Sixers: No, the Bucks’ title doesn’t invalidate the Process

Sam Hinkie | Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Sam Hinkie | Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
1 of 3
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Another season has passed in which a team other than the Sixers won the NBA title. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks took the 2021 Finals in six games after falling down 2-0 to the Suns. As a result, the takes are out in full force.

To quote the Rights to Ricky Sanchez Podcast, it’s “Process Relitigation” time. Since the Sixers could’ve chosen Antetokounmpo or not traded Jrue Holiday, The Process was invalid. They also could’ve not bottomed out and done it “the right way”.

Or, that’s what people say, at least.

Sixers “passing on Giannis” revisionist history

If Sam Hinkie could travel back in time and take Antetokounmpo at 11, would he have? Of course. However, the revisionist history about how teams should’ve taken the Finals MVP has to stop. It’s just fundamentally dishonest to talk about him as though he was a can’t-miss prospect.

Antetokounmpo had a smooth game at the time but was far from being a top-tier pick. The upside most analysts and coaches projected for him at the time was Nicolas Batum. There were a lot of questions about how his game would translate to the NBA from Greece and they were warranted. This wasn’t a Luka Doncic situation where the EuroLeague was just openly disrespected.

Aside from that, Michael Carter-Williams was projected to be a top 10 pick and was considered a perfect replacement for the aforementioned Jrue Holiday. Most analysts graded the pick of MCW higher than the Bucks’ 15th pick.

Again, every GM now would go back in time and draft Antetokounmpo. But relitigating the draft, which is mostly a crapshoot, just seems tiring. All 30 teams passed up on Nikola Jokic in the 2014 draft, some even twice! One can certainly make the argument that Sam Hinkie was not the best drafter with some notable misses, but he still was responsible for acquiring Joel Embiid when most of the league questioned the pick due to injuries.

The same Bucks we’re talking about took Jabari Parker over Embiid. Hinkie’s philosophy of tanking and asset accumulation was never about a mandate to hit on every pick. It was about accumulating as much capital as possible to have more swings at acquiring that star player.