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Philadelphia 76ers: After Simmons, patience must be next

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Trust the process, Philadelphia 76ers management told their fanbase throughout recent years. The Process, in a nutshell, being short term loss for long term gain.

The losses certainly came thick and fast. Three successive seasons with one of the three worst records in the NBA. Which resulted in a top three lottery pick three years straight. But are the losses really now about to make way for wins?

Sam Hinkie was the man who really hung his hat - and his reputation - on trusting The Process. Hinkie left the organisation before the 2015-16 regular season concluded and was with the Sixers for three years.

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During that time the team's record was 47-199 - the worst three-year spell of any team in NBA history. But that was The Process in the short term, right? All part of the master plan? Hinkie committed to losing and then when he lost - excessively - he ended up resigning anyway.

The arrival of Jerry Colangelo at the time seemed to impact on Hinkie's role and influence within the franchise. A move Hinkie was not content with. He wasn't for sharing duties. It was all or nothing and nothing won out.

YOUNG ASSETS

During his tenure, Hinkie drafted the likes of Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor. These picks were the 'rewards' for all the losses. The foundations for a brighter future.

Los Angeles Lakers v Philadelphia 76ers

However, Carter-Williams has not proved to be the player he was expected to be. Embiid is yet to play a single NBA game due to chronic injury problems. Okafor is a good offensive player who's defence does not match. Whilst, conversely, Noel is a solid defensive player with little offence.

None of them are franchise-changing players. None of them look like the foundation for a potential championship winning team to be built around. It's really just turned out to be a whole lot of losing for a whole lot of good, but not great, assets in return.

FOUNDATIONS

Ben Simmons could be the one to change all of that, however. The Sixers selected Simmons with their number one pick in this year's NBA draft. Yet another young player. The roster is already stock piling young front-court players. But this time it's different. In theory, anyway.

SEC Basketball Tournament - Semifinals

And ironically, though he is a product of the infamous process, it was new Sixers new GM Bryan Colangelo who drafted the Australian - not Hinkie. If things do turn around from here, guess who will get all the credit? Yep. Rightly or wrongly: Bryan Colangelo.

His arrival signalled a change. He brought ambition to Philly. He performed miracles. But, realistically, can things actually turn around so quickly for the worst team in the NBA? Are they really in position to do so? Are the foundations there?

AMBITION

Colangelo came aboard after Hinkie resigned and has since stated his intention to now put together a team designed to win games. Revolutionary stuff. The Sixers have a very young core, though, at present. And it's a young team that is used to losing.

Los Angeles Lakers v Philadelphia 76ers

Losing becomes a habit just like winning does. And the Sixers have the worst losing habit going right now.  It's okay aiming to win after such a downbeat period in the club's history. But just suddenly winning is not quite that easy. 

Like any habit, it can be tough to shake off.

PRESSURE

A real basketball city, recent years has sucked the life out of the Philly fans. Offered no hope, ambition or excitement. What else would you expect? Simmons represents all of those things, however.

2016 NBA Draft

Although, along with Colangelo's message of hope, that does now bring a certain pressure and expectation, too. It may be too much for a young team to handle. Which is why the trades and free agent signings Colangelo is able to pull off this summer will be crucial to the Sixers chances in 2016-17. 

The team does have some young talent to nurture. As well as now having a potential superstar in Simmons. But they're still a long way from being a strong playoff team. Even a playoff team at all. Patience will still be required as the team develops and gets things right. Ultimately, it takes time.

It's a process, you could say.

Topics:
Nerlens Noel
Philadelphia Sixers
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Joel Embiid
Jahlil Okafor

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