The Philadelphia 76ers hired Jerry Colangelo as the chairman of basketball operations, and although the way the hire came about was speculated, it was a great move by the team.
The Philadelphia 76ers may just be one of the most scrutinized teams in the NBA at this point. Even fans of the team that understand the tank mentality are fed up with the losing, and it’s nearly impossible to explain to the casual NBA fan that losing is acceptable because of the Sixers’ and general manager Sam Hinkie’s ways.
Hinkie has implemented a losing culture that hopes top draft picks will turn into talent someday and win games for the team, and the team is historically bad, becoming the team that waited for their second win the longest in the NBA. Because of this, the bad look it gives the NBA, and the complaints from owners claiming that the Sixers were hurting their ticket sales, Adam Silver stepped in and pushed a hire for the team–hiring Jerry Colangelo to be vice president of basketball operations.
The hire happened all of a sudden, as a press conference was announced just a few hours before the hiring was announced, putting fans on edge. Colangelo, after the news broke that Silver played a part in the hire, was seen as just a face in the front office, and someone the Sixers were practically paying to do nothing, except maybe intervene and have some better relationships with player agents than Sam Hinkie did.
There was good reason to be leery of Colangelo, especially at first. Fans have to wonder, “does this undermine the rebuilding process we’ve lived through and mean the tanking was meaningless?” But as time goes on, he’s already proving that even though he’s operating primarily out of Arizona, he’s a useful part of the Sixers team, and may have been a steal of a hire.
It has been reported that Colangelo was active in making this team better in his first few weeks of his new position. The former general manager and team owner was in close contact with head coach Brett Brown asking him what he could do to help the team, what he could add. Brown reportedly brought up D’Antoni’s name to add depth to the coaching bench, and just 24 hours later Colangelo told Brown that the Sixers got him.
This go and get it hire not only shows that Colangelo is committed to the team and looking to improve them, but that his connections can also be a huge asset to the team. The D’Antoni hire would not have been possible with simply Sam Hinkie running the front office.
Some fans had the same issue with this hire that they had with the Colangelo hire, that someone already existing on the Sixers staff would be undermined. This ended up being not the case again here, because it was of course Brown’s idea to bring in D’Antoni. A head coach is only as good as his assistants, and an extra mind and set of eyes could really help Brown lead this team.
In a way, Adam Silver pushing this hire was a good thing for the Sixers. Could they have gotten him if he had not? Would they even have thought to look for him or someone like him? Probably not. While Silver would probably have hoped that the hire would lead to an end of the tanking, it looks like it’s just speeding it along, which could be good for all parties.
The hire was (practically) free for Philly. They get Colangelo on their staff who has great connections and doesn’t seem to want to mess with Sam Hinkie’s plan, and they didn’t really have to do much to get him. Adam Silver thought he was helping the league, but he really just handed the Sixers a nice addition to their in-depth plan.