of reason for optimism for The Process to be completed. The Sixers are certainly disappointed Simmons did not continue to grow with the organization and be a part of the success moving forward. However, both sides have moved on following the hectic breakup last year. The former number one overall pick will have his sights set on contending for a title with the Nets while Philly has a renewed optimism surrounding their postseason chances. It is great to see a positive reflection on his time with the Sixers from Simmons, but further battles between him and his former team are just right around the corner.

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