After a seemingly never-ending saga, the Philadelphia 76ers finally moved on from former No. 3 overall pick Jahlil Okafor on Thursday, sending him to the Brooklyn Nets along with other assets in exchange for Trevor Booker.
While Okafor’s change of scenery has been the dominant story line surrounding the deal, the good folks at TNT’s Inside The NBA tackled Philadelphia’s overall philosophy (aka The Process) in the aftermath of the trade, and Charles Barkley had a take that surprised many.
In short, he complimented The Process in calling it a success. After discussing the Okafor deal specifically, Barkley pivoted to what amounts to a full-throated defense.
“I love The Process. I actually think that Philadelphia got bad rap when people talk about tanking. Because they would have had a much better record if Embiid and Simmons hadn’t have been hurt. People say they were trying to lose… they weren’t trying to lose. You have the No. 1 picks in the draft and they both don’t play… They couldn’t help but lose… Embiid would have been the No. 1 pick in the draft if he didn’t break his foot. Simmons broke his foot and he wasn’t there. You can’t go two years in a row, have the worst record in the NBA, don’t add anybody and not keep losing.”
Obviously, there were some hiccups along the way with The Process, including the Okafor misstep and the first year of the rebuild that netted Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel, neither of whom remain on the roster.
Still, Barkley’s overarching take that the philosophical move was a success is difficult to argue, simply because the entire point was to land high-end, franchise-changing assets. In Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, Philly already has two such players, and this year’s No. 1 pick, Markelle Fultz, may very well emerge as another in the future.
Barkley may not love analytics or some more modern NBA approaches, but this time, he is supporting The Process, and that acts as something of an elusive seal of approval.