Trust the process.
Those three words have been stuck in the heads of the loyal fans, players, and other members of the Philadelphia 76ers organization, as the last three years have been an immense struggle. Although the team’s record has kept getting worse since 2013, their future keeps looking brighter and brighter due to the unconventional tactics of the one of a kind general manger, Sam Hinkie.
But Hinkies’s tenure with the Sixers came to an end on Wednesday, April 6, as he “stepped down” from the General Manager position. Reports and even Hinkie in his own letter say that he stepped down, but anyone who’s followed the Sixers “tanking process”– losing games to receive high draft picks– over the past few years are probably finding that claim hard to believe.
“From the moment Colangelo arrived on the job in December, Hinkie was doomed – no matter how hard Hinkie tried to work with Colangelo, no matter how hard he tried to accept and implement his advice,” said Yahoo’s top NBA analyst, Adrian Wojnarowski talking about the relationship that couldn’t last between the Sixers Chairman of Basketball Operations Jerry Colangelo and Hinkie.
“Hinkie was dubious of the process, sources said, and believed that Jerry planned to find a way to turn the power over to his son, Bryan Colangelo,” said Wojnarowski. And Hinkie was right. Bryan Colangelo, former Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors GM, will be named the new General Manager of the Sixers on Monday according to Philly.com writer Keith Pompey.
This tanking process has been a staple in the Sixers organization since Hinkie has been the GM. Picking apart and rebuilding this team has been Hinkie’s obsession, but his job has now vanished due to his risky actions.
“Under Hinkie’s tenure, the 76ers have amassed an NBA-worst record of 47-195 since the 2013-14 season, winning fewer than 20 games in each of his three years on the job,” said Yahoo Sports writer Dan Devine. But that statistic shouldn’t surprise anyone, as the goal of this team was to rebuild, which meant starting over and losing lots of games.
Hinkie’s goal was simple, but the thought of the process was so complex; lose now so that the team could eventually win.
During Hinkie’s three continuous losing seasons, the Sixers managed to gather multiple top draft pricks acquiring Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Jahlil Okafor. During this time they have also drafted/signed multiple talented young players, including Robert Covington, TJ McConnell, Nik Stauskas, Jerami Grant and Ish Smith, who to date, have been major contributors to the hard fought but unsuccessful play of the Sixers.
With that being said, the potential success of the Sixers in the near future seems to have no limits. “Our salary cap position going forward is easily the NBA’s best. The most room, the most flexibility, providing the widest available set of options in free agency or trade of any club,” said Hinkie in his resignation letter.
Additionally, the Sixers have the highest chance at receiving the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA. “Our Future Franchise Rankings (ESPN’s) that began at 24th in a 30-team league in May of 2013 climbed to 19th in 2014, 17th in 2015, and most recently via RealGM’s rankings in December of 2015, 12th,” said Hinkie in his letter. But unfortunately for him, he will not be a part of the Sixers future.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” This quote that Hinkie mentioned in his letter is so relevant to what he stood for under this organization.
He’s been sharpening the axe for the past three years, and now the time has come to cut down the tree. But the axe has been taken right from his hands, and now it’s up to the Colangelo family to take this tree down.
The near future would have been the peak of Hinkie’s project, – potential first overall pick, debuts of Embiid and Saric, probable big signings during the offseason- but he’ll never be able to put his cherished piece of the puzzle into place.
Through all the turmoil, Hinkie still hopes the best for the Sixers saying, “I wish you the best of luck. Like other Sixers fans, I will cross my fingers for you on lottery night in New York.”
Tune into the NBA draft Lottery on May 17 and the NBA Draft 2016 on June 23; two dates that are very meaningful for the Philadelphia 76ers.