After a 2 game sweep of the Staples Center the Sixers appear to finally be finishing games. In our latest installment of The Process Report we look at 5 numbers that show the State of The Process is stronger than ever:
1. 62 million
The number of dollars Robert Covington will earn throughout his newly inked 4 year contract.
4 years / $62 million is one of the biggest contracts the team has handed out recently (Embiid’s is the only one bigger) but make no mistake about it, this is a cheap deal for the Sixers. If Covington were to test the free agent market this Summer it’s more than likely he would have fielded multiple max contract offers. Not that he would have considered leaving, but this would force Philly to match any offers if they wanted to retain him. Roco could have used this leverage in his negotiations to get the max – or closer to it – and it’s no secret management would have paid up. The past few off seasons have seen far lesser 3-and-D wings receive upwards of $100 million but Rock decided to leave this money on the table in the name of ‘The Process.’ More than just a mantra or rallying cry; it’s a franchise wide culture of unity that has been embraced by players, coaches, fans, and even media. Through all the trades for 2nd round picks, players rights, and the 10-day contractors of the past 4 seasons Big Shot Bob has been the gem that validated it all. Not only is it good to see him get paid but it’s more than fitting that a true byproduct of ‘The Process’ signs a team-friendly contract and returns the favor.
The number of minutes Lonzo Ball was on the floor last night in the 4th quarter.
The narrative laid out by ESPN leading up to this matchup was all about Lonzo vs Ben Simmons and many Sixer fans expected this to be an opportunity for Ben to lay bare the separation in talent between himself and the overhyped “Big Baller.” But even Ball’s loudest doubters couldn’t have anticipated his notable absence from the Lakers rotation in the fourth quarter. After laying brick after brick on his way to 1 of 9 shooting Walton was left with no choice but to leave his beleaguered top pick on the bench in crunch time, which isn’t the first time he’s been forced to do this. Even if you consider our Fultz pick to be a mistake (which is premature and nonsensical) there’s no way you could justify Lonzo over anyone if he can’t even stay on the floor for the Lakers.
The numbers Joel Embiid hung last night on Lopez, Randle, and the Lakers.
I’m not sure what much needs to be said, considering he’s the only player ever to record 46 points 14 boards 7 dimes and 7 blocks those numbers speak for themselves. The only thought I had after watching last night’s performance is that this Bool is more than capable of posting a quadruple-double at some point in his career. The last time a player had such a game was in 1994 when David Robinson put up 34-10-10-10 for the Spurs. Recently his former front-court mate Tim Duncan and players like Anthony Davis have come close but fell short like Embiid. Before this game I never felt that there was anything controversial about mentioning his name in the same breathe as Davis, Robinson, Duncan, or even Olajuwan (who once recorded two quadruple-doubles in one month) but Wednesday night’s performance at the Staples Center was the first time we saw those comparisons fully realized on-court and that was special to see.
The number of assists Ben Simmons was shy of a triple double.
Lost in the performance of Embiid and the struggles of Ball was the quiet dominance of Ben Simmons. With 18 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds he finished one board short of the second triple double of his 14 game career. I’ve already beat to death the relative excellence of Simmons numbers compared to other league greats and he continues to justify those comparisons with his seemingly effortless play. Those that said he wouldn’t be able to score right away continue to look stupid (17.8 pts on 50.5 FG%). And those that doubted his defense – myself included – continue to eat crow. On his way to an All-Star appearance and unanimous ROY award it’s safe to say Simmons has exceeded even the most ambitious of expectation for this season, and that’s been exciting to watch.
The number of assist per game the Sixers are averaging this season (2nd in the NBA)
The only team in the league that averages more assists per game are the Golden State Warriors (31.3) and of all team statistics this is the one that should excite fans the most. For his entire tenure Brett Brown has stressed the importance of moving the ball and having high assists and passes per game, much like his mentor Popovich and former protégé turned peer Steve Kerr. It’s no secret that the end game for BB’s offense is to look as much like San Antonio’s and Golden State’s as possible, and by averaging 26.4 assists per game he’s getting closer to achieving that.