Who are the best Process-era ex-Sixers still playing in NBA?

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Dan Roche
·4 min read
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Who are the best Process-era ex-Sixers still playing? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Process was a seemingly interminable slog through four seasons of losses, in the hopes that the suffering would ultimately lead to a parade down Broad Street. While the Sixers haven’t reached the NBA’s summit yet, the brainchild of former GM Sam Hinkie has bore fruit: two franchise cornerstones in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. 

The team’s two All-Stars are the only players remaining from the 2016-2017 roster. In all, 66 players played at least one game during that four-season span from 2013-14 through 2016-17. Plenty of Process alumni are still in the league, so we decided to put together a roster of the best active former Sixers from the Process era.

We used the following as qualifications:

•    Active players

•    Played at least one game for the Sixers between 2013-14 and 2016-17

•    No longer with the Sixers

Point Guard 

First Team – T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers

One of the most beloved players from these teams, McConnell played 162 games in the Process era, the most of any backcourt player. He has consistently improved his defensive play and currently leads the NBA in steals, including a record-setting nine in the first half of a game earlier this month.

Second Team – Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic

MCW was Hinkie’s first-ever draft pick, 11th overall in 2013. He had a triple-double in his NBA debut, went on to win Rookie of the Year and was shipped out during his second season. The Magic are MCW’s sixth team.

Honorable Mention – Ish Smith, Washington Wizards

Shooting Guard

First Team – Nik Stauskas, Raptors 905 (G League)

Full disclosure, I didn’t even know Stauskas was active until I saw him play in the G League playoffs against the Delaware Blue Coats. How bad were the shooting guards during the Process era? There were a total of 11 on the four rosters. Four are no longer active, five play in Europe and the other two play in the G League. 

Second Team – KJ McDaniels, Greensboro Swarm (G League)

McDaniels draws Second Team honors as the only other Process Era two-guard to be employed in professional basketball in North America.

Honorable Mention – Get outta here.

Small Forward

First Team – Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers

RoCo was truly a find for Hinkie, who signed the undrafted free agent after he was waived by the Rockets. He has carved out a career as a strong, versatile defensive stopper, even being used as a “center” in the Houston Rockets’ small-ball lineups last season.

Second Team – Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons

Selected 39th overall in 2014, he played two seasons in Philadelphia, and seems to have found a groove in Motown at the age of 27. He ranks in the top 25 in the NBA at 23.6 points per game, nearly double his output the previous season with the Nuggets.

Honorable Mention – Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Brooklyn Nets

Power Forward

First Team – Christian Wood, Houston Rockets

Wood was signed to a 10-day contract by Hinkie back in January of 2016, and look at him now. He signed a three-year, $41 million deal in a sign-and-trade from Detroit to Houston, and he leads the Rockets in scoring (22.0 points per game) and rebounding (10.2 rebounds per game). The Rockets are tough to watch right now, but Wood has shown he can definitely play big-time minutes.

Second Team – Dario Saric, Phoenix Suns

Saric was the result of a 2014 draft-night trade with the Magic, although he didn’t play for the Sixers until 2016-17. He was sent to Minnesota in the Jimmy Butler trade three years ago, then to Phoenix in the summer of 2019. A solid scorer and rebounder, he has been an offensive spark off the bench for the surprising Suns this season, averaging 22.5 points per 36 minutes, which is among the best rates in the league for reserves.

Honorable Mention – Richaun Holmes, Sacramento Kings 

Center

First Team – JaVale McGee, Cleveland Cavaliers 

Another position with limited resources. The Sixers drafted Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor in the top-six of the draft in 2013 and 2015, respectively, and while they were solid early in their careers, the pair of big men are afterthoughts in 2021. McGee isn’t worlds better, and most don’t remember his time (six games) with the Sixers, but he has ground his way to three rings and is still serviceable at 33 years old.

Second Team – Nerlens Noel, New York Knicks 

Noel showed his defensive process from Day 1 with the Sixers, but his play at the other end of the court never materialized. Add that to his injury struggles – 73 missed games over the past four seasons – and his career may not last too much longer, even with his cap-friendly salary ($5 million this season).

Honorable Mention – Jahlil Okafor, Detroit Pistons