Now or Never For the Process In Philadelphia


The Philadelphia 76ers have gone on a huge run to get the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference. Led by the superstar duo of Joel Embiid and James Harden, the Sixers have turned their season around from a bad start. Embiid is having another MVP level season leading the league in scoring averaging 33.6 points a game on amazing efficiency while adding 9 rebounds and 4 assists a game. Harden has been a master playmaker averaging 11 assists a game while adding in 21 points a game.

But how they’re doing right now is not important. The success of the Sixers’ season will be fully determined by their performance in the playoffs. In the Joel Embiid era the Sixers have never made it past the 2nd round in the playoffs. This season might be the last chance the Sixers have to advance past the 2nd round. Embiid is slowly aging and with his injury history you need to maximize every year he has. Harden is aging faster and has slowed down since his Houston days. Harden has also had a history of crumbling under the pressure of the playoffs. The next few years will be his last chances to prove his doubters wrong and get the ring he desperately wants. The Head Coach of the Sixers Doc Rivers has also had a long history of crumbling under the playoffs and if the Sixers don’t do well in the playoffs this year he is for sure gone from Philadelphia and maybe even the league.

The recent playoff history has been plagued with awful luck. They were the victims of the Kawhi Leonard Game 7 buzzer beater in 2019. Embiid has only been 100% healthy once in his career in Philly for the playoffs. Ben Simmons has had historic playoff collapses with the Sixers. But those excuses won’t work anymore. The Sixers have the best roster since 2019, Embiid is looking better than ever, and Simmons is in Brooklyn now. Last year was the first year Harden was in Philadelphia and the team showed flashes of their potential. Embiid should’ve been MVP last year and Harden perfectly complimented him. But Embiid was extremely banged up in the playoffs last year with a torn ligament in his thumb and an orbital fracture. He did heroically play through those injuries but it was clear he was nowhere near 100%. And Harden crumbled in the playoffs last year.

That can’t happen this year. Embiid has to stay healthy and Harden has to continue his level of play in the playoffs. Young star Tyrese Maxey also has to shine in the playoffs. Maxey doesn’t disappoint often and he can’t disappoint in the playoffs. Tobias Harris has to be a consistent 4th option in the Sixers offense. Off-season additions De’Anthony Melton and Montrez Harrell have to continue their solid play. The bench has to show up and support the starters. And Doc Rivers has to make good playoff adjustments. All of this should be doable for a team of this caliber.

The Sixers and their fans have been through a lot ever since Sam Hinkie embarked on the “Process” nearly a decade ago. The Markelle Fultz disaster, the Bryan Colangeo burner accounts, the Ben Simmons flameout, Joel Embiid’s health, and much more. But it seems to finally have paid off. Embiid has realized his potential and has a great roster supporting him. Philadelphia sports have had a great year. The Phillies made an improbable World Series run and the Eagles are the 1st seed in the NFC. The Sixers should add to the list by completing the Process and bringing the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Philadelphia.