The Philadelphia 76ers were flying high heading into this season. They had Ben Simmons healthy and ready to go after missing his first season due to injury. Joel Embiid was back and ready to rock after showing glimpses of what he could be. And when you add in the talent around them, both veteran and young, you have a team that had reservations for the Eastern Conference playoffs. The 76ers did not start out destined for the postseason, but they caught steam and ended up making the playoffs for the first time since 2012, capturing the third seed in the East. They dispatched of the Miami Heat pretty easily and 76ers fans thought that series win would catapult them to the Eastern Conference Finals. After all, they only had to beat an injured Boston Celtics team. Well, someone forgot to tell the 76ers and they are now up 3-0 on Philly and will have at most three shots to close the 76ers out. So what happened between then and now?
One thing that has happened is the youth of the 76ers has been exposed. Ben Simmons could do whatever he wanted against the Heat and they could not expose his weaknesses for whatever reasons. In this series, Simmons was going against one of the best coaches in Brad Stevens and an underrated and talented team in the Boston Celtics. The Celtics started backing off him and he seemed out of sorts. With Boston playing a little five on four, this made Simmons have to make some adjustments he was not expecting. Along with Simmons having his moments, the team as a whole had moments where they squandered an opportunity. The biggest example of that was when they were trying to milk the clock in Game 3 and JJ Reddick threw the ball away. That miscue allowed the Celtics to get a lead. The 76ers may have tied that game in overtime, but they had a chance to end it before it even got there and blew it. These types of miscues have hounded them all series long and has exposed their youth. For the 76ers' sake, they better learn a few hard lessons from the playoffs.
But the players were not the only ones going through playoff growing pains. Brett Brown had some moments out there as well. He may have ring experience from his days as an assistant with the Spurs, but when you move over one chair to head coach, it's a much bigger transition than anyone wants to recognize. He has blown rotations and decisions on when to play certain players time and time again in this series. The one people probably talk about more recently is the 76ers blowing that huge lead in Game 2 in Boston. Brown, no matter what experience he has as a head coach, will grow from these experiences just like his players will. If he does not, then the 76ers fans will need to worry about where their team goes with him as the leader and that isn't ever a good thing. At this point though, plenty are happy with the job he's doing.
The Process for the 76ers has brought them down the long road to success. They made the playoffs and won a playoff series, but their success is something greater. Whether they get LeBron or not this summer, the 76ers have to focus on getting better and learning from their mistakes. With Ben Simmons, it means working on his jump shot. For Brett Brown, it means learning from his coaching mistakes. And for others it means learning more from the experience. Rome wasn't built in a day and the Process surely took a while to complete. So waiting one year and hoping for more improvement shouldn't worry any Philly fans this offseason.