IN AN EARLIER column, I said 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie was either a mad genius or just mad. After the deals he made at the NBA trade deadline, I am now convinced he's not only mad, he's completely insane. The result of trading Michael Carter-Williams and K.J. McDaniels is that our remaining lineup is surely the worst in the NBA, and our two most interesting players to watch are gone.
As a result, the Sixers could have four picks in the first round and five picks in the second round of this year's draft, plus Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid will most likely both be healthy next season. Is anything wrong with that?
Let me count the ways!
First, consider that, to get here, the Sixers got rid of Nikola Vucevic (a double-double machine), Jodie Meeks, Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala (All-Star) before Hinkie even arrived, then cast away Jrue Holiday (All-Star), Thad Young, Spencer Hawes, Nick Young, McDaniels and Carter-Williams (last year's Rookie of the Year). MCW was traded away because he couldn't shoot well enough, but Rajon Rondo isn't a good shooter and he is an NBA star. I was at Opening Night in MCW's rookie season when the Sixers upset the defending champion Miami Heat. MCW was the main reason they won - he was breathtaking, scoring 22 points and getting seven rebounds, 12 assists and nine steals. He was a special talent then, and I believe Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd will make him more of a special player.
Trading McDaniels was also a big mistake. It was clear to anyone who watched him play that he was the type of player who could fill a valuable role as a complementary talent on a championship contender. Even Hinkie thought so. Once, in defense of his acquisition of yet another second-round pick, Hinkie was quoted as saying "that pick might become the next K.J McDaniels."
Second, consider the dearth of talent available in this year's draft. Our own Dick Jerardi, who knows as much about college basketball as anyone on the planet, opined that, sadly, there are zero franchise changers in this year's draft. I agree. Even Jahlil Okafor from Duke, the consensuses first overall pick, is good, but clearly not great, and someone tell me how the Sixers can play Okafor, Noel and Embiid - all high first-round picks - at the same time.
If you want to be really depressed, visit CBSSports.com and check its list of the top 100 draft picks. There aren't more than three players on the list who are sure bets to improve the Sixers.
As for their five second-round picks, odds are they won't be any real help in improving our team. More than 80 percent of NBA players who get significant playing time are first-rounders, and a second-round pick has roughly a one in 15 chance of being in a rotation. And the Sixers appeared to have defied those odds with K.J.!
I could go on by pointing out that the Sixers might not get two of their four first-round picks until 2 or 3 years from now, because they are protected. But, considering this year's talent pool, that might not be such a bad thing.
But nothing I've said is why I think Hinkie truly lost his mind. I didn't reach that conclusion until Forbes.com contributor Mark Heisler reported this week that an NBA source said the Sixers were willing to talk about trading Embiid for a top pick in this year's draft. Good God! Say it ain't so Sam! (Unlikely, since Sam rarely says anything.) What can that possibly mean? Is he damaged goods? What do we know about him now that we didn't know last year when we made him the third overall pick? Or is Sam just addicted to acquiring draft picks? Stay tuned; only time will tell!
On Twitter: @GovEdRendell