THE INABILITY TO CASH SECOND ROUNDERS INTO RESPECTABILITY
I know I’m the High School writer for this site but ever since Sam Hinkie stepped down/forced out issue broke there has been something about it that has gnawed at me.
First off and what has never been of any doubt in my mind is that Hinkie was forced out. Not a big revelation to anybody who has even the most remote interest in the Sixers situation.
What’s bothered me is the reaction of the Pro Process/Anti Process reaction to it all.
From the beginning it was obvious for all to see what the process entailed. I don’t think I need to spell it out but for those who may stumble upon this article due to a lack of no other reading material in an emergency morning constitution ritual I will.
Sam Hinkie embarked on what was later to become known as a “measured rebuilding process” in which he would purge the roster of anything remotely resembling a legitimate NBA player and rebuild it with draft picks and free agents accumulated with the excess cap space acquired through said purging. He would do this in a time frame that became more obvious as the process developed.
Sam Hinkie may be the NBA’s most introverted GM in the league’s history but at a certain point in the process he didn’t need to explain it to us like we were all second grade students. It was obvious for all to see and even with that he did from time to time come out and explain to us what he was doing.
Let’s get something straight. It wasn’t as if Hinkie was trying to hide what his intentions were. How could he? From the moment he dealt away Jrue Holiday for the rights to Nerlens Noel it was clear as day what Hinkie was up to.
Let’s go back a little further though. I’d bet my last dollar that Hinkie informed Sixers ownership how he intended to put the Sixers on the road to glory without spending too much time in “eighth seed purgatory” when he was interviewing for the GM job. If the Sixers spent a year there along the way it would be a very temporary pit stop and that’s it. I honestly believe that was the plan he laid out and that was the plan Josh Harris agreed to when he hired Hinkie.
I also believe that Hinkie must had known that he basically had one shot at doing it the “process way” and if he didn’t then the rest of the league surely let him know that they weren’t happy with the way he was doing things and that they would institute rules to make sure that nobody else would ever try to emulate Hinkie’s process. So Hinkie knew that if he was going to ensure employment in the NBA the process would have to work the way he laid it out then once he got to or close to the top of the mountain he would have job security in the league and it would be with the Sixers.
Think about it. Hinkie knew the lumps the team would take would be bad but if he could see it through to the end he would be hailed as a genius. If he were not allowed to see it through to the end then the Sixers job would be the last he ever held in the NBA. I mean how does he sell himself to the rest of the league now that he wasn’t allowed to see the process through to the end. He can’t sell the process to another team looking for a GM because the league will never allow this to happen again. He could modify the process but that would be hard due to the fact that his plan was an all or nothing plan. You can’t do what he did with the Sixers unless everybody was on the same page. Besides, modifying it would put you in the one place Sixers fans lamented all along. That’s the plan that more likely lands you in that eighth seed purgatory I talked about earlier.
No, it would have to be process or bust.
There is a way to do a modified process and be successful but it would have to take two ingredients that Hinkie lacked during this whole ordeal. Luck and the ability to find hidden gems in the late first round picks and all those second rounders Hinkie hoarded along the way.
First off was luck. Hinkie never was lucky enough to have the ping-pong balls bounce his way. Think DeAngelo Russell and Anthony Wiggins or even Karl Anthony Towns. If the ping-pong balls bounced Hinkie’s and the Sixers way then he would probably still have his job instead of being saddled with three big men, two of which can’t seem to find a way to co-exist and the other who may be either damaged goods or the next Hakeem Olajuwon. Now that Hinkie is gone the only ones who need luck as far as Joel Embid is concerned is the Sixers. Them and maybe the thousands of season ticket holders and the rest of the Sixers fan base in the Delaware Valley.
Probably the biggest thing to go against Hinkie was his inability to find those hidden gems I talked about earlier. He never did seem to find guys like Manu Ginobli that the San Antonio Spurs always seemed to find and were extremely important pieces in the Spurs Championship runs. If Hinkie could have found just a fraction of these gems that the Spurs did it may not have won them a title but it would have made them a bit more successful and that would have accomplished two things. It would have kept the NBA off of the Sixers backs and not forced them to hire Jerry Colangelo and it would have given Hinkie the breathing room he needed to see the process through to the end or at least something that looked like a successful ending to the process.
In the end though I believe it was the Sixers ownership group’s lack of conviction of courage to see the process through to the end that did Hinkie in. As I said earlier I don’t think Sam Hinkie misled the Sixers ownership into what they were getting into. I think they knew exactly what they were getting into. I just believe they lacked the conviction of courage to see it through. That and the inability to hold off the rest of the league and not give into the pressure the league was putting on them to do something to make the Sixers respectable. So you tell me. Does ten wins look like respectability to you? It doesn’t to me.
[Editor’s note: The only player Hinkie may have found in the 2nd round is Jerami Grant, but as Dave stated, there’s plenty of hidden gems that the great teams seem to find.]