Former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie tried a novel approach to rebuilding that ultimately got him run out of town. Technically, he resigned, but only after his decision-making power was taken away when the team brought in Bryan Colangelo to be the president of basketball operations — a move clearly designed to stop the consistent losing Hinkie was orchestrating by intentionally putting together incapable rosters.
Hinkie’s strategy became known as "The Process," which meant bottoming out year after year in order to have the best possible chance of landing one of the top picks in the draft, with the goal of one day adding a transcendent player to be the cornerstone of the franchise for years to come.
The Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel picks may not have worked out as planned, at least not yet. But now that Joel Embiid is finally healthy after missing his first two seasons due to injury, Hinkie’s Process has paid off. Embiid himself won’t stop talking about it …
… and the fans in Philly are now chanting it during home games every time he steps to the free throw line.
Before Sunday afternoon’s 112-108 loss to the Cavaliers, Sixers head coach Brett Brown explained why he believes the chants are a positive, despite the fact that they are seemingly aimed at mocking the organization for not believing in Hinkie’s plan.
"I do [like it]," Brown said, via ESPN. "I do. You know, I think we need something like that in this city and I’m not frowning upon that. We want to have some fun.
"I think it’s all good. I’m personally at a stage that you get — and I say this in a positive way — you’re sort of numb to scrutiny. You’re numb to taking the massive amounts of hits that we’re all — and I say it personally, with the team — you feel hardened. You just got another layer of armor. And so the fans standing, the fans on us, the fans with us — I see our world clearly and we’re not blinking.
"We’re not going to veer to the right or the left. And when the crowd gets going with ‘the process’ and Joel anoints himself ‘Trust the process,’ there’s a side of it, I say, ‘Good for the crowd, good for Joel,’ and none of us are going to take ourselves too serious."
Embiid finished with a team-high 22 points to go along with nine rebounds and four assists Sunday, while hitting three of his four attempts from 3-point distance. He’s a virtual lock to take home Rookie of the Year honors, which means Hinkie’s Process may have worked after all — even if only for one of his three seasons in charge.