Inside the 76ers: If it all works out, how will Hinkie be remembered?
Jerry Colangelo will be recognized for saving the 76ers if everything goes right. But what about Sam Hinkie? What will the Sixers general manager be remembered for?
Jerry Colangelo will be recognized for saving the 76ers if everything goes right.
But what about Sam Hinkie? What will the Sixers general manager be remembered for?
Hinkie has drawn his share of criticism for the way he ran the team before Colangelo was introduced as the chairman of basketball operations on Dec. 7. Since then, it's become obvious that Colangelo is the one making all of the major decisions. As a result, some around the league question how much power Hinkie has.
So how will he be viewed if this rebuilding process pans out?
Colangelo acknowledged that Hinkie has "done a terrific job" of accumulating assets.
Through an abundance of trades, Hinkie has the Sixers in position to possibly get four first-round picks in the NBA draft in June. In addition to their own, they have a chance at the Lakers' top-three-protected pick. The Sixers also are in line to get protected first-round picks from the Miami Heat (top 10) and Oklahoma City Thunder (top 15). They have the right to swap either of those picks for the Golden State Warriors' first-rounder. And the Sixers will have the option to exchange their first-rounder for the Sacramento Kings' first pick.
It's safe to say that there won't be any swapping. The Sixers (5-37 after Saturday's win) have the worst record in the NBA. If they finish the season that way, they'll have the best chance (25 percent) to secure the top pick. Meanwhile, the Kings (16-23) had the ninth-worst record as of Friday. As a result, there's a chance Sacramento might fall out of the top 10. The Warriors (37-4 after Saturday's loss) have the best record in the league. Barring a major collapse, they will pick last in June.
So how will Hinkie be remembered?
For the third consecutive season, he has constructed a roster for the sole purpose of trying to finish with the league's worst record. And unlike in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 campaigns, there's a sense that this team is destined to finish last.
The Sixers posted the league's second-worst record, 19-63, two seasons ago. They finished with the third-worst mark, 18-64, last season. But that didn't bring them the top pick; the Sixers picked third in each of the last two drafts.
The second half of this Sixers season began Saturday night. They embarked on their final 41 games with a five-game cushion over the Lakers for the league's worst record.
So one would assume that Hinkie would deserve the credit if the Sixers finish last and are lucky enough to get the first overall pick in the lottery.
But not everyone will give him credit if this rebuild works out.
"They tore down a team, which is relatively easy," said a league executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "There is no pressure. You take in salary, and you get draft picks by doing different things.
"But to build a team is a real skill. You need a skilled basketball person to build a team. That's why they brought Colangelo in."
Hinkie supporters, however, will tell you that he put everything in place for Colangelo to build on. They aren't concerned about the general manager's feud with agents, his lack of transparency, or the off-court issues that hovered over his team. All those things led to the NBA's stepping in and putting Colangelo in place.
Since his hiring, Colangelo has made major moves that have aided the team's immediate and long-term future.
So again, what will Hinkie be remembered for?