Philadelphia may not have stuck with Sam Hinkie, but his process continues to stick with them. And work for them.
The Sixers will pick third in the NBA Draft next month because former GM Hinkie flat-out schooled the Sacramento Kings in a 2015 trade: The Kings got the rights to Arturas Gudaitis (the 47th pick in the 2015 draft) and Luka Mitrovic (60th pick) while the Sixers got Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, and the rights to swap picks this year, plus another future first rounder.
The Kings were set to pick eighth this year, but the lottery was kind to them and they jumped up to third — higher than the Sixers (fifth) so Philly chose to swap. Which led Sixers primary owner Joshua Harris scream out thanks to the man he canned in Hinkie, as reported by CSNPhilly.com.
“Thank you, Sam Hinkie!” he said, again all but shouting for the rooftops. “You set us up well. I’m going to text him tonight, and give him a big kiss over text.”
Sixer fans feel the same way — some raised a Hinkie banner at the Sixers draft party Tuesday.
If you’re wondering why Harris fired Hinkie in the first place, his other comment shows where his head is — and was — at on “the process.”
“I want to be done with this building, man,” the Sixers’ principal owner said after Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery in the Hilton Midtown. “I’m ready to be, like, playing [in the playoffs].”
Whether or not there was pressure from Adam Silver and the league to shortcut the process, Harris could not handle the volume of losing that came with Hinkie’s plan. It’s not that Hinkie didn’t lay out his plan in detail, it’s not that Harris didn’t sign off on it, heck, it’s not even that it wasn’t working. However, understanding it intellectually, seeing it on a spreadsheet or in a cold presentation, is very different from watching your team lose daily. It’s different watching your team draft guys you know have high upside but likely will not play for a year after the draft (Joel Embiid, and it turned out to be two years).
New GM Bryan Colangelo stands to be the beneficiary of the process. The only question is how much of that future might he be willing to move to get veterans in Philly who could help keep Haris off the lottery stage next year? Well, and is that the best plan long term?