Almost as soon as the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Markelle Fultz with their second straight No. 1 overall pick and fourth top-three pick in as many years, Joel Embiid announced the core’s official nickname:
According to Sixers fans, the new nickname is the "FEDS" (Fultz, Embiid, Dario, Simmons).. the FEDS are coming ????????????#TheProcess
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 22, 2017
(Yikes, even Embiid left 2015 No. 3 pick Jahlil Okafor out of the FEDS. Maybe he’s their snitch.)
And almost as soon as Embiid shared the nickname, the jokes about how Joel “The Process” Embiid and the 76ers might want to worry less about monikers and more about staying on the court began:
philly having more nicknames than wins is definitely in play next season https://t.co/RpiJxMHYrs
— Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) June 23, 2017
How about Embiid stops worrying about nicknames and is focused more on WINS https://t.co/ZLp6ImWCtK
— Adam Gorney (@adamgorney) June 23, 2017
Well, Friday morning offered some optimism that the FEDS, particularly Embiid and Simmons, who have played a combined 31 games for Philadelphia, might be on the court more this season.
Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo told ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” that Embiid, Simmons and Fultz are all expected to enter the 2017-18 season without minutes restrictions:
Colangelo on @MikeAndMike says that he expects Embiid, Simmons & Fultz to be on the floor together in October w/o minutes restrictions.
— Noah Coslov (@NoahCoslov) June 23, 2017
“Based on everything I know today,” said Colangelo, via sportstalkphilly.com, “based on the progress of Joel returning from his surgery, based on Ben’s progress and watching him, in the gym go up and down the court, work on drills, play five-on-five basketball, assuming continued health, and continued progress of all those players. That’s the goal, that’s the vision, and it seems like it’s on track for that.”
After missing his first two seasons with foot injuries following his selection as the No. 3 pick in 2014, Embiid played under a heavy minutes restriction in 2016-17, averaging only 25.4 minutes per game before suffering a season-ending knee injury in January. When he did take the floor for Philadelphia, the 7-footer was a game-changing presence and the surefire Rookie of the Year candidate, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.1 assists per game despite his limited playing time.
Meanwhile, Simmons never took the floor for Philadelphia after being selected No. 1 overall a year ago. He suffered a foot injury of his own not long before the team’s preseason opener in 2016. The 76ers recently announced “it’s not prudent at this time” for Simmons to participate in summer league.
Fultz, too, missed the final four games of his freshman season at Washington with a knee injury.
Colangelo’s minutes declaration is the most welcome news we’ve heard about visualizing The Process, but you can understand the reluctance about the FEDS hype until nicknames are earned, not given.
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More NBA draft coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• NBA draft winners and losers: Kings finally score big
• NBA prospect loses millions by staying in school
• Team-by-team grades for 2017 NBA draft
• Process pays off: Sixers take Fultz No. 1 overall