Leading the Sixers draft strategy, here’s where Sam Hinkie messed up
Sam Hinkie is a polarizing figure in sports, but especially within the Philadelphia 76ers fan community. Plenty of fans love him, appreciated his vision for building the team, and stood by his unconventional ways.
Another significant group of people couldn’t stand him or fathom the years of losing he led the team into as he attempted to stockpile assets and look for diamonds in the rough via the draft and cheap trades in which other teams had given up on raw players a bit too early.
Hinkie’s draft strategy was too complex to boil down to just a sentence or paragraph, but one of the main guiding principles for his operation was stockpiling as many draft picks and young players as possible and putting the onus on them to excel.
Hinkie essentially figured that over the course of several seasons, the more “swings at the plate” you get, the better chance you have of landing a star when it comes to the draft.
There were hits. The Sixers landed Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Jerami Grant to name a few while Hinkie was overseeing operations.
Still, there were misses.
For the purposes of this article, I looked at players that have only played 100 games or more throughout their NBA career. While a player not reaching that mark could be viewed as a loss and a “bad” draft pick, it’s too difficult to judge those players as success or failures since there are plenty of “what-ifs”, and because the risk of players simply not panning out at all was something Hinkie calculated into his draft process.
That list of players who logged fewer than 100 games includes Pierre “Pappy Jack” Jackson, Russ Smith and J.P. Tokoto.
It leaves us with four main “bad” selections that Hinkie made, all at varying degrees.
Rest assured, Hinkie would never call these picks “bad”. He’d probably say something whimsical about how there are no bad picks because a proper draft strategy needs to account for the risk and reward potential of each and every prospect, planning contingency plans for the worst-case scenario of each prospect.
So, without further ado, these are the worst picks made in the Hinkie era in Philadelphia.