The Sixers saw many players come and go throughout the duration of the Process era. How do those players compare against each other today?
The criteria for these Power Ranking are strictly performance-based, NOT a representation of how critical they were to, or how they represented, the Process. Looking at the player’s body of work as a whole, especially the 2020-2021 season, will be the basis of these rankings.
10. Furkan Korkmaz
Current Sixer Furkan Korkmaz has really made a home in Philadelphia. There was a time where questions surrounded his long-term future, and while not all of those questions are answered, it seems clear retaining Korkmaz this offseason should be a priority for the Sixers, assuming the money works.
Korkmaz has become a reliable scorer (8.0ppg for his career, 9.1 this season) and has improved his shooting tremendously. He’s gone from shooting 32% from three over his first two seasons to 39% over the past two.
While it would be difficult considering the other Processors on this list, there’s still time for him to earn his way up higher on this list as he’s only 23 years old.
9. Dario Saric
A lot has changed for Dario Saric since he came over from Croatia. Sure off the court, much is different, but on the court as well. When Saric came into the league, he was thought of as a combo forward who could perhaps fill a baby Hedo Turkoglu role.
Flash forward to today, and as the NBA has changed, so has Saric’s role. He is now the backup center for the second seed Phoenix Suns. While he’s far from a “traditional” center, he’s filled his role well.
On the surface, his stats have dipped, but that’s largely due to his shortened role. Saric is providing quality value for a contending team and is doing it inefficient fashion.
8. T.J. McConnell
Former Sixers and fan-favorite T.J. McConnell has had an opportunity to show his stuff this season with the Indiana Pacers. Due to unfortunate injuries, McConnell is averaging a near career-high in minutes (26) per game which has given him a chance to showcase his talents.
Along with his minutes bump, McConnell is averaging a career-high in points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks. Additionally, he’s shooting by far the highest FG% of his career (55.9%). A vast improvement for a player who is a jump shot away from being a starter in the NBA.
McConnell provides energy, tenacity, and a winning attitude to a team in Indy that sorely needs it.
7. Nerlens Noel
The Process started when the Sixers traded Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel, and while that pick, in particular, didn’t go as Philly, or Noel for that matter, had planned, it set everything into motion for the Sixers to get where they are today.
Noel, meanwhile, has bounced around the league and, for the most part, has failed to find a home. Now, there are a variety of potential reasons for this, but it seems as though those days are potentially over as Noel has found a home with the New York Knicks.
Noel has been a major part of the driving force that has transformed the Knicks from the ninth-worst defense to the league’s 10th best defense this season. Few players in the NBA can defend the paint as well as Nerlens, but that hardly gets talked about, mostly due to the fact that he can’t do much else on the court.
Despite his limitations, when you talk about an impact player, that’s Nerlens Noel.
6. Richaun Holmes
Most players on this list feel like “the one that got away” for Sixers fans but Richaun Holmes possibly more than any other. The reason being that the Sixers traded away Holmes for essentially nothing, and he has since blossomed into a desirable, starting-caliber center.
Richaun Holmes is essentially the offensive version of Noel. While neither shoots well from beyond the arc, Holmes has developed a nice mid-range game and can spread the floor in his own way. The active and athletic big is averaging 14.2 points and 8.3 rebounds this season in a starting role for Sacramento.
Holmes will be a hot name on the free-agent market as he will be one of the few rim-protectors (1.6 BPG) who has an offensive game.
5. Robert Covington
Robert Covington maybe, after Joel Embiid, the greatest success story of the Process. An undrafted free agent, RoCo found himself in Philly after a brief stint with the Houston Rockets. Brett Brown outdid himself when helping Covington develop his game both offensively and, more importantly, defensively.
Covington has become one of the most desired names on the trade market every year as the very idea of him is something that every team covets. A 3&D wing who can nearly defend all five positions on the court, that’s peak value in today’s NBA.
Though he had a rough season in Portland this year (8.5PPG, second lowest of career), he finished very strong, and all signs point to him recovering nicely, and when that does happen, expect Covington to move up another spot or two on this list come next year.
4. Christian Wood
Many forget that Christian Wood even played for the Sixers, but he actually spent his first 17 games (his entire rookie year) in a 76ers uniform. Wood has progressed by leaps and bounds from his rookie season and became one of the top names on the free-agent market last season.
With the Rockets this year, Wood has averaged 21.0 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 1.2 BPG while shooting 37.4% from deep on five attempts per game. While that must be taken with a grain of salt as he plays for the worst team in the league, the percentages at which he shoots show that some of this success is, in fact, sustainable.
Expect Wood to be a notable name (though not top end) for a while to come as he is clearly the best player in Houston and will potentially be paired with a top-end draft pick next season who may showcase his skills even more.
3. Jerami Grant
Few saw the offensive outburst Jerami Grant displayed coming, and while, like with Wood, it must not be considered 100% sustainable, it’s certainly encouraging for his long-term ability. With the Sixers, Grant was an athletic and energetic defender who could hopefully, one day, develop a three-point shot.
Well, that time has come as he has averaged at least 35% from deep over each of the past three seasons. This year in Detroit, Grant took on his largest offensive role yet and thrived, averaging a career 22.3 PPG over a 10 point increase from last season.
Grant hasn’t lost a step defensively either and should be one of the most sought-after players on the trade market this offseason if Detroit is wise enough to sell high.
2. Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons is not often thought of as a part of the Process, but as the “goal” of it (the number one pick), he certainly qualifies. His offensive numbers haven’t grown in the way most, if not all, would have liked, but defensively, he’s gone from a disinterested defender at LSU to a DPOY candidate.
His range is also not where fans would like it, but he is expanding it (though not to the extreme that fans demand). Simmons is taking a career-high percentage of his shots from between 3-10 feet and is hitting them at a career-high percentage (42.6%).
1. Joel “The Process” Embiid
Who else could it be? The Process himself Joel Embiid is, of course, the top Process player, and it isn’t close. Few (if any) impact the game of basketball both offensively and defensively the way that Embiid does. Had it not been for a bone-bruise, initially thought to be much worse, in his knee, Embiid would likely be the prime candidate for the league’s MVP award.
He’s averaging a career-high in points and every single shooting percentage. Embiid is even close (assuming he continues to progress) to reaching the 50/40/90 club at some point (51.3/37.7/85.9 this year).
It’s hard to imagine that Embiid can get even better, but he’s still young (27) and has only played basketball for 11 years. It’s far too early to count out further improvements from the MVP hopeful.
Trust the Process.