When Sam Hinkie took over as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers last May he had a clear and obvious objective: make up for past management’s mistakes and build the team back into a contender.
Hinkie has had that position for a little under a year now, and it is safe to say he has wasted little time in implementing a plan, and restructuring and reshaping the Sixers.
He began hacking away at the missteps of past management at the 2013 NBA Draft, where he traded away the talented, but well-paid and not always efficient Jrue Holiday, for a growing commodity in today’s NBA; assets in the form of draft picks.
Hinkie received rave reviews for the moves he made at draft night, which served as his first true test as a Sixer. By securing the likely Rookie of the Year in Michael Carter-Williams, and Nerlens Noel, who seems to be recovering well from his injury, Hinkie began to build a foundation for the franchise.
Heading into the season, Hinkie continued to mollify past miscues, cutting Kwame Brown (finally), despite prior coach Doug Collin’s desire to sign Kwame to an even longer contract.
And then came Thursday’s Trade Deadline, where Hinkie basically dropped a bomb and blew up what was remaining of the roster from Doug’s days.
Philadelphia’s last playoff appearance was Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals against Boston. That day, the Sixers starting lineup looked like this:
G – Jrue Holiday
G – Evan Turner
F – Andre Iguodala
F – Elton Brand
C – Spencer Hawes
After Thursday’s trade deadline, none of those players remain on the roster. In fact, the only player from that entire team that is still on the Sixers is Thaddeus Young, ironically the only one who was rumored to have requested a trade.
Even Thursday’s move to sign Eric Maynor will work to mollify the Moultrie mistake. Always thinking, that Hinkie.
The speed with which the Sixers have been reshaped is almost astonishing. In under two calendar years the team has unloaded every possible player (with the exception of Thad), bad contract, and awful obligation from that 2012 team that was five wins away from a Finals appearance.
And Hinkie’s move-making and mistake-mollifying will continue.
Considering where the Sixers finished two seasons ago and where they will finish this season it may seem like a step back, but likely a necessary one. The team as it was constructed, had reached its ceiling, and had limited future flexibility. Now, finally, under Sam Hinkie the organization is constructing a contender, rather than just trying to patch together a team.