CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid is all about trusting the process.
He manages to insert the well-known phrase into just about every interview, hashtags it on social media and soaks in the chants during games.
While “trust the process” is commonly associated with former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie’s patience-required approach to building the team — which resulted in three years of dismal losing and suffering setback after setback — Embiid has his personal take on the mantra.
“I think I have my own process,” Embiid said Friday at practice.
Embiid is playing for the first time this season after waiting two years to recover from foot injuries. His long-anticipated debut was a focal point of “the process,” and his return to the court marked a new chapter in the organization.
“I went through two surgeries, lost my brother, thought about some stuff I shouldn’t have thought about, so that’s my own process,” he said. “And then the process of going through the rehab and finally getting back on the court and getting the chance to finally play in the league, that’s my process.”
Embiid is now synonymous with the word. He credits Sixers fans for the moniker, which he added to his Instagram profile.
“I don’t think it came from me,” he said. “Fans just started and then I just went along with it.”
Wednesday marked the next step in the process, both for the Sixers and Embiid. His regular-season debut (20 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) was a long time coming and garnered buzz all over the NBA world.
“I was the third pick and then I missed two years,” Embiid said. “The excitement in the city, everybody’s happy to finally see me play. Even though it was weird because a lot of people kind of wrote me off a long time ago saying that I’d never play as a Sixer, I’d never play in the league. So it’s all fun. Everybody’s going to have an opinion.”
He’s just got to trust in his own.