Does Sam Hinkie Rely Too Much On The Draft?


The Philadelphia 76ers are an extremely youthful team. Some people hate that. Others are optimistic about it, because that youth will eventually (and hopefully) turn into valuable, developed players. Players like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor seem like they’ll be great after a few years of learning.

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Those who consider the Sixers to be too young, though, often take issue with the team’s general manager, Sam Hinkie. Hinkie is one of the most popular GMs in the entire league, but of course, popularity doesn’t always go right along with positivity. Those same people who aren’t too fond of the Sixers’ youth typically are the ones who criticize Hinkie’s moves.

Hinkie has had a plan, supposedly. Longtime Sixer Julius Erving released information that the Sixers have been on a seven year plan to compete for a title. This has compiled of many moves and often draft picks. In the last three years, the Sixers have had lottery picks in the NBA draft.

These fans who are unhappy with the theme of youth obviously aren’t a huge fan of the lottery picks. Sure, they bring in the best college talent, but still can require years of development before they turn into truly great NBA players. The adjustment from college to the NBA can be a difficult one.

What the Sixers have seemed to fail to do is make themselves a presence in the free agency market. Free agency is an incredibly attractive option because you’re more aware of the players you’re getting. They’ve spent time in the NBA and you know how they’re going to hold up against a rigorous NBA season.

The Sixers haven’t signed many notable free agents in a while. That’s certainly frustrating, since we see other teams pick up free agents that immediately change their course. The Miami Heat were hardly playoff contenders before swaying LeBron James to come and play for them.

K.J. McDaniels is the last even somewhat notable name that the Sixers picked up in free agency, and even that is certainly not a big name. No one crucial has truly been picked up in free agency that helped the team get better. In fact, with their six picks in the draft this year, it really seemed like they were relying all on the draft this year.

This is confusing for plenty, because there’s plenty of holes the Sixers are needing to fill, including the point guard position. While players like Tony Wroten are promising, there have been more experienced guards available in free agency. To me, it seems like the Sixers aren’t even trying to pursue these players, and have relied solely on the youth that will take some time to develop.

I’m one who leans more to trust Hinkie, but still can’t grasp why he won’t go after more free agents. Sure, the youth excites me, but I believe youth still needs some veteran players to look up to. I believe Paul Pierce really helped a lot of the Washington Wizards young players grow this year, and poised them for a great playoff run.

Next season, the Sixers could have another chance at swaying some free agents. After (hopefully) they win more games this year, some players may see the potential that the young squad has, and want a part in that, and be on board to “trust the process.”

Pau Gasol, Chandler Parsons, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant are some of the notable top-tier players that will be free agents coming up this offseason. Obviously swaying one of these would be difficult, but there’s plenty of mid-tier free agents who may be attracted to the opportunity of a rebuilding team.

Should the Sixers be looking to find more people in free agency next season? I think so. They’ve relied all too much on the draft, and with some (hopeful) momentum coming from this year, a veteran pickup could be fantastic.

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