Trusting Sam Hinkie: Not Time To Part Ways Just Yet

Feb 10, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie prior to a game against the Sacramento Kings at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 10, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie prior to a game against the Sacramento Kings at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The front office may be losing patience in Sam Hinkie, but they can’t let him and his crazy plan go just yet.

Reports have recently come out that suggest that the Philadelphia 76ers ownership is losing patience with general manager Sam Hinkie, and the lack of progress that the Philadelphia 76ers have seen over the past few rebuild seasons. This is the third year of the rebuild in Philadelphia, and things have not gone ideally, but that’s sort of part of the plan.

As this third season wraps up, it’s hard to see a scenario where the Sixers win more than 10 games. This puts the Sixers at 47 wins in just three seasons, which is less than some teams compiled in just this season alone. The Sixers haven’t seen an above .500 season since 2012, which was also the last time the team made the playoffs, where they lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

So, yeah, losing has been a huge part of this rebuilding, but it has a purpose. That’s the craziness of the plan. Sam Hinkie has compiled rosters that are built to lose, all to get a shot at number one draft picks in order to acquire a huge star. In all the Hinkie drafts so far, the Sixers have not obtained the first overall pick. In fact, the best pick they’ve obtained is the third overall, which is beaten out by their second overall pick in 2010 that the Sixers used on Evan Turner.

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So, it’s clear to see why the ownership could be frustrated with Hinkie. The results at getting a high draft pick were better when the team wasn’t even trying to be bad. There has been little progress up to this point.

What that report suggests is that the idea of firing Hinkie at least has a seed in the brain of the likes of Josh Harris, Sixers majority owner. That doesn’t mean it’s happening, but the thought has probably crossed his mind, and he’s probably beginning to weigh options. As he weighs options, though, he’ll see that firing Hinkie is not the way to go.

If Hinkie were fired, there would probably be a parade down Broad Street, organized by the likes of Howard Eskin and those who see Sam Hinkie as “Scam Hinkie.” Although there’s a fairly large crowd backing “The Process” (which ironically is lead by Howard’s son, Spike Eskin) it’s not as big as some believe. If it were, the seats in the Center would be filled up, and the Sixers wouldn’t be dead last in attendance.

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Spike organized a “Rights to Rickie Sanchez Night” at one of the Sixers games, with a decent turnout, but I still think that a majority of the Sixers “fans” are against the losing culture. It’s hard to say, because a lot of them have gone and hidden under rocks during this dark time, an act that some of us might not consider very fan-like.

As Harris looks at the pros and cons of getting rid of Hinkie, he will see that there is a lot of reason to keep him at this point, and not a lot of reason to fire him. If you fire him now, before this year’s draft, all of the losing is for nothing. Next year looks to be the year that the Sixers start winning, at least a little bit, and you can’t leave this crazy plan in the dust after you’ve dedicated your franchise to it for three full seasons.

Whether you’re a fan that trusts the process, or a fan that thinks Hinkie’s plan is the worst thing to ever happen to Philly sports, you’d have to be crazy to think the best plan at this point is to fire Hinkie. Firing Hinkie, as I said in this week’s Flat Top Podcast, would be the Sixers subjecting themselves to being an awful basketball team for years to come for no other reason than to be bad. Now, they are bad with a purpose.

It’s also worth noting that shortly after this report, the Sixers put out a commercial with Sam Hinkie talking about the team’s future and how bright it is. One with Jerry Colangelo made its debut not too long ago as well.

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What should be done, if the ownership is truly frustrated enough to do something, is to sit down with Hinkie and talk strategy. Point out exactly what about the strategy is frustrating the ownership, and suggest a different course of action. Straying from the whole plan and the mind that created the plan at this point is not the way to go.