The Philadelphia 76ers continue to trust the process and are starting to see the team turning a corner. The Sixers may still have a long way to go to be considered a contender in the Eastern Conference, but the team has become a fun team to watch with Joel Embiid leading the way in what may be a Rookie of the Year season. The excitement should continue once top overall draft pick Ben Simmons is ready to hit the floor for the first time this season. The last few years have tested the patience of basketball fans in the city of Philadelphia and opened the doors for plenty of national attention to those who did not believe in the master plan or in giving a new direction time to play out. Before Embiid and Simmons and others were used as puzzle pieces in the process, the plan was set in motion with Michael Carter-Williams.
Michael Carter-Williams was drafted with the 11th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and would soon be the only player with any skill on the team as the team held out Nerlens Noel for his rookie season. Noel was acquired via trade with New Orleans and was supposed to be the main building piece for the Sixers and their process, but with a sidelined rookie season, it was all on Carter-Williams to carry the load. He did that admirably, playing his way to a rookie of the year award in what was a down year for rookies in the NBA. But that rookie of the year award would provide a false sense of security for some waiting for the Sixers to improve.
His sophomore season in the league saw him take on some injuries that roughed him up, perhaps leaving the Sixers more open to the idea of moving him if they could get a good return for his services. With the team still going nowhere and in need of other pieces to use to rebuild their franchise, the Sixers made a curious move to trade away Carter-Williams in a three-team deal with the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns. Feeling they had maxed out Carter-Williams’ potential so soon, it was arguably a wise move that would net a first round draft pick in return delay the need to get a point guard later (watch that 2017 NBA Draft). Regardless, trading away a player that won a rookie of the year award was a tough pill to swallow for some.
— Liberty Ballers (@Liberty_Ballers) February 20, 2015
One notable critic of the trade was Philadelphia sports radio host Angelo Cataldi, who took the trade as the basis for blasting general manager Sam Hinkie (a popular target for non-process-believers), saying he had no clue what the Sixers were doing and suggesting neither did Hinkie.
Even MCW’s college coach, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, was puzzled over what the Sixers were doing with their franchise after seeing one of his former players moved.
Jim Boeheim on Philadelphia 76ers trading Michael Carter-Williams: 'I don't know what they're doing' http://t.co/i8ibPM9hRx
— syracuse.com (@syracusedotcom) February 20, 2015
One of the immediate reactions to the trade suggested Williams was destined to flourish under the coaching of Jason Kidd, who was once known for his skills and mastery of the point guard position. If Williams was going to step up his game, Kidd would get him there according to many quick responses to the trade.
The Bucks just acquired the next Jason Kidd in Michael Carter-Williams.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) February 20, 2015
Jason Kidd will be great for Michael Carter-Williams
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) February 19, 2015
Michael Carter Williams gonna thrive under Jason Kidd in Milwaukee
— Juan Hustle (@JuanHustle) February 19, 2015
Barkley says Jason Kidd will turn Michael Carter-Williams "into a perennial All-Star" and will turn the Bucks into "perennial contenders."
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) April 16, 2015
How did that turn out? Not well. Carter-Williams found himself riding the Milwaukee bench by late November of the 2015-2016 season after coming back from an injury. A torn labrum in his left hip would later put him on the shelf for the remainder of the season, and he would eventually be traded away to the Chicago Bulls this past October. So much for taking flight under Kidd, right?
Wayment….76ers traded Michael Carter-Williams?! Not understanding that one
— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) February 19, 2015
WHY HINKIE WHY RT @SportsCenter: Bucks send Brandon Knight to PHX. Michael Carter-Williams (from PHI), Miles Plumlee, Tyler Ennis to MIL.
— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 19, 2015
@Brady_Fred the 76ers are pathetic. Are they just trying to blow the whole thing up? MCW is a quality guard. He has value.
— Mark Cavitt (@MarkCavitt) February 20, 2015
— Mark Cavitt (@MarkCavitt) February 19, 2015
wait philly dealt MCW?! …. are u kidding me … why??
— Josh Sims (@JoshFox46) February 19, 2015
I hope MCW wins MVP. Sixers are stupid for trading him.
— Drew Corrigan (@Dcorrigan50) April 28, 2015
Spoiler alert: MCW didn’t win MVP and the Sixers may have turned out just fine.
— Tom Oates (@TomOatesWSJ) April 16, 2015
The adjustment period really is over, as MCW is in Chicago with the Bulls.
The Sixers will continue to trust the process, and more and mroe people are starting to believe in that method and grand plan.