Five years after finishing with the worst record in the NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
"Trust the Process... Sam Hinkie knew," center Joel Embiid said Friday, per Rich Hofmann of The Athletic.
According to Hofmann, 76ers president Daryl Morey had told Embiid to reference "the process."
Hinkie was Philadelphia's general manager from 2013 to 2016, overseeing some of the worst years in franchise history. The squad bottomed out in 2015-16 with a 10-72 record.
Fortunately, the struggles led to high draft picks, getting Embiid with the No. 3 overall pick in 2014 and Ben Simmons with the first overall pick in 2016.
Not all high picks turn into All-Stars—the organization also took Jahlil Okafor and Markelle Fultz during this stretch—but the 76ers gave themselves a lot of chances to find stars with this strategy.
Fans were told to be patient during the losing seasons, and Embiid fully embraced it, using "The Process" as his own nickname.
After the team clinched the top seed in the conference, it's clear Hinkie's plan was an effective one.
Of course, there is still work to do for the 76ers, who have struggled in the playoffs in recent years. The squad was swept out of the first round last postseason and haven't advanced beyond the second round since Allen Iverson carried the 2001 team to the NBA finals.
Embiid, Simmons and the rest of this year's team will try to improve upon this recent history and compete for a championship.