LAS VEGAS - Give Sam Hinkie credit.

The former 76ers president of basketball operations and general manager is probably smiling somewhere. That's because he's far from surprised about the joy folks in Philadelphia are feeling about their hometown basketball team.

Hinkie predicted this. It was part of "The Process."

No one knows if the Sixers will win the NBA championship that he hoped to deliver several seasons down the road. If they do, it will likely come on the watch of Bryan Colangelo, the team's new president.

Colangelo is the one who has to make the major decisions now. His biggest at this time is whether to trade Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor or both to balance a roster overloaded with post players.

It's hard to imagine that Colangelo will undergo the public scrutiny that Hinkie received for "The Process" if we learn five seasons from now that he traded away the wrong player.

Hinkie would tell you himself that the last three seasons were rough. He even lost 20 pounds because of stress this past season.

But Hinkie remained consistent in his belief that the negative vibe that surrounded his team would be temporary. He knew that the same folks who ripped his three-year tanking job would be elated if the team finally got the No. 1 pick.

Hinkie understood that he would get flak for acquiring an injured Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, who was locked into an overseas contract, in the 2014 draft. He also knew that folks would be excited once Embiid came close to being ready to play and Saric got out of his contract with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball Super League.

All three of those things happened this summer.

Embiid, who missed the last two seasons with foot surgeries, has been cleared to finally play five-on-five. He is expected to make his Sixers debut this fall.

The Sixers were awarded the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. Colangelo used it on point forward Ben Simmons, who has the tools to become something special. Then on Friday the franchise introduced Saric as a Sixer.

Suddenly, the team that was once the laughingstock of the NBA is the talk of Philadelphia, just as Hinkie predicted.

"You have to give a lot of credit to Sam Hinkie for the recent developments that have happened," coach Brett Brown said.

"I will also say that Bryan Colangelo has done two things in my eyes. He's jumped into this in a very selfless way and giving credit where credit is due in relation to Sam."

Colangelo is also committed to not taking shortcuts to bring a winner to Philly. He wants sustained dominance, not just a quick fix.

That's part of the reason Brown enjoys working with Colangelo to shape what the Sixers now have.

"There can't be any denying the credit that Sam deserves along that path," Brown said.

Colangelo is continuing with the basic philosophy the Sixers started when Hinkie was hired in May 2013.

Once his targeted A-list free agents signed with other teams, he settled for signing players to short-term deals that wouldn't set the team back.

Now he must balance the roster and put the Sixers in a position where Philadelphia becomes a destination for the top free agents.

The next few seasons should be interesting.

We will pay attention to see how quickly Simmons develops and if he can become the type of dominant point presence that Brown envisions. We will see if Embiid can remain healthy and have a productive career. We will also observe Saric's transition to the NBA game.

Over the next couple of years, Colangelo will reshape the roster via trades, free agency, and draft picks.

Because he has a better relationship with agents and general managers, one could argue that he's better suited than Hinkie to lead the Sixers into their next phase.

But Hinkie deserves credit for providing a great foundation, even though it took three seasons of heartache to get here. He knew this time would come.

kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.philly.com/sixersblog