Philadelphia 76ers fans, we are now just three weeks away from the start of the 2023-24 NBA Season. Somehow, the off-season has been both equally noisy and quiet for the franchise.
The James Harden situation has been the talk of the off-season and the relationship he has with Sixers GM Daryl Morey seems beyond repair. Harden did not appear at the team’s media day on Monday. However, he did attend the Sixers second day of training camp on Wednesday, October 4th.
This off-season has also featured saying farewell to some of the fan favorites, Shake Milton (Minnesota) and Georges Niang (Cleveland). Both Milton and Niang were key contributors off the bench for Philadelphia last season.
What moves did the Sixers make this off-season? They brought in some more role players, Mo Bamba, Patrick Beverley, Danny Green, and most recently, Kelly Oubre Jr.
The 76ers are running it back with reigning MVP Joel Embiid
The Process of Recent Memory
Sure, it’s not Damian Lillard, who is now taking his talents to Milwaukee. But this team does have potential to make some noise this season in the Eastern Conference. This is due in part to them having the NBA’s Most Valuable Player of 2022-23 back and poised for another big year. Joel “The Process” Embiid is seeking to lead his team to heights they have not reached since Allen Iverson was the face of the Franchise.
Admittedly, an opportunity was squandered this past season after taking a 3-2 lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. One more win in that series and the only thing standing between the Sixers and the NBA Finals would’ve been the 8-seeded Miami Heat.
As you know, things didn’t pan out for the Sixers last year, or the year before that, or the year before that, etc. You get the point. The so-called “Process” has been a grind. From winning 28 games during the 2016-17 season to securing the 1 seed in the East during the 2020-21 season, there have been moments of great joy and moment of great defeat.
Many in Philadelphia and around the NBA are wondering if the “Process” can now be deemed as a failure. How many opportunities to reach the NBA Finals can they squander before we officially give up on the process? How many times will an All-Star Point Guard for this team decide they want to leave and demand a trade, not showing their face around the team facilities until they get one?
If James Harden holds out until the Sixers trade him, this could be the second time in three seasons that the Sixers begin a season with a healthy star contributor not on the floor. #25 wasn’t traded until the trade deadline of 2022 despite sitting out all season.
The Process Ahead
There are a lot of questions heading into the 2023-24 season and not nearly as many answers. The biggest question of them all however is whether or not the process is over. Can this Sixers team, led by Joel Embiid make another run at a deep playoff push? Will new Head Coach, Nick Nurse unlock previously untapped potential in this core group of Sixers? Can they make a run to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the beginning of this century?
Perhaps the most striking question of them all — if they don’t get it done this year, should the word “process” be removed from our vocabulary in Philadelphia?