We’re only a few hours away from the NBA Draft, which means we’re mid-way through chaos week, and it’s truly living up to its name. Philadelphia are progressing through The Process in a way none thought possible, and Phil Jackson is showing the NBA world that he still has no idea what he’s doing, only, this time, his stupidity isn’t surrounding Carmelo Anthony’s no trade clause. The offseason is in full swing, and is already making up for the disappointing Cavs – Warriors Round 3 that ended sooner than desired by fans, and has filled the void left by the lack of effort that Golden State needed to acquire their second title in 3 years. It’s all about the Sixers at the minute, even through all this chaos, as Bryan Colangelo has finally showed the league what The Process is, and perhaps it’s time to Trust it.
Markelle Fultz has captured the eyes of the basketball world over the course of the year, with the combination of the Washington star’s shooting and incredible athleticism pushing him above “Big Baller” Lonzo Ball for the expected first pick, and there’s nothing Lavar Ball can do about it. Fultz is so good, in fact, that he’s caught the eye of 76ers GM Bryan Colangelo, and forced him to trade up the draft in order to acquire the college star. Philly practically stole the number 1 pick from Boston, who reportedly weren’t impressed with Fultz’ workout, and traded the pick to Philly for third pick and next years first round pick, which is protected for first. First of all, Boston should have ensured that the pick had no protection on it, to prevent any chance of losing the pick should it be rolled first. And secondly, Boston had an incredible amount of leverage over Colangelo and Philly for Fultz, which proved to be even more valuable considering Danny Ainge had no intention of taking Fultz at 1. Considering this, Boston had the ability to ask for the two picks, this years and next years, and could have rightfully asked for a player or potentially a third pick, which would sweeten the deal if they do choose to chase Jimmy Butler or Paul George. While Boston managed to get a good pick next year, and are still able to choose from virtually the entire draft, considering they have no desire to take Fultz or Ball, who’s still likely to end up in LA, I feel that they could have asked for more from Philly, rather than playing nice guy and choosing not to use the obvious leverage they had over Colangelo.
On the other hand, I love the trade for Philadelphia. They get the player they wanted, Markelle Fultz, the player that’s going to finalise The Process, while only losing one pick next season, which isn’t a big deal to a team with as many picks as they have. In terms of what Fultz brings to the table; he really puts the icing on the metaphorical cake of what the Sixers have been trying to build over the last 4 years, that being an athletic, modern day NBA team who’s likely to compete for a playoff spot in the next two years. I’m not gambling on Philly making it to the post-season this coming season, as Fultz and Ben Simmons will need time to adjust to the difference in pace and style between college and the NBA, so I’m close to writing them off for the season, which isn’t a bad thing considering the potential they have in the coming years.
Fultz compliments the 76ers squad in a way that almost every other player in the draft couldn’t, besides maybe Lonzo Ball. Philly get an athletic sharpshooter who can handle the ball, and move the ball effectively, with that last aspect not being that big of a deal with Ben Simmons being on the court. He removes the major flaw in Simmons’ game; that being an inconsistent jumpshot, and compliments Simmons’ ability in the drive and kick, inside playmaker role that he created in college. So now, Philly line up with a modern day rim protector in Joel Embiid, who can step out and shoot the three when he needs to. They’ve got effective role-player Robert Covington, who has shown that he can step up in big games over the course of last season. Ben Simmons is likely to fill out the 3 spot considering his 7 foot frame, who fits into a slightly-less athletic Giannis Antetokounmpo role, but brings a better eye for the pass to the table. They’ve got likely ROTY Dario Saric to fit the two spot, which is a nice complimentary piece to the squad. Now, they’ve got Markelle Fultz at the point, an athletic guard who can get buckets on a very consistent basis, while also having the ability to handle the ball when he needs to. Then, you factor in the fact that almost all of these players are young, energetic players with boat loads of potential, who are likely to follow The Process and lead Philly to the post season in the next few years.
The future is bright for Philadelphia, and the long awaited success, that has evaded Sixers fans since the days of Allen Iverson, is likely to make a comeback with just a little more patience – they’ve waited for 16 years, Sixers Nation can wait just a little longer. Maybe it’s time to jump on the Philly bandwagon, and maybe, just maybe, it’s about time we all started to Trust the Process.