Sam Hinkie was hired as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers on May 14th, 2013. He was fairly unknown and touted as an analytics guy & a Daryl Morey disciple from his time with the Houston Rockets. Two years ago, I wrote about Morey's tenure with Houston leading up to his pursuit of Dwight Howard. Morey had the pleasure of inheriting a perennial playoff team albeit one that couldn't escape the first round of the playoffs. The team Hinkie inherited had made the playoffs in 4 of its previous 6 seasons but hadn't won more than 43 games since the 2002-03 season.
Hinkie's blueprint for turning around the storied Sixers franchise was already laid out before him, thanks to Morey, but his job would be much more difficult due to the lack of talent in place. Prior to being hired, franchise favorite Andre Iguodala was shipped out to Denver in a 4-team trade along with a future 1st round pick for the calamity that was Andrew Bynum. Philly naturally struggled their way to a 9th place finish in the Eastern Conference. Enter Hinkie.
The number one priority was a complete rebuild and collecting future assets that could potentially be turned into a superstar. Morey made a point of collecting future draft picks, draft and stash players, maximizing the use of long, team-friendly, non-guaranteed deals for younger players & keeping open cap space to absorb salary dumps to acquire more assets. For Morey, that turned into Dwight Howard & James Harden and very nearly Chris Bosh. Hinkie set off on that same path and already has the franchise heading to a brighter future although it will be another tough season on the court.
Critics will continue to rant about the on-court product, using another top 10 pick on a big man who likely won't play this year & the fact that Hinkie won't throw money at free agents who might help the team do better this season but offer no long-term value. But it's pretty hard to argue with the chart below so Hinkie gets the benefit of the doubt. Philly has some great young talent in Carter-Williams & Noel to combine with 'veteran' Thaddeus Young and lead this year's team. Late in the season or the beginning of next year should bring Joel Embiid. Dario Saric likely joins in 2016 with the likes of Vasilije Micic, Pierre Jackson & Furkan Aldemir due somewhere in between. Combine that with a nice collection of future second round picks and the likelihood that the two first rounders that Philly owed when Hinkie took over are likely to become two 2nd round picks, it doesn't look half bad.
A quick look at the moves Hinkie has made since coming aboard.
- IN – Nerlens Noel (6), Michael Carter-Williams (11), rts to Arsalan Kazemi (54), NO’s 2014 1st (top 5), MIL’s 2014 2nd, DAL’s 2014 2nd
- OUT – Jrue Holiday, rts to Glen Rice Jr. (35), rts to Pierre Jackson (42)
2013-14 FREE AGENCY
- OUT – Bynum, Ju. Holiday, Ivey, Jenkins, Wilkins, Wright, Young
- IN – James Anderson, Brandon Davies, Darius Morris, Daniel Orton, Hollis Thompson
- IN – Tony Wroten, rts to Furkan Aldemir
- OUT – 2nd rd picks not exercised
- IN – Lorenzo Brown
- OUT – K. Brown, Morris, Orton
- IN – Earl Clark, Danny Granger, Eric Maynor, Byron Mullens, Henry Sims, 2 CLE 2014 2nds (38th, 52nd), GS’s 2015 2nd, NO’s 2015 2nd, DEN’s 2016 2nd, LAC’s 2018 2nd
- OUT – Lavoy Allen, Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner
- WAIVED – Clark, Granger
REST OF SEASON
- IN – Adonis Thomas, Jarvis Varnado, Casper Ware
- OUT – Lorenzo Brown, Maynor
- IN – Joel Embiid (3), Dario Saric (12), K.J. McDaniels (32), Jerami Grant (39), Vasilije Micic (52), Jordan McRae (58), ORL’s 2015 2nd, Own 2017 1st back, rts to Pierre Jackson
- OUT – Elfrid Payton (10), Russ Smith (47), Nemanja Dangubic (54)
- OUT – Anderson, Mullens, Thomas
Below is a look at the 12 players currently under contract with the 76ers. It's likely that 2014 draft picks Embiid, McDaniels & Grant will round out the roster with tons of possibilities for other moves due to the plethora of non-guaranteed (orange) deals and available cap space. You can see a lot of those Morey-esque long-term deals in place for the younger guys. The present will be tough but it's hard to argue with the return Hinkie has received with so little to work with initially.