Sam Hinkie is best known throughout the league as a basketball analytics proponent; he served in Houston as the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations under Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who ESPN writer Bill Simmons commonly refers to as Dork Elvis. Hinkie believes in the sabermetric side of the sport and is always looking for new benchmarks to measure player success by.
In building a perennial NBA contender, the job requires a lot of patience, luck, and a concrete strategy. Hinkie has the strategy part figured out. In becoming a cellar-dweller in this coming season, Philadelphia is able to move to the top of the draft board in a loaded incoming draft class. Experts at ESPN, Yahoo!, and other sports outlets have all agreed that this will be the best draft class since 2003, with 7 or 8 definite future all stars and a few more solid pieces to build a young team around. In order to replicate the Oklahoma City model, Hinkie plans on establishing a young core to build his team around with two picks in the 2014 draft and two highly sought players from the most recent draft in Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter Williams.
Hinkie also has patience on his side. While in Houston, his teams struggled to succeed in the playoffs and drafted towards the middle of the 1st round year after year. They were able to snag a few quality assets in players like Aaron Brooks, Kyle Lowry and Chandler Parsons, but the Rockets were unable to find that piece to build their team around. Morey consistently involved Houston in trade talks to acquire that foundational piece by offering his talented role players every chance he got, but was unable to reel in the big fish. Finally, after years of unsuccessful negotiations, the Rockets were able to bring in James Harden in a trade, which also helped them to sign Dwight Howard in free agency this offseason. In two years, the Rockets went from early playoff exit into a championship contender. Sam Hinkie had a front row seat to view the entire process and there’s no reason to believe he won’t succeed in building the Sixers the same way.
Even if the process doesn’t happen on the first try, Hinkie has the intelligence and negotiating skill that will quickly turn the Sixers into a winning franchise once again. Whether he has the luck to make this happen, well we will find out that answer a few years down the road, when the 76ers will hopefully be parading down Broad Street with the Larry O’Brien trophy in hand.
By: Dan Goggin
Follow us on Twitter: @BroadStBeat