Can we all finally agree that Sam Hinkie and what came to be known as The Process was an unmitigated disaster on every level?
Now that Sam Hinkie has been gone for a while and we can look back at what he did as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers during his three years in the position a bit more impartially, it’s time to be honest with ourselves.
The Process, the name Hinkie gave to the Sixers long rebuilding plan, was a mistake filled failure that didn’t really do much to help the team.
Now before you run to burn me in effigy, let me explain.
One thing I will readily admit is that Hinkie worked wonders in regards to the salary cap and put the Sixers in a great position for the future. The team has an obscene amount of money to spend on free agents and an ability to sign just about any player who may want to come here.
Of course, once the NBA signed its new television deal in 2014, almost every team in the league can say the same thing. There is a ton of cash to go around and the Sixers are now one of many franchises with money to spend.
Even if we give Hinkie credit for that, which is arguable, there is very little else he did that will leave a lasting impression on the franchise.
Yes, Hinkie did draft Joel Embiid and the 22-year-old center is everything that was promised and more. Odds are that Embiid will be the face of the Sixers for years to come.
But Hinkie doesn’t deserve the credit for that.
Because of some bad luck, the Sixers ended up with the third overall pick despite having the second-worst record that season. By the time the Sixers were on the clock, Andrew Wiggins from Kansas and Jabari Parker out of Duke were gone. Who else was Hinkie supposed to pick? Embiid was still the painfully obvious choice despite the foot surgery he had less than a week earlier. Any GM on any team in the NBA would have made the identical choice.
The same can be said for what happened at the 2015 NBA Draft. Again, the Sixers had the third overall pick and the player they clearly wanted, point guard D’Angelo Russell out of Ohio State, was snapped up by the Los Angles Lakers in a surprise move. Considering Kristaps Porzingis had made it abundantly clear he had no desire to play for Philadelphia, the only pick Hinkie could make was Jahlil Okafor.
It was a pick that would lead to the incredibly crowded frontcourt we’re all watching head coach Brett Brown try to deal with. It is more than likely going to result in Okafor and/or another Hinkie pick, center Nerlens Noel, being traded to another team for far less than they are worth because the entire NBA knows the Sixers need to unload one or both of these players in order to move forward.
All thanks to Sam Hinkie.
Then there are the plethora of second-round picks he accumulated that have amounted to almost nothing. And the one player Hinkie did acquire that had some solid potential, K.J. McDaniels, he traded away for guard Isaiah Canaan. And why did we need Canaan? Because Hinkie had traded Michael Carter-Williams to the Milwaukee Bucks for a protected Lakers pick that we have yet to see.
When talking about Hinkie, there are also the intangibles to factor in, such as what all that losing over the last two years did not only to the team but its image and psyche. Sure, we have money to spend on free agents, but who in their right mind would want to play here? And there was the issue that The Process didn’t seem to have any kind of timetable. When would the Sixers finally be respectable again? When would we start to win again? Hinkie didn’t seem to have an answer.
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So after almost three years of Sam Hinkie and The Process, all the team has to show for it is too many big men, tons of cap room that would have happened anyway with all the new television money the NBA is enjoying and little else.
No, I was not a Sam Hinkie fan. And if Embiid and 2016 first overall pick Ben Simmons do eventually lead the 76ers to an NBA Finals appearance, I will not give Hinkie a lot of credit for it.
If anything, the Sixers will need to succeed despite what The Process wrought.