It’s Basketball Christmas (actual Christmas, when games are played, is Basketball Fourth of July). After months of excitement and a fair share of anxiety, we’re here. It’s Opening Night. It’s everything we thought it would be at the end of last season. Simmons is ready. Embiid is ready-ish. J.J. Redick is actually here. Jerryd Bayless is starting. Okay, so it might not be exactly what we all pictured, but clap your hands, everybody.
A few years ago at my old gig I wrote a piece about how Sam Hinkie’s Process was essentially the plot from the TV show LOST. In my brain it made a ton of sense. It spawned some Stepover Tees ideas. If you know anything about the show, it went completely off the rails and sped headlong into the abyss after season three. There are some parallels between the Sixers and those seasons 4-6 bits of nonsense that still make me mad. But the Sixers are on the path to becoming the LOST I wish it was, one that built upon what it had laid out in the beginning and actually reached its final goal of answering what the hell that island was anyway. Don’t give me that Jacob and Man in Black nonsense. That sucked.
We may be post-Process, but we haven’t reached smooth sailing consistency yet. The only players in tonight’s starting lineup to actually start any games for the Sixers are Robert Covington and Joel Embiid, the team’s two longest-tenured players. Actually, scratch that, they’re joined at point guard by someone who started a whole one game of the three he played last year.
Nevertheless, this is a beginning and an end. You can say the Process officially ended when Nerlens left last year, you can argue as long as Embiid is here he is the embodiment of his own nickname, or you could not care at all and just want to watch basketball. Those are all fine beliefs. We’re here for the same reason. Together we bu ... I mean, uh, let’s just watch some basketball.
7:00 PM / Capital One Arena, Washington D.C. / ESPN
Though Embiid made his Wells Fargo Center debut in the preseason last year against the Wizards, he did not dress for any of their regular season meetings. Embiid scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in that preseason matchup.
J.J. Redick shot a truly preposterous percentage from long-range during the preseason, and we’ll see if the hot hand carries over into tonight. His 3P% against the Wizards is 45.3%, nearly 4% over his career clip.
Jason Smith is the enemy and I will not be told otherwise.