Do you Still Trust the Sixers Process?
Jahlil Okafor scored 19 points on 8-of-15 from the field against the Mavs on Monday, adding 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks in 33 minutes.
Is he the star player the Sixers have been looking for? Will he be the guy the team can build around and begin to take a step in the right direction?
Okafor, along with Nerlens Noel have been two of the very few bright spots in what looks like another lost season. The Sixers have opened the season 0-11, but the team continues to preach patience to their fan base.
Is that fair?
Are you losing patience with Sam Hinkie and the Sixers plan?
The Sixers keep losing but the future looks bright to some, not so bright to others - depends on what your view of success is.
Is 42 wins, being the eighth seed in the eastern conference playoffs, and getting knocked out in the first round more successful than winning 18 games?
However, does winning 42 games set you up for long-term success? The Sixers proved from 2001 to 2013, when Sam Hinkie took over that they could not get out of the middle of the NBA field.
Alex Kennedy of BasketballInsider.com joined John McMullen and I on the Sports Bash to discuss the Sixers plan, he belives Sixers fans should continue to trust the process.
"I really do, I think this is a smart plan by the Sixers," Kennedy said on the Sports Bash. "This allows them to potentially land multiple star players and get back into the playoffs and contention real soon."
The Sixers were in the middle of the pack for years, they have just one 50 win season since 1990, that was the Allen Iverson led team that went to the NBA finals in the 2000-2002 season. One of the hardest things to do in the NBA is get out of mediocrity, to many basketball analyst, being stuck in the middle is perceived to being worse than hitting rock bottom which is where the Sixers currently sit - at the bottom of the NBA.
When the Sixers had guys like Jrue Holiday, Thad Young, Evan Turner, Andre Iguodala they were too good to land a top level draft pick, not good enough to make any noise in the playoffs - pretty much what is known as purgatory in NBA circles.
"When you talk to executives in the NBA, they often say the worst place to be in the NBA is that eighth or ninth spot in the conference," Kennedy explained. "You're just good enough to miss out on a difference-maker in the draft, but just bad enough to miss out on the playoff or the chance to contend."
While many people don't like the way Sam Hinkie and the Sixers have approached their rebuild, it might have been the best way to get out of the middle of the pack - hitting the floor.
"With the NBA's current system, they almost incentivise that," Kennedy stated. "I think it makes sense, but you have to make the most of your draft picks."
But the Sixers have been one of the worst teams in the NBA going on a third year in a row now causing many fans who supported the plan early in the process to bail. So is it acceptable that going into the third season of their rebuild, they still aren't fielding a competitive product?
"It's frustrating, you definitely want to see progress," Kennedy admitted. "It is reassuring though, it shows ownership is being very patient, they are saying carry out the plan, go ahead and keep doing this until we have a winning team. If you do this long enough at some point it's going to work. If Philly remains patient this should work out for them."
The Sixers feature Okafor, a 19-year old kid who already looks like a polished NBA low-post scorer. Nerlens Noel, who has elite NBA defensive talent, who had a typical game on Monday vs. Dallas scoring 12 points, adding 12 rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block.
Two other pieces have yet to step on the floor, adding to Sixers fans frustrating, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. Embiid will sit out the entire season for the second year in a row with a injured foot, many believe he is the star player that the team is looking for, but other are concerned that he many never step on the floor for the team. It has been reported that Saric plans to join the 76ers during the summer of 2016, he gives them a versatile, tough player that Coach Brett Brown said in an interview fans in Philly should enjoy watching.
"I think the city is going to see something extraordinarily competitive, very, very skilled and I think his personality, his style of play fits perfectly in this city."
The Sixers could have as many as four first round draft picks this coming June, adding more young talent to an already young core, but their are other ways the team can build if they need to, they will have the most cap space of any team in the NBA, plus with multiple first round picks they should be in position to pull the trigger on a major deal if they choose to go that route.
So the Sam Hinkie had two options when he was brought in to be the team's general manager - continue to build a team around Jrue Holiday, Thad Young, Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes or go forward with that you see now - starting from scratch.
Which way do you prefer?
Do you still trust the process?
(Listen to Alex Kenndey from Basketballinsiders.com dicuss the Sixers Plan)