Sam Hinkie will be the first to admit he didn’t want the Sixers to be THIS bad. He made mistakes. He trusted the process, but he knew he needed a point guard to get Jahlil Okafor the rock in his preferred spots on the floor.He thought he had one in Kendall Marshall, but he has not been healthy until tonight (Friday) when he finally enters the lineup to help stabilize the backcourt.
This week Hinkie, the Sixers’ GM, had his legs cut out from under him by the hiring of Jerry Colangelo by owner Joshua Harris. Well, probably. We don’t know who has the hammer in that organization, but the smart money is on Colangelo having it or at the very least having a better chance of convincing Harris — the owner always has the ultimate hammer — to go with his ideas.
Does Hinkie have regrets about what led him to this moment? Small ones, yes. Ones that may have sealed his fate. But he did it his way — he doesn’t regret the process overall, he told Zach Lowe of ESPN. He knows he needs to get a franchise cornerstone and sees the draft as the way the Sixers could get that guy.
Translation: you need stars to win a title, and the best way to get a star over his entire prime is to draft him. “The most challenging part is to go from zero stars to one,” Hinkie says. “After the Clippers got Blake Griffin, Chris Paul is a possibility. After the Rockets had James Harden, Dwight Howard is a possibility. After the Cavaliers have Kyrie Irving, LeBron coming back is a possibility.”
Hinkie has few regrets about his moves, but concedes, again, that he could have spent more to acquire a couple of mid-career veteran free agents. “There have been deals where we were close, and we reached our limit, and they reached their limit,” Hinkie says. “Maybe our limit was too low. But we haven’t done anything big that I regret.”
Those limits in chasing veterans for the locker room and using cap space to overpay and chase guys on restricted free agent contracts are likely to changes coming to the Sixers under Colangelo. It’s an effort to provide stability and competence on the court. But don’t expect big changes — the Sixers should have three or four first-round picks this June, they are not going to ship those out to win 30 games this season. That would be foolish. Talent wins and the Sixers are in a better situation to get it now than they were a few years back.
Hinkie freely admits he could have played this safer but chose not to. That strategy may have cost him in the pecking order in the organization and still have been the smart moves long term — those ideas are not mutually exclusive.
There have been reports Hinkie would step down soon after this move by ownership, but as you would expect he denied that.
Hinkie has no plans to step down, and remains confident in his power. “Our owners made it very clear they want me leading us long-term,” Hinkie says. “Adding one more voice will make the conversation richer. Might it be challenging at times? I’m sure it will be. But making big decisions shouldn’t be easy — it shouldn’t be that you have an idea, and you get to execute it without anyone questioning it.”
The Sixers will take a safer route and win more games next season. If things turn around in the next few years and this core — led by coach Brett Brown — starts to look like a future contender