Why Philadelphia 76ers Fans Should Still Trust The Process


The Philadelphia 76ers lost Wednesday night to the Milwaukee Bucks 91-87 to drop their record to 0-4 for the season. Losing is something that 76ers fans have gotten used to in the 905 days since Sam Hinkie became the general manager of the team.

They have gone 37-131 in that time. Clearly that is a lot of losing in the past two years, five months, and 22 days that Hinkie has been in charge. As a fan, it’s frustrating to know that your favorite team is going to lose a lot more than they are going to win. But for those of you that feel “the process” isn’t working and anybody who still believes in it must be “drinking the Kool-Aid,” what exactly were you drinking in the nine years, 11 months, and 28 days between their loss to the Detroit Pistons in game 6 of the 2003 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals and the day Hinkie was hired?

What were you drinking from 2003 – 2013 when the 76ers:

  • compiled a record of 367-453
  • missed the playoffs five times, were bounced in the first round four times and made it to the second round one time (though most 76ers fans will admit that if Derrick Rose did not tear his ACL during game one of that first round series in 2012 we would be adding another first round exit to that tally)
  • went 13-22 in those five playoff appearances

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NBA purgatory is the worst place to be. Your team is a perennial 7th-10th seed in the conference which means you’re not good enough to win a title, you’re not bad enough to get a high draft pick to find a star player to build around, and more times than not, you have no cap flexibility.

Since Hinkie has taken over, he’s traded every overpaid average-talent player that we have had which has given us cap flexibility (approximately $41-$55 million in cap space for the 2016-2017 season according to Basketball Insiders). He’s acquired top talent from the past 3 drafts as Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid (though he has yet to put on his jersey for anything other than team photos) and Jahlil Okafor were all projected to be the best player in their draft class at one point. He has acquired future draft picks as shown by this flow chart  (which does not include the picks acquired in the deal with the Sacramento Kings for Nick Stauskas, arguably one of the most one-sided trades in NBA history).

In no way am I saying that I know the Hinkie plan will work. I feel as though he could have done some things differently, but I support it. He did what Billy King and Ed Stefanski should have done after the Allen Iverson trade but the owner was content with the team only making the playoffs.

Next: Sixers Should Not Want Derrick Rose

What I do know is several things did not work. Not having high draft picks, signing role players in free agency to the mid-level exception, giving a role player a superstar player’s contract, giving an aging has-been “The Philly Max”, and more all did not work during the 3,651 days between that playoff loss to the Pistons in May of 2003 and when Hinkie was hired in May of 2014. Why not try something different?