Part of the Process?
I think I may have finally figured out the secret ingredient to Philadelphia’s success with “The Process.” The one thing that has led to the 76er’s achieving what many other teams before them have not. The key component of Philly’s turnaround. Lower Body Injuries.
Yes, you read that correctly. You see, since the beginning of “The Process Era,” (which I’m deeming as the 2013 Draft) all but 1 of the 76er’s first picks has missed a large portion of their first season (or two) with an injury of some sort.
In 2013, the Sixers traded for Nerlens Noel in the Draft, hoping that he would recover from his knee surgery in time to play for a portion of the 2013-2014 season. He did not, but it set up a precedent that the Sixers were willing to take chances on injured or injury prone players.
2014 would see the drafting of Joel Embiid, who would miss the next two seasons with foot injuries. 2015 saw the drafting of Jahlil Okafor, the lone player on this list to not miss the majority of their first season with an injury. That said, he still had his season ended early my a knee injury. 2016 brought in Ben Simmons who broke his foot during a summer league game and missed all of his first year. And then last year, Markelle Fultz injured his shoulder and then got a bad case of the yips.
Which brings us to this year and this:
Another year, another lower body injury for a Philly rookie. Trust the Process?
Health Before Ratings
On Friday, the WNBA did something for the first time in its 23 year history. They cancelled a game.
The Las Vegas Aces were scheduled to play the Washington Mystics in D.C. Friday evening, but ran afoul of some travel issues. After spending over 24 hours in airports and on planes the Aces arrived in D.C. Friday afternoon around 3:45, less than 4 hours before they were due to Tip-Off. Upon talking to the WNBA offices and the Player’s Union the game was pushed back to 8pm but the players of the Aces deemed that was not sufficient after not having slept in a bed for well over a day. Putting their health and their livelihoods before all else, they elected to not play the game.
On Tuesday the league announced that by electing to not play the game, the Aces would forfeit that game and the Mystics would be credited with a win. In all likelihood, that decision could cost the Aces a playoff spot.
But I think the Aces should be commended for sticking to their guns and refusing to play. Anyone who has travelled know how stressful and draining delays and complications are. Now imagine trying to play high level competitive basketball mere hours after enduring a 26 hour travel nightmare. Do you think you would make it out the other side uninjured? I wouldn’t.
The sporting leagues in this country only really care about one thing: their bottom line. The NFL has proven that time and time again, but its true of all the sports. Will the actions of the Aces’ cause any change? Probably not. But it at least starts a discussion about player safety vs. entertainment dollars. And that’s a very important conversation to have.
Murray Withdraws In Washington
Another athlete putting health above all this week was Sir Andy Murray. (Yes, he’s been knighted) A little over a year ago, Murray had the Men’s No.1 ATP ranking. But after losing in Wimbledon, a hip injury forced Murray to withdraw from all competitions over the last 11 months. He fell as low as 839th in the rankings during that time and is just now starting his comeback.
Leading up to this week’s Washington Open, Murray had played 3 matches since returning. Upon entering the tournament he proceeded to play in three straight grueling 3 set matches (only the 4 Majors are out of 5). Thursday’s Round of 16 match against Marius Copil was delayed due to rain multiple times and did not start until Midnight. It lasted 3 hours with Murray finally winning.
With the quarter final match scheduled to be played on Friday, Murray warned he may have to retire from the competition due to the extreme turnaround times due to the organizers of the Washington Open forcing the game at midnight. They would not budge and Murray withdrew.
This is another case of an athlete seeing the bigger picture. The Washington Open only cares about their TV money, especially when there is as little of it as there is for non-Major tennis. It is up to Murray to protect his career by not risking further injury while he comes back to a sport that desperately misses him. I sincerely hope this recent string of athletes putting their safety first becomes a trend. We’ll all be better off for it.