Don’t Let Howard Eskin’s Uninformed Ravings Sour You on The Process

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher, USA TODAY

The calendar has turned to November, which means that soon you’ll be sitting at an overloaded, food-stuffed table listening to your geriatric uncle filibuster a little too passionately about whatever is in the news that day. It’s a time-honored trope, but somehow we all always get caught short by it year after year.

Good news, though: A geriatric Philadelphia sports talk relic (yeah I considered “icon” and passed) gave us all a salty taste of what’s to come:

A lot to unpack here. Just like arguing with your bitter uncle at the Thanksgiving table, it helps to try to keep the issues in some sort of temporal order. So let’s take the years as they came.

2013: Sixers take Michael Carter-Williams tenth in the same draft where they landed Nerlens Noel from the New Orleans Hornets by trading Jrue Holiday. Uncle Howard notes accurately that the Milwaukee Bucks took Giannis Antetokounmpo five picks later. Let’s leave aside the obvious argument that hindsight is 20/20. Look at the first three picks in the 2013 draft. Anthony Bennett is the bust to end all busts, Victor Oladipo is already on his third team, and Otto Porter is a solid Washington Wizard. And 14 teams, including the Sixers, passed on the Greek Freak. The only takeaway here is that the Bucks got very lucky, not that the Sixers were incompetent.

2014: Sixers take Joel Embiid third, then take Elfrid Payton tenth and flip him to the Orlando Magic for Dario Saric and draft picks. This was probably the finest hour of The Process. Andrew Wiggins was the first pick of this draft; if the Minnesota Timberwolves offered Wiggins for Embiid straight up today, Bryan Colangelo would poke an eye out with his collar recoiling in laughter. Injuries have derailed Jabari Parker, but then if you’re going to excuse Parker’s failure to launch because of injuries then you have to similarly give Embiid a pass for his first three seasons. Living in the now, it’s Embiid, and it’s not close. We still don’t know what Saric’s role with the Sixers is, but Payton has been so enigmatic in Orlando that you’d still rather have Saric.

Photo Credit: Brian Fluharty, USA TODAY

2015: Sixers take Jahlil Okafor third.


Even your blathering uncle, in his wild, tryptophan-addled ravings, scores a point once in a while. If the Sixers had taken Kristaps Porzingis instead of Okafor, we’d already be planning the parade route. To be fair to the Sixers, though, Okafor was an excellent scorer and rebounder at Duke. Porzingis was another in a long line of “maybe he’s really good” talents in the style of Andrea Bargnani, Yi Jianlian and Darko Milicic. At least half the reason the Sixers haven’t been murdered in the court of public opinion for not picking up Okafor’s fourth-year option is because no one thought he would be quite this bad when he was drafted. Have you ever been to a wedding and said to yourself “they’re a perfect match” only to see the happy couple get divorced three years later? It’s like that. Also, the Sixers took Richaun Holmes in the second round of this draft. Wait until he comes back.

2016: Sixers take Ben Simmons first. You don’t need me to tell you what a revelation Simmons is. Still, it’s a lot of fun to click on a Sports Illustrated link and see the headline “Ben Simmons Just Got His First Triple Double And Looks Terrifying.” The freaking link has the name “Oscar Robertson” in it. Are we still sure The Process was a Ponzi scheme? After all, dear uncle, you were alive to watch The Big O play.

2017: Sixers take Markelle Fultz first. It is way too early to call Fultz a bust, although his first few weeks as a full-fledged Sixer have been pretty nightmarish. The good news for Fultz is that, unlike the Lonzo Ball situation in Los Angeles, Embiid and Simmons are generating enough excitement to at least temporarily divert attention from Fultz as he sorts out whatever physical (and maybe mental) challenges NBA life has presented. Fultz is 19. He’ll be 20 in late May. As Aaron Rodgers is so fond of saying, RELAX.

The Sixers are 3-4. They blew late leads to the Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets, all top-tier teams in the league, in three of their losses. Had they won even two of those games, the rhetoric would be “clap your hands, everybody.” But they lost those games, so instead it’s “see, it’s the Sixers, everything they do is fraudulent.”

Don’t you believe it.

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17 Responses

  1. Phil, You are way off here. Eskin is one of the most knowledgeable guys in the business, he is rarely wrong about Philly sports.

    1. Your one of Howard’s sponsors on radio. Where he gets his free car lease or his free comped room at the casino.

    2. Ha,ha, ha, ham ha, ha, ha. He is so fucking biased he can’t get his head out of his ass about this team. BTW, 4-4. 3 straight, 4 out of 5. Embiiid, 21-12-6, Simmons 19-13-9. some “Ponzi scheme. Not one, two generational players. By next year they will be 25-30 and 10-15. Simmons numbers already outpace Jame’s rookie year/.

      1. Remember that time I got a chick killed by her husband and didn’t even give a shit about it? Good times.

  2. I think the Sam love and the process (hipster) drooling fest is silly. Nerds hoping a nerd does well stopped being entertaining long ago.

    On the other hand, Eskin has the IQ of a house plant and is the most transparent, attention starved loser I have ever come across.

    Here is how it ends….Injuries and trades from Colangelo will help the hipsters say he blew up the process and it would have worked. Injuries and trades will be confirmation for Eskin that the process was a bust.

    In a few years the Sixers will still be a middle of the pack team that hoped for luck and didn’t get as much as they needed.

  3. “the Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets, all top-tier teams in the East,”

    When did the Rockets move to the Eastern conference? I must’ve missed that one.

  4. Not sure how Noel being gone is an indictment of Hinkie. Colangelo was the one who traded him away. He’s still a pretty good player…

  5. Because Sam ridiculed him in a press conference. He has zero credibility now and his only reason to go to games is to show off his free suits and shoes he got from a local clothier. A 65 year old man and he acts like he is in the third grade. All he does now is create stories and omit facts.

  6. Fultz will be fine. The injury was the issue. They will start him slow. By the end of the season he will be playing around 15 to 20 minutes a game. All of a sudden, the Sixers are deep at the guard position. He can be brought along slowly.

    It can be argued that the process was worth it to get Embiid and Simmons only. Provided Embid stays healthy. A big if.

    While I understand what Hinkie was doing, I do believe they needed to move on from him. I doubt he could have transitioned into a GM who would build around the centerpieces with vets like Bayless and Reddik.

    This is a fun team to watch. Not ready to contend. Still see 40 to 42 wins with next year being the year they move into a contender if the big 3 continue to develope ( and somehow Simmons and Fultz learn how to shoot free throws) and if they can keep the veterans on the team.

  7. The idiot eskin is partly correct. I hate I almost agree with him. I don’t have a problem with who they didn’t draft, but who they did draft. They lost so much to have high picks, but they are missing as many as they hit. Can’t do that with that many high picks. A side note: I was watching after game tonight and Amy Fadool has got some big arms. She needs to put some sleeves on those stovepipes.

  8. Just think how good we’d be sitting if he had kept the 3rd pick this year? Since LA won’t be bottom feeders, we’re going to lose that awesome Sac pick. Hinkie would have had this thing set for a decade. We’re still in good shape as it is, and this ignoramous makes shit up like the president.

  9. If the sixers picked Porzingis instead of Okafor, the chances of them getting Simmons would have been less. Porzingis would have improved them ten games, unless he had an injury we didn’t know about

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