January is the month for the Sixers.
After a breakthrough 10-5 January last season for Philadelphia, the 76ers are off to another hot start on in 2018 with two convincing wins against the Spurs and Pistons.
But if you’re just tuning back in to this Sixers team after four years of neglecting their methodical losing, you missed the players that were curated so that this team can dominate the month of January…and hopefully dominate more than that down the line.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ four years of tanking, injuries, waiting for overseas players, pick swaps and so much more saw over a hundred players suit up for “the process”. Some of the all-time “process” 76ers have been identified for a multitude of reasons such as grit or swag, but natural talent wasn’t always one of them.
Many sixers fans, including the faithful following of the Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcast who created different brackets of All-Process Sixers, have thought of their favorite Sixers players during the process. So why not put together a starting five of All-Process Sixers?
Sam Hinkie’s Starting Five
PG Tony Wroten: injuries curtailed his short-but-electrifying Sixers career, and fans would much rather see him in the current lineup than Jerryd Bayless.
SG Hollis Thompson: One of the longest tenured process-Sixers, Thompson always made himself valuable enough to keep making next year’s roster.
Alternate: Nik Stauskas/KJ McDaniels
SF Robert Covington: Who knew Covington would make this much for a name for himself as one of the league’s premier three-and-D wings when he signed from the D-League.
Alternates: Jakarr Sampson/Ben Simmons
PF Nerlens Noel: The Nerlens situation was painfully botched into a trade that was then doubly made worse by Jahlil Okafor’s mishandling. However, the Nerlens’ trade was the one that sent all-star point guard Jrue Holiday away to begin “the process,” so it’s only fitting he beats out Dario Saric, who still hasn’t come over.
Alternates: Jerami Grant/Dario Saric
C Joel Embiid: The (self-proclaimed) Process himself went through his own process of sorts with the awful mismanagement of injuries during his first two years in the league, time he spent learning to shoot.
Alternates: Henry Sims/Andrew Bynum
Now that we have the starting five all set, it’s time to see if these players could actually beat any other teams’ starting fives in the NBA.
Who could they beat?
Philadelphia: Let’s start with the current 76ers. Without the presence of Covington and Embiid in the starting lineup, coach Brett Brown would be left with Simmons, a hypothetically healthy Markelle Fultz, JJ Redick, Dario Saric and Amir Johnson.
The key matchup here would be Covington on Simmons. If we see an aggressive Simmons in this game, Covington could be in trouble defensively. Might be difficult for Simmons to carry an Embiid-less team, advantage process-Sixers.
While Redick clearly has the advantage over the workhorse Thompson, Wroten cancels out an unconfident Fultz in the backcourt. It really comes down to nobody being able to cover Embiid, so the process-sixers would most likely get the win in this scenario.
Lottery teams: Currently, there are seven teams with less than 15 wins through around 40 games. This year’s Sixers’ lineup sits at just .500 through 38 games, sometimes struggling to beat the teams that are below them.
While Embiid’s presence could propel this team to compete with any of the teams under .500, there are a few teams that the Sixers wouldn’t defeat.
Memphis’ Marc Gasol and the team’s slow and gritty pace could defeat the naive process-Sixers on any night, even during such a down year. Dennis Smith Jr. and Yogi Ferrell of the Mavericks against Hollis and Wroten? Advantage Mavs. Devin Booker can carry the Suns past a lot of teams, including the process-Sixers. Lastly, that Blake Griffin and Lou Williams pick-and-roll would give these process-Sixers fits.
However, against all other potential lottery teams, these process-Sixers would have success. Most notably against Lonzo Ball’s Lakers and Kristaps Porzingis’ Knicks.
Golden State Warriors reserves: The Warriors were known as the deepest team in basketball during their incredible 72-win season, but that depth has eluded them after the arrival of Kevin Durant.
Reserves Shaun Livingston, Patrick McCaw, Nick Young, David West and Javale McGee could give the process-Sixers problems with a fluid offense under coach Steve Kerr. Yet, with Covington’s defense, Noel’s relentless work on the boards, some Thompson corner threes and Embiid’s magic, the process-Sixers could come out on top.
Detroit Pistons: While it’s true that any team can defeat anyone in the NBA on any given night if not given the proper respect, the process-Sixers could beat this Pistons lineup nine times out of 10. It’s true that Embiid usually has the better of Drummond inside (and on social media), but Covington cancels out Tobias Harris so it really comes down to Wroten against Reggie Jackson. Is anyone convinced Jackson can carry the Pistons on top? Sorry for singling you out, Detroit.
There you have it, there are over 10 NBA teams that the all-process Sixers could beat on a given night. Without Embiid, that’s probably more like three teams. Trust the Process!