1. Replacing Sam Hinkie with the Colangelos
There is a common theme on this list: Sam Hinkie is rarely featured, while the Colangelos’ incompetence is frequently on display. The only big mistake Hinkie made was with Okafor and even that could have been salvaged if ownership gave Hinkie more time to execute a trade.
The Colangelos took over during a pivotal point of building the team, and they did absolutely nothing. Instead of capitalizing on Embiid and Simmons being on rookie contracts, they stayed the course and let the cap space waste away. You can’t force a star to come here, but even the stars that were traded like Jimmy Butler (from Chicago) and Paul George could have been acquired, but the Sixers did not seem to be involved in any of those discussions.
The big free agent signings during this time were JJ Redick, Amir Johnson, Gerald Henderson, and Jarryd Bayless.
While Redick was a very valuable piece, his tenure was short, and he was being paid an extraordinary amount of money. Johnson had no business being anything more than a minimum player and blocked the development of much more promising players like Richaun Holmes. Henderson was around for one year and disappointed, which led to him being out of the league immediately after. The most significant role Jarryd Bayless played was being included as a salary filler for the Jimmy Butler trade. This is all on top of the previously mentioned draft mistakes.
Adam Silver facilitated a meeting between ownership and Jerry Colangelo intending to speed up the Sixers’ rebuild under Hinkie, but he ended up ruining a potential dynasty.
It is unknown if Hinkie could have done better, but it would be hard to do worse.
Embiid has had four different front-office groups since being drafted in 2014. That amount of instability is unheard of and it is no wonder this organization cannot get beyond the second round. It is not just the fact that there is a constant turnaround, each group after Hinkie has had at least one glaring flaw.
The Colangelos sat around and did nothing except bring nepotism and burner accounts to Philadelphia, Elton Brand gave away all the assets for Tobias Harris, and Daryl Morey let his unwavering love for James Harden and nostalgia get in the way of actually building a basketball team that can win in 2023.
Hinkie made some brilliant moves that have been forgotten over the years. When Spencer Hawes was putting up empty stats for the Sixers, he was able to get two second-round picks for him. Those picks turned into Jerami Grant and Vasilije Micic. Considering Hawes was a one-year rental and how Hinkie drafted, this was an absolute heist.
Trading Michael Carter-Williams was a bold move at the time, as he was the face of the franchise, but Hinkie recognized that he was being overvalued and managed to get the pick that became Mikal Bridges for him. Though it was unpopular with fans, Hinkie knew which risks to take and what was best for the franchise.
His best trade however is obviously the Kings trade. The Kings were desperately trying to clear cap space to sign Rajon Rondo; that desperation led them to Hinkie robbing them blind. The Sixers acquired Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, a 2019 first-round pick, and a pick swap in 2017 that famously conveyed into the third overall pick for the rights to Artūras Gudaitis and Luka Mitrović.
It was shrewd moves like this that separated Hinkie from the other regimes that followed him. Unfortunately, Hinkie was never able to bear the fruits of his labor as the following front office groups wasted away the gifts Hinkie gave them. He is the best basketball mind they had and forcing him out for the Colangelos will forever haunt the Philadelphia 76ers.