As the Phoenix Suns look to go up 3-0 in the Finals, it’s hard to not watch the series and think to yourself what could’ve been in Philadelphia.
The Suns took a similar path to the Sixers “process” only they did it right. After multiple losing seasons the Suns netted Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton but what the Suns did in the later rounds in the draft was perhaps more impressive. They also added Chris Paul who has provided the perfect veteran presence needed for a Finals run.
The Suns have a number of former Sixers which makes this a double edged sword for Sixers fans, not only did the Suns complete their “process” but they did it with guys we know!
Monty Williams, Dario Saric, and Mikal Bridges all dawned Sixers apparel at one point or another.
The Sixers had Monty Williams in their building for two years, serving as an assistant coach under Brett Brown.
Monty Williams is one of the main reasons why the Suns are where they are right now. It is very rare to see a team on this kind of run in their first year of contention. As we certainly know in Philadelphia, young players will go through growing pains but Monty Williams is doing a phenomenal job of controlling and limiting those growing pains for the Sun’s young stars.
As Brett Brown was in hot water at the end of the 2019 season, Monty Williams began to be discussed as a future head coaching candidate but instead the Sixers held onto Brett Brown a year too long and let Williams walk out of their house and into a perfect situation with the Suns.
Dario Saric was taken by the Magic at 12th overall, they traded his rights to the Sixers for Elfrid Payton. The “Homie” was a fan favorite in Philadelphia and was a solid role player during his time with the Sixers. He went onto be traded along with Robert Covington at the 2019 deadline to the Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler, who left in free agency a couple of months later. Even though Dario will miss the rest of the series and into next year with a tragic torn ACL in game 1, he provided the Suns with exactly what they needed to get to this point.
Maikel Bridges, the one that got away! Mikal Bridges was the biggest story in Philadelphia at the time he got drafted. Hometown story that graduated from Great Valley high school in Malvern and went to Villanova drafted to the Sixers. Bridges’ mom worked for the team at the time, and she was ecstatic… for 20 minutes.
Brett Brown apologized to Mikal Bridges mom multiple times for trading him to the Suns in 2018
Bridges mom, who worked for the 76ers at the time, shares how former #Sixers coach Brett Brown called her
— Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) July 9, 2021
Brett Brown, who was serving as the General Manager after the Colangelo scandal, traded Bridges to the Suns for Zhaire Smith. Forget about the story for a minute, at the time this deal made no sense. The Sixers were in need of a 3 and D type player who could stretch the floor for Simmons and Embiid, exactly what Bridges would do. They instead went with a guard who was unable to shoot, sound familiar?
As a basketball fan, to see the Suns on this magical run is special. As a Sixers fan, it pours salt on an already open wound that the “process” left us.
Photo via Philadelphia Inquirer Charles Fox