Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey defended his protégé, former 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie, during a recent appearance on Yahoo Sports' "The Vertical" podcast hosted by Adrian Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski asked Morey for his perspective on Hinkie's departure from the 76ers after team brass (and NBA officials) decided they had waited long enough for Hinkie to fix the team. Specifically, Wojnarowski asked Morey if he received criticism because Hinkie had become a pretty polarizing figure in the league and whether Morey was judged because of Hinkie's struggles.
Morey offered a very blunt defense of his former colleague. Here's an excerpt:
I wanted to take hits for him.
The reality is, when he took over Philly, he took the approach that was best for the franchise at that time in his judgment, which was that the best way for them to get to be a title contender, given the roster where they were at, was to take a pretty strong dip into the top five of the draft. That has more of a history of success in terms of building a championship contender.
Unfortunately, because of that, they took themselves out of free agency. That's going to make a lot of agents upset. They took themselves out of trades that were upgrading the franchise. That's going to upset people who feel like they're just sort of taking advantage of the rules of the league that you get high picks if you're terrible.
And the lottery sort of encourages you to get even worse than anyone needs to, which is why Commissioner [Adam] Silver was looking at reform or wanted reform to pass.
[Hinkie is] very good at what he does. Because of the path they took, I think it ends up being the case where he ended up upsetting a lot of folks - agents, important people around the league. And you know, unfortunately, I think that's what got him.