There’s no settling in period for Sam Hinkie. The new general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers has already made his mark in his new job after being appointed only a few months ago. He traded away the Sixers’ All-Star point guard, Jrue Holiday, while also letting free-agent center Andrew Bynum walk without showing any intent to keep him. These moves were both very gutsy; many newly appointed GM’s might not have made the same moves.
But not every general manager is like Sam Hinkie. Even in his short career, it is clear to see he’s ahead of the curve. He was the man that squeezed the most out of draft night: Landing possibly the best player in the draft and the point guard with the most upside in the midst of landing another probable lottery pick in a loaded draft class. So, with the Sixers already having two high-upside rookies in Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel, they will be adding two more lottery players next year — providing the Sixers are bad next year, which they will be. That means they will have four young studs with unlimited potential on the roster. If one of them is Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, then the sky is the limit for Philly.
The new GM’s ruthlessness and ability to remove emotion from decisions will benefit Philadelphia in the long run. Jrue Holiday was an All-Star last year, yet he projects at best as a top 10 point guard in the league. He made the All-Star Game, sure, but he’s never going to be a consistent one. Finally, owner Josh Harris has said enough is enough: No more mediocrity.
Hinkie will also bring about a change in style on the court. Last season under Doug Collins, the Sixers played inefficient basketball, often taking long 2s and having an inability to get to the rim. Under Hinkie’s leadership, expect more corner 3s and free-throw attempts. Also, with MCW and Noel on the roster, expect the 76ers to run and run and run. Transition opportunities will make Philly a fun team to watch.
So, we’re looking at four young players, surrounded by any free agents Hinkie sees fit to use the abundance of cap room he’ll have on. Philly still have a chance to gain even more 2014 first rounders, with movable pieces like Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner on the trading block. A lot of people will probably look at the success of Daryl Morey with the Houston Rockets to project what Hinkie will be like, but he’s doing it a different way. Morey gained assets while remaining competitive in the aim of acquiring a superstar via trading and/or free agency. Hinkie looks to be going the more organic way, by stockpiling draft picks and aiming for a high lottery pick in a loaded draft class.
Normally, building through the draft takes a long time. We’ve seen how hard it’s been for the Charlotte Bobcats to build through the draft. But Hinkie’s progress in Philadelphia should have them competitive within three years.
Philadelphia is going to suck next season. But it’s for the greater good. Look at how the Oklahoma City Thunder have built through the draft and think how good the Sixers could be. Mediocrity is over in Philadelphia; it finally has a plan that could see the Sixers win a championship sometime down the line. Sam Hinkie is only a few months into his job, but he’s already made his mark on me and on other executives throughout the league. Sixers fans often lamented the Bynum trade last season, but it’s the best thing to happen to the team in years.