What started as trash talk on Twitter has now become a plausible theory. The Atlanta Hawks broke the Philadelphia 76ers "process." Back in 2013, former 76ers executive Sam Hinkie conceptualized the multi-year tanking strategy for draft picks and prioritizing the best available player over roster needs.
Over the past decade, the process has morphed from a rebuilding strategy into a philosophy on the progression of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. The process has seen some pretty low moments, such as the heart-breaking loss against the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Playoffs.
But overall, the organization has trended upwards. Last season, the 76ers reached new heights when they earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and Embiid played like an MVP candidate.
That was until the 76ers met the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The upstart Hawks shocked the basketball world with a Game 7 victory in Wells Fargo Arena. Despite incredible performances by Embiid and Tobias Harris, the 76ers couldn't take the next step in the process. Most finger-pointing was directed at Simmons, who didn't take a single shot in the 4th quarter.
Since their unceremonious playoff exit, the 76ers organization has been dealing with drama from its two stars. Simmons went AWOL and reportedly ghosted the entire organization. Now he is letting it be known that he isn't returning for training camp and wants to play elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Embiid is voicing his frustrations with the City of Brotherly Love. The MVP runner-up posted a tweet telling Philly fans they have to be better. With training camp starting later this month, the process has never been in a worse place.
With one of the main pillars of the team on his way out, General Manager Daryl Morey must go back to the drawing board. Of course, they could still receive quite a haul of players if they do trade Simmons. But for all the injuries, coaching and roster changes the process-ea 76ers had to overcome - history will remember the Atlanta Hawks as being the final straw for this once-promising team.