Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What I took away from Sam Hinkie's first draft with the Sixers

I really didn’t know what to expect from the Sixers heading into Thursday night’s NBA Draft. I headed to Brooklyn sort of sensing a trade - Sam Hinkie had just been too dang quiet to not have something up his sleeve. I thought maybe Evan Turner would (finally) be shipped out of town, or maybe even super-Sixer Thaddeus Young. Or maybe Hinkie would just trade the entire team for the current Houston Rockets roster; I didn’t know, anything seemed possible.

What I took away from Sam Hinkie's first draft with the Sixers

Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie and first-round pick Michael Carter-Williams. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/Staff Photographer)
Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie and first-round pick Michael Carter-Williams. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/Staff Photographer)

I really didn’t know what to expect from the Sixers heading into Thursday night’s NBA Draft. I headed to Brooklyn sort of sensing a trade - Sam Hinkie had just been too dang quiet to not have something up his sleeve. I thought maybe Evan Turner would (finally) be shipped out of town, or maybe even super-Sixer Thaddeus Young. Or maybe Hinkie would just trade the entire team for the current Houston Rockets roster; I didn’t know, anything seemed possible.

Anyway, I didn’t want to think about it too deeply on the car ride there, fearing that honing in too deeply on Hinkie would impair my driving ability, so I just listened to some old Notorious B.I.G. albums instead; I was going to Brooklyn, it seemed fitting.

After fighting through unnecessary Brooklyn traffic, or as my GPS system called it, an “optimized route,” I arrived at the Barclays Center, eager to get the scoop on what the Sixers could be cooking up.

As hard as it is to believe, it is actually somewhat difficult to obtain accurate “inside” information in the media room at the NBA Draft. Not because there isn’t any of it, but because there is actually too much. Everyone has some scoop or story on a trade or a possible pick. You sort of have to sift through the soot to get some half-decent, semi-accurate information.

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Before I secured my seat on the floor in front of the Draft’s stage, a trusted source told me that the Sixers were desperately trying to trade up, and that Jrue Holiday was the only “untouchable” on the team.

I sat down to begin watching the Nerlens Noel freefall, fully aware that the Sixers were working away behind the scenes. I did not know, however, that these two events would be connected.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I was informed, via Twitter, since those sitting in press rows don’t have the benefit of live analysis, that the “untouchable” Jrue Holiday, was the other half of the Nerlens Noel deal. Sources, eh.

Despite not being the biggest fan of Nerlens Noel, especially after hearing someone compare him to Theo Ratliff while I was eating the NBA’s pre-draft meal, I liked the move; it cleared up a ton of cap space, and Holiday wasn’t the right guy to build around anyway.

Moving on, I knew that this meant that the Sixers would soon be selecting a guard, and Carter-Williams was the best available, at least potential-wise. I immediately approved of the moves that Hinkie was making; stacking up on young talent and picks while cutting cap space. Yeah, the Sixers might stink for a couple seasons, but you have to build from the bottom, and for the first time in a while it seems that there is a guy in charge who is unafraid of that.

“You won’t see us do a lot of quick fixes,” he assured us in a press conference early Friday afternoon.

While the flurry of second round moves were mind-numbing to keep up with (I was extremely excited to have Glen Rice Jr. for all of three minutes), the end result was that the Sixers added a lot of young talent, while securing future selections and cutting cap space; albeit while losing an all-star.

After an interesting run-in with Baron Davis, I left the Barclays Center early Friday morning, feeling tired, a little overwhelmed, but overall optimistic about the organization’s draft decisions and future direction.

The outlook for next season may not be the brightest, I thought to myself as I wound my way back from Brooklyn, but at least Sam Hinkie exists, and he may know what he is doing after all.

Michael Kaskey-Blomain Assistant Sports Producer
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