Following the trade of Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets for James Harden, many may wonder if this signals the end of “The Process” Philadelphia 76ers.
Arguably the most discussed roster construction strategy in league history, the results have been mostly underwhelming for the franchise, which has failed to advance beyond the second round of the playoffs in this current era.
With Simmons’ departure coming after he declined to suit up during the 2021-22 season, let’s take a year-by-year look at every player from the 76ers during this stretch.
NBA LEAGUE PASS: Sign up to unlock live out-of-market games (7-day free trial)
2013 NBA Draft
Finishing the 2012-13 season with a 34-48 record, the Sixers wanted to kickstart a rebuild.
Jrue Holiday, who was just 22 at the time, had led the team in scoring (17.7 points per game), assists (8.0 per game), steals (1.6 per game) and minutes (37.5 per game).
Holiday was a rising star with the most promise on the roster and made his first All-Star appearance that season. Despite his age profile, the team decided they wanted to improve their draft stock. The team traded Holiday for the No.6 pick, kicking off “The Process”.
- Pick No. 6, Nerlens Noel: Noel missed the entirety of his rookie season with an injury. After the franchise drafted big men in the next two drafts, he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks after playing just 171 games for the franchise. He is now a reserve big man for the Knicks.
- Pick No. 11, Michael Carter-Williams: MCW burst onto the scene, averaging 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists on his way to Rookie of the Year honors. The Sixers were awful, however, finishing with a 19-63 record. Carter-Williams failed to improve his efficiency as an offensive player, ultimately becoming a defensive-minded role player. Philadelphia traded him to Milwaukee in a three-team deal that netted them the Los Angeles Lakers protected first-round pick. Carter-Williams managed just 111 games in Philadelphia and is now a member of the Orlando Magic.
- Holiday enjoyed a successful individual stint with the New Orleans Pelicans before becoming a vital piece of the Milwaukee Bucks championship-winning squad in 2021.
2014 NBA Draft
Philadelphia was awful in 2013-14, finishing with a 19-63 record, securing the No. 3 pick in the 2014 Draft.
- Joel Embiid slipped to pick No. 3 behind Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, with injury concerns a big reason for his fall. For the second consecutive season, the Sixers selected a big man who would not play in their rookie season. In fact, Embiid would miss the entirety of his first two seasons in the league with foot issues. Given the health concerns, Embiid has been a dominant force in the league when healthy.
- The Sixers then traded the draft rights of Elfrid Payton (pick No. 10) to the Orlando Magic for the draft rights to Dario Saric (pick No. 12). Naturally, Saric would not suit up for the 76ers until the beginning of the 2016-17 season after staying in Europe to play professionally. Saric would be traded to Minnesota in a blockbuster deal to acquire Jimmy Butler in his third season with the team after playing just 172 games. He is now with the Phoenix Suns, who reached the 2021 NBA Finals.
- Jerami Grant was a savvy selection with the 39th overall pick. Grant played a limited role before eventually being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016 for veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova. Grant is currently with the Detroit Pistons, where he is averaging 21.2 points per game over his first two seasons.
2015 NBA Draft
Coming off a season where the Sixers’ leading scorer was Tony Wroten, the team secured the No. 3 overall pick after posting an 18-64 regular season record.
- Of course, the Sixers selected a big man, with Jahlil Okafor heading to Philadelphia. Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds across 53 appearances, starting alongside Noel. His rookie season ultimately proved to be the peak of his production, with the franchise eventually trading him to Brooklyn in his third season after just 105 appearances with the team. Okafor bounced around a few teams, last playing with the Detroit Pistons in 2020-21.
2016 NBA Draft
The Sixers were one of the worst teams in the history of basketball during the 2015-16 season, managing just 10 wins from the 82-game regular season slate.
For their struggles, Philadelphia received the No. 1 overall pick. It was the fourth straight draft the franchise secured a top-six selection.
- Philadelphia selected Australian point guard Ben Simmons with the top pick in the draft. Simmons followed in the footsteps of Noel and Embiid by failing to play in his first season with the team, this time due to foot issues. When healthy, Simmons is an all-world defender, with his ability to cover multiple positions invaluable to a modern defense. A Rookie of the Year winner, three-time All-Star and two-time All-Defensive player in his four seasons in the league, Simmons fell out of favor with the franchise due to his lack of development on the offensive end. The next chapter of Simmons’ career begins in Brooklyn.
- Furkan Korkmaz was selected with pick No. 26, with the sharpshooting guard a rare draft selection to still be with the team. Seven years later, Korkmaz remains with the Sixers.
- As a fun side note…the Sixers Summer League roster for the 2016 event was pretty awesome. Ben Simmons, Jerami Grant, Alex Caruso, Christian Wood and TJ McConnell made for a very solid Vegas squad.
2017 NBA Draft
The Sixers made a significant jump from a season earlier, with Embiid making his NBA debut and looking dominant in 31 games with the team. Saric, Noel and Okafor all saw minutes, as the team recorded a 28-54 regular season mark.
Philadelphia made a blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics, moving the No. 3 overall pick and a future first to the Celtics for the coveted No. 1 pick in the draft.
- Philadelphia selected Markelle Fultz first overall. Fultz was an explosive scorer in college but never found his groove with the franchise, suffering extended shoulder issues which impacted his ability to perform on the floor under intense scrutiny. Incredibly, Fultz played just 33 games in a Philadelphia uniform before being traded to the Orlando Magic for journeyman Jonathon Simmons, an Oklahoma City Thunder first-round pick, and a Cleveland Cavaliers 2nd round pick. Fultz is still with the Magic, while the Celtics selected Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick.
- Boston eventually selected Romeo Langford with the No. 14 pick in the 2019 Draft to complete the deal.
2018 NBA Draft
With Simmons and Embiid in the lineup, the Sixers took a major step during the 2017-18 season, winning 52 games en route to the second round of the NBA playoffs.
Holding a first-round pick via the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sixers still managed to have some luck in the lottery, securing the 10th overall pick.
- Philadelphia selected local college star Mikal Bridges out of Villanova. Bridges’ mother also worked for the 76ers management group Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment. Despite the local ties, the team traded Bridges on draft night to the Phoenix Suns for Zhaire Smith and a future first-round pick. Smith went through a number of health concerns in his time with the Sixers, managing just 13 appearances. He is no longer in the league.
- Bridges is a rising two-way star with the Suns and full-time starter with the team that reached the NBA Finals in 2021.
Recapping ‘The Process’
After the breakout 2017-18 season, the Sixers have become a perennial postseason team in the Eastern Conference.
The success was largely been fuelled by Embiid and Simmons, who overcame early injury concerns to become perennial All-Star players.
The Sixers backed up the 2018 postseason run by reaching the second round once again in 2019, before Kawhi Leonard’s four-bounce corner jumper at the buzzer in Game 7 sent them packing. That heartbreaking loss proved to be another turning point for the franchise, with that night becoming Jimmy Butler’s last with the team.
Philadelphia traded longtime key rotation player Robert Covington, Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round draft pick for 55 games of Butler, who would eventually be acquired by the Miami Heat in the offseason.
With Simmons traded, one of the most controversial periods in franchise history officially comes to an end.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism