The Hinkie Model: Draft, Stash, Eating Cash


Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie is notorious for loading up on current and future second round picks, which brings skepticism from analysts and fans. The skepticism increases when those second round picks are used on no-name international players whose chances of coming over to the NBA are slim to none.

Sixers fans have experienced the feeling of obtaining guys like Arturas Gudaitis and Cenk Akyol. It’s almost a feeling of despair, but more of a feeling of utter confusion. But as Sam Hinkie’s fan army preaches to us around the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center, we must trust the process. We must trust that Sam Hinkie can flip these picks into something of value. What fans must realize is that these types of 2nd round picks are what Hinkie covets the most.

Hinkie turned 2nd round pick Gudaitis into a handful of assets.

So draft and stash, what does this mean? It means drafting the rights to a player knowing he won’t sign an immediate contract, allowing the team to use his roster spot to evaluate another potential player. There are really two main types of draft and stash guys.

There are the potential contributors who play internationally and decide to wait to come over for financial reasons, and there are guys who were drafted but are sent to play internationally to develop their skills while not taking up NBA roster spots. Guys like Dario Saric and Jordan McRae fit into this category. These players are not drafted with the intentions of trading their rights, but instead are sent to become more NBA ready.

(Here’s a clip of Saric going Magic Johnson and stuff.)

We also have players that never see an NBA court, but their rights are being traded left and right. So why draft players that will make no on-court influence to the organization? Trade chips. We’ve seen Hinkie use the rights of players to substantiate trades before in brilliant fashion. By NBA law, a valid trade must include a player from each team to be approved; so holding the rights to multiple players gives Sam Hinkie power to make any trade valid.

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We’ve seen this in the JaVale McGee trade, where the Sixers traded the rights to Akyol in exchange for McGee, the rights to Chu Chu Maduabum, and Oklahoma City’s protected first round pick. Without trading the rights to Akyol the trade would’ve have been invalid. In this case the Sixers flipped the rights to a player who may never leave Turkey, into the ability to eat some salary cap in McGee’s contract while also acquiring a first round pick. It may seem like a small part of the deal, but it is actually the most crucial part of it all.

Drafting these players allows the Sixers to hold rights to players, without giving up any salary cap or roster spots. So really the Sixers could end up holding the rights to a grand total of 18, even though the limit of players to have under contract is 15 because the rights to a player doesn’t lead to a contract. This is important in Hinkie’s crusade of obtaining an abundance of assets.

Rewind to the night of the 2015 NBA draft, where the Sixers held five 2nd round draft picks. They traded Willy Hernangomez to the Knicks for two future 2nd rounders, then drafted Richaun Holmes, Arturas Gudaitis, JP Tokoto, and Luka Mitrovic respectively. Drafting four players in just the 2nd round could be cluttering, but at least two of these picks were considered “draft and stash”. Hinkie’s critics came to the party ready to take him down, off of the basis of drafting a plethora of big men.

The critics had their fun that night, but sat back quietly when Hinkie turned Gudaitis and Mitrovic (and future draft considerations) into Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, the King’s 2018 1st round pick, and the right to swap 1st rounders in 2016 and 2017. This was credited by some as being one of the most lopsided trade in NBA history (Thanks Vlade!). As you can see, the Sixers were able to use these draft and stash guys as minimal trade value to a team who was trying to shed salary.

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Sure, there will be a time where the Sixers will stop serving as the NBA’s resort for bad contracts, but for the time being continuing to pick up almost free of cost assets in return for draft picks and young promising players is a good step for this rebuilding team.

Now there are of course negatives to drafting “draft and stash” guys, using Saric’s situation as an example. Saric can decide to not come over to play in the NBA until the 2017-18 season, which would mean he is not bound to the rookie salary scale, and could earn himself some big money. This is where Hinkie’s plan could backfire. If Saric decides not to use his 2016-17 NBA opt out clause, Hinkie could end up having to risk some serious money on a player who has never stepped foot on an NBA court.

The Sixers 2016 draft picks look like this:

(Courtesy of Derek Bodner at

With the abundance of 1st round picks, it wouldn’t be crazy to see the Sixers once again try to draft players that will be used as trade chips. While first round picks are easier to trade before drafting a player, using it on a draft and stash could be more valuable in the long run. It is a tricky game with many misses and few hits, but Hinkie seems confident enough to use it in a way that could better his team. Drafting and stashing will continue to be an important method for the Sixers until a competitive roster is created. Until then, bring on the Gerald Wallace’s of the world!

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