Despite the Sixers' meteoric ascension from 10 wins two seasons ago to 52 this past year, The Process and how they got to this point remains a polarizing discussion. There are those in the anti-Process camp who will never believe that intentionally losing to gain assets is the way to go. And nothing will change their mind. It's been debated to death in these parts and it is fruitless to further the discourse at this point. This directive here is aimed at the Process Purists, those who are opposed to adding big-named stars to the Sixers mostly organically grown core. Specifically, the player whose name rhymes with KeBron Dames.
This all boils down to talent and opportunity. The Sixers have two potentially transcendent foundation pieces in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Add to that mix the skill and toughness of Dario Saric and the potential of Markelle Fultz and the Sixers should have a core four to be reckoned with for a long time to come. However, when you measure the Sixers' current talent head-to-head with the Celtics, it's advantage Boston. Their nucleus of a healthy Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier, and Jaylen Brown is better than the Sixers' core. JJ Redick is a free agent who wants to be back and had a very good year, his return would be huge, but it's not a given. Robert Covington, for as bad as he was in the postseason, is a quality defender and a hot and cold three-point shooter with a manageable contract. But toe-to-toe, the Sixers don't measure up. They need more players.
The one area the Sixers have a clear advantage over the Celtics is financially. They are positioned to be able to land the biggest fish out there in free agency or the trade market. Namely LeBron James (player option for 2018-19) or Paul George. Throw in a potential deal for Kawhi Leonard and they could net someone or multiple someones that could shift the talent scales in their favor this summer.
Looking at the Eastern Conference landscape, If LeBron departs Cleveland, they're done. You can forget Toronto and Washington as well, they don't have enough. Indiana is a nice team but still not good enough. Milwaukee is short on overall talent and coaching. We saw the Heat's shortcomings up close and personal. This comes down to the Sixers and Celtics.
The whole point of going through the torture that was The Process was to put yourself in a position to build the best roster, not the best homegrown roster. By any means necessary. If there was any doubt, the regular and postseason showed you that despite 14 seasons of heavy lifting, LeBron is still the best player on the planet. He hasn't lost a step. If you can get him, you must. Yes, it will take some ego curbing by Simmons and Embiid and James. Not to mention co-existing on the court. But great players, even ball dominant ones, figure that out. See James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston. Or LeBron and Kyrie before their split
The Sixers and their fans didn't come this far to be road-blocked for the next five to 10 years by the Celtics.