The 2018-19 season was jam-packed for the Philadelphia 76ers, and it was one that will have plenty of ramifications for their future.
To think about where the Philadelphia 76ers were at the beginning of the 2018-19 season compared to now is a mind-boggling experiment. They were young and exciting, looking to build on a promising and somewhat unexpected second round appearance in the 2018 postseason.
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were each supposed to individually build on a humbling five-game conference semifinal loss at the hands of a depleted Boston Celtics squad. Markelle Fultz was due for a campaign that would remind everyone why he was the unquestioned No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft.
Philly didn’t trust the Process though. Instead, the front office smashed its foot down on the acceleration harder than anyone would’ve expected. General manager Elton Brand acquired Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris in the span of about three months in exchange for an assortment of role players and draft picks, including Fultz.
The time for winning became the present. The Sixers got close to the Eastern Conference Finals — closer, in fact, than last season, taking the Toronto Raptors to seven games in the conference semis. If not for a few pinball-like bounces off a Kawhi Leonard sky-beam in Game 7, they may very well have advanced even further.
Alas, what-ifs don’t get organizations very far in sports. Instead, Philly heads into an offseason that will set the franchise up for what it hopes is a promising future. What it chooses to do will be a subplot of the NBA until it comes to fruition. Until then, all we can really do is look back on one of the most event-filled seasons in 76ers history in order to assess what’s truly needed for the completion of the long-awaited Process.