The Philadelphia 76ers and their fans have no choice but to continue to “trust the process.” Following the news that Ben Simmons will not play this season came another announcement that Joel Embiid has also been shut down. Embiid still may get Rookie of the Year honors after playing only 31 games this season. He has missed the last two years for the 76ers.
The 76ers did a great job of protecting Embiid this season by having him play limited minutes. The issue coming into the season was a nagging foot injury and now a torn meniscus has sidelined the talented big man. They knew a choice had to be made and moved Nerlens Noel at the trade deadline and kept the inconsistent but offensively capable Jahlil Okafor. Out of the last four top draft picks the 76ers have had three of them miss their entire first seasons. The motto trust the process is catchy. Is it something the Philadelphia faithful can rely on?
Joel Embiid is up for a contract extension this summer. What does Sam Hinkie do with the fact that he has played far less games than Greg Oden had at this point in his career? Embiid when healthy has a limitless ceiling. DeMarcus Cousins even stated that he could end up being the best big man in the league at some point. Of course, he will not be offered an extension, but the 76ers have to be wary going forward of what to do with their assets. This is not to say that they are in no-mans land as they still have plenty of options going forward.
The fact that Okafor does not seem to even be buying into competing for the 76ers or even to convince other teams that they could use him would concern me as a fan. With Embiid being practically the present day Greg Oden and Nerlens Noel gon,e this is the next big decision for the 76ers front office. Luckily for them they have plenty of potentially high draft picks to offset any mistakes that they have made. This year’s draft is deep and their own first-round pick is sure to be a high one. They also have a swap option with the Sacramento Kings, so if the Kings end up with a better pick the 76ers can simply switch. Furthermore, Philly lands the Lakers pick if it is NOT a top 3 pick. Best case scenario: two top 5 picks will arrive in Philly.
No matter what, the Philadelphia 76ers are in for a promising but increasingly complicated situation. The front office has done a great job of gaining and protecting assets. Will the injury bug allow them to prosper? Yet again, fans have nothing to do besides wait and see.