Inside the 76ers: Bryan Colangelo brings a good track record

There are some who won't allow themselves to admit this, and it's understandable.

The sudden resignation of Sam Hinkie as the 76ers' general manager and president of basketball operations Wednesday evening is too fresh in their minds. So those who have supported Hinkie's extended plan of tanking and acquiring assets are upset that he didn't (or chose not to) get a chance to see things through.

They're also upset that the person who will replace him is Bryan Colangelo, the son of the Sixers' chairman of basketball operations, Jerry Colangelo.

As we've known for months, Hinkie's power was reduced once Jerry Colangelo was hired Dec. 7. It was also revealed later that the Sixers were going to bring in someone to take on some of the responsibilities with which Hinkie struggled. So he resigned.

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Folks bashed the Sixers for nepotism, immediately after learning the hire would be Bryan Colangelo. They brought up that he was unable to win an NBA championship during his stops as general manager of the Phoenix Suns and the Toronto Raptors.

And they delivered perhaps the lowest blow of all, mentioning that he drafted 20-year-old Italian Andrea Bargnani with the first overall selection in the 2006 NBA draft. Let's just say that making Bargnani the first European to be selected first overall didn't pan out. He never lived up to the hype and is on his third NBA team.

But what the disappointed folks don't mention is that Bryan Colangelo is a two-time NBA executive of the year. The 50-year-old first won the award in 2005 with the Suns. His second award came in 2007 with the Raptors.

"If you are the Sixers, you should be really happy about this," said a league executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Plus, it will be a seamless transition with Jerry and his son. Everything will be on the same page."

That wasn't the case with Jerry Colangelo and Hinkie over the last four months.

But aside from Bargnani, Bryan Colangelo has been known for excelling while making aggressive moves.

He drafted Steve Nash 15th overall in the 1996 NBA draft and traded him to the Dallas Mavericks in 1998 in exchange for Pat Garrity, Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells, and a 1999 first-round pick that he used to select Shawn Marion.

He also drafted Amar'e Stoudemire ninth overall in 2002.

Some of his most noteworthy roster moves came during and after the 2003-04 season, when the team finished 29-53.

In January 2004, he sent Anfernee Hardaway, Stephon Marbury, and Cezary Trybanski to the Knicks for Howard Eisley, Maciej Lampe, Antonio McDyess, Charlie Ward, Milos Vujanic, and 2004 and 2010 first-round picks. Then he signed Nash as a free agent that summer.

The following season, the Suns went 62-20 and lost to the Spurs in the Western Conference finals. Nash was named the league's MVP, and Mike D'Antoni, now the Sixers' associate head coach, was the NBA coach of the year.

That was the first of three Pacific Division titles and the first of back-to-back conference finals appearances for the Suns.

However, Bryan Colangelo wasn't there to celebrate all that he put in place because of a soured relationship with managing owner Robert Sarver, who bought the team from Jerry Colangelo.

So he took over the Raptors on Feb. 28, 2006. In 2006-07, the Raptors finished 47-35 and made their first playoff appearance in five seasons. It was also their first winning season since 2001-02.

Bryan Colangelo is also an architect of this season's Raptors, who are the Eastern Conference's second-best squad.

He selected DeMar DeRozan with the ninth pick of the 2009 draft. Colangelo hired Dwayne Casey as the head coach in June 2011. He drafted Jonas Valanciunas with the fifth pick of the 2011 draft two days later. Then, after drafting Terrence Ross with the eighth pick in 2012, he acquired Kyle Lowry in a trade with the Houston Rockets in July 2012.

DeRozan and Lowry have gone on to become two-time NBA all-stars.

He left the Raptors general manager's spot on May 21, 2013, and stepped down as team president on June 26, 2013.

The league executive expects Bryan Colangelo to make changes to the front office by bringing in more basketball people. Yahoo Sports has reported that Washington Wizards executive Marc Eversley is expected to eventually join the Sixers staff.

While some fans are still mourning Hinkie's loss, league executives believe the team is already in a better place.

"With Bryan you have a track record," another league executive said. "He knows how to make deals, evaluate talent, and how to have relationships with players.

"That's what the Sixers need."

kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.philly.com/sixersblog

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