Has Sixers Sam Hinkie Hustled The NBA?

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Apr 4, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown talks with players on the bench during the first half against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports


Tankadelphia. That’s the term given to the Sixers when Sam Hinkie took over. I remember laughing out loud when the twitter account “Winless4Wiggins” showed up. Even then, the plan was difficult to decypher. Hinkie inherited a team with limited upside, huge salaries, and trending downward. So he embraced the trend. We looked at the history of his moves in recent months.   What started out as a search for the Achilles heel in our strategy evolved into intrigue and eventually admiration.

In a win-now environment like the NBA, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that is the only way to win.   So 30 NBA teams chase the best players, pay the most money, and strive for the playoffs this year at the expense of tomorrow.

But from the moment Hinkie arrived in Philadelphia,  he’s flipped that entire thinking upside down.  He created a strategic plan – a mission that will take many years to culminate success.  In fact, we discussed this plan in a recent article by Josh Wilson.   After shedding huge salaried players and filling the roster with young players, phase one was complete.  The NBA analysts saw the 76ers as a team spiraling downwards and concluded that the team was in a run for the number one NBA draft selection.  In that 2013 NBA draft, the Sixers failed to get a top prospect naturally, so Hinkie traded his marquis asset, Jrue Holiday, for the rights to just-drafted Nerlens Noel and a 2014 protected first round draft pick.   They then drafted to fill the hole just vacated by Holiday by selecting Michael Carter-Williams.   But Noel was recovering from an ACL surgery, and would not be ready for the team that year.  MCW would be, and that fact gave everyone a good feeling about that draft.

Michael Carter-Williams would evolve into the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year for 2013-14 despite a miserable season for the Sixers.  Another asset for the trading floor.

Next: Embiid and Noel and trades, Oh my!