T.J. McConnell isn’t sure where Philadelphia would be without ‘The Process’
When Robert Covington was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this season, T.J. McConnell became the lone holdover still on the roster from the Philadelphia 76ers’ worst team in franchise history. The Sixers went 10-72 in 2015-16, fully embracing The Process for a second consecutive season in hopes of a long-term payoff that’s finally on the verge of arriving with a potential appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Despite frustrations gleaned from a rookie season spent playing for an all-time bottom-feeder, McConnell believes those labors were integral to him becoming the player he is today.
“Although we lost a lot of games, it was valuable experience for me, and [I’m] kind of just grateful the Process is here,” he said, per Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. “I’m not sure where I’d be if there wasn’t a process, you know?”
McConnell went undrafted in 2015 after a standout four-year career at the University of Arizona. Considered a novelty of sorts by many when he made the Sixers’ final roster and immediately garnered meaningful playing time in the regular season, McConnell nevertheless established himself as a viable NBA player as a rookie, averaging 6.1 points and 4.5 assists per game and playing relentlessly pesky individual defense.
Unfortunately, the 27-year-old’s game has yet to evolve much beyond what it was his during professional debut. McConnell remains a non-shooter from beyond the arc, actually taking fewer threes this season than he did his rookie year, and still relies far too much on tricky jumpers from just outside floater range to create his own offense. Defenses don’t guard him away from the ball, either.
Regardless, T.J. McConnell stands as the living embodiment of just how far the Sixers have come since The Process first began, and will always hold a special place in the hearts of Philly fans because of it.