“Are we there yet?”
No, I’m not talking about the 2005 Ice Cube movie. Rather, I’m referring to the persisting question during any long journey. A turbulent flight, a strenuous road trip, a crowded train ride. The “there” in question usually hints at a better place than you currently are. Sunny beaches, thrilling amusement parks, the bright lights of a big city. You want to know how far away you are because of how excited you are to arrive at your destination.
Additionally, this inquiry often comes up in the latter stages of the expedition. At the beginning of the trip, everyone feels fresh and ready for the long road ahead. However, after a while, impatience settles in. The novelty of traveling wears off. Sure, the trek is fun and all, but you’re ready to move on.
This is the exact point in the journey where the Process Trusters currently reside.
The end goal for every NBA franchise is a championship. Every owner, every coach, and every player wants to be holding the Larry O’Brien trophy after the final game of the season. Ultimately, each team begins the new year on a journey, hoping the end result is an awkward congratulatory encounter with Adam Silver.
For Sixers fans, the journey has lasted far longer than just one season. Like the other 29 teams in the Association, our end goal was always a championship. However, the organization strayed from the norm and took a different approach when trying to reach the promised land.
When Sam Hinkie took over and launched “The Process,” Philadelphians knew we would not be competing for a title for quite some time. Hinkie looked at the landscape of the league and saw the bigger picture. He had, some may say, the longest view.
Winning a championship in the NBA requires star-level talent. Hinkie looked at the roster and quickly realized no superstar free agent was going to be enticed by Spencer Hawes manning the paint and Evan Turner launching deep twos. Hinkie knew a championship was nowhere within reach considering the current construction of the roster. He was not satisfied to remain on the treadmill of mediocrity, fighting all year long to finish with the 7th seed and get bounced by a superiorly talented team in the first round.
Instead, Hinkie discarded every actual NBA player in hopes of acquiring more assets. The Sixers no longer needed established, talented players such as Thad Young and Jrue Holiday. Instead, they trotted out Casper Ware and Brandon Davies, guys who wouldn’t even be the best player at your local YMCA. Hell, even Kwame Brown found minutes with the Sixers.
For the most staunch 76ers fans, the beginning of this journey was welcomed. A few losing seasons seemed like a small sacrifice to pay in order to secure championships down the line. Many supporters got on board with celebrating second-round selections and the draft lottery becoming the most important night of our season. The Process was embraced.
Now, Philadelphians seem ready to take the next step. We’ve endured national analysts blaspheming against Sam Hinkie. We’ve put up with demands to change the draft lottery system and accusations of stupidity. But now, the fruits of our labor have arrived. Our patience has paid off. The FEDS are coming, and they’re guaranteeing to bring us to the promised land.
Believers in all things Process are ready to do away with losing and welcome in the years of dominance assuredly on the horizon. We’ve paid our dues and believe our team has finally made it. However, we need to keep the final goal in mind.
The ultimate “there” is not merely reaching the postseason. Yes, this year looks promising, and the Sixers should secure a spot in the 2018 playoffs. However, let’s not lose sight of where we want to end up. The “there” we are working towards is a championship. The Sixers might not be quite “there” yet, but the trip is almost over, and the final destination is in sight. The journey has been bumpy, but the wait will be worth it. Sit back and relax, we’re coming in for a crash landing.