Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie addressed the media Friday to talk about the Sixers' draft picks. Here's some highlights of what he had to say.
On the future:
We feel really happy about what we've done and the players we were able to bring in.
I've been here 13 months. I think we've been pretty consistent on what we've been focused on in that time. It's hard to know. We couldn't have predicted very well at 7:40 last night what might have happened at the third pick. We'll focus on trying to make all the best decisions we can at each step and we'll see where that takes us.
What grade would you give the Sixers' draft picks?
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Total votes = 19169
We are focused on the same thing we focused on when we got here. How do we build something championship caliber? I want us to build a championship caliber team.
On the fans watching:
Last year I was pleasantly surprised, I have been borderline shocked in the last month at how smart our fans are and the price you have to pay to go to where you want to go. It has been remarkable to me to watch the level of intrigue and the level of patience and understanding... It's been remarkable to see just how thoughtful our fans have been about what we're trying to do.
On drafting the injured Joel Embiid at No. 3:
We felt in many ways very fortunate to have the set of circumstances happen that allowed a player like Joel to be in our position. We were very aggressive and we will continue to be very aggressive to find the best players for our team.
A lot of hard work around looking into Joel and looking into his particular injury. You end up trying to triangulate from lots of different areas, we had many late night conference calls. We'd gather the opinions of surgeons around the country and gather the options of the people who treated Joel in person. In the end, we felt good. He is a remarkable talent in our minds, and only in this scenario does he fall to three.
Opinions were generally that his back was not terribly worrisome.
On Embiid's health recovery:
I've seen reported some 4-6 months - that's not the number I heard, the number I heard from the surgeon himself was 5-8 months. We will focus on the long term health of the player. That's all that matters. Will we be smart about that? Of course. Will we be patient? Yes. If he can remain healthy he can have a fantastic NBA career.
On trading No. 10 draft pick for Dario Saric:
Many of our people have been around him and coached him over the years. Several of our staff including me was at his first ever game... which was a sight to behold. As far as timing, we'll see, no sooner than two years, that's for sure. He will not come for at least two years, and I think it could be longer, but I don't anticipate it to be.
All these are calculated risks... a lot of what we do is sleuthing for information, sleuthing for who has been working who out... was our intel solid? Yes. Was it airtight? No chance.
On how Nerlens Noel will play with Embiid and Saric:
I think Nerlens will play more center than power forward in the summer league that starts next week. If you talk to Nerlens and you talk to Joel, they believe they can play with each other. Dario I think, is really versatile. I think his more natural position is a forward. Often he ends up bringing the ball up, he's a great rebounder, a great passer, he's got great instincts. If in fact, they do play together, which is what we anticipate, we will be a menace at the rim. And if you're going to bring balance to the other team, that's the way to do it.
If you were to have too many players at a position, center would be it.
On veteran Thaddeus Young's role:
I've been very open with Thad, during the season and when he and I talked at the end during his exit interview, about his role and how quickly his role had changed... we talked a lot about stability, how he could play a role there, how he had real value to us as a veteran on this team... I think you're right, in some ways, it's quite hard for Thad, to play the way we played last year is challenging. At some point every player gets to the point where winning is paramount.
(In Young) There's some level of excitement as to what could be... I think even he sees there's a little push-pull there. I do. I like everything Thad is about, he brings it every day, he's hard working, he's bright, he's a really high character guy, he's a big athlete with a defensive mindset, he can shoot it way better than the world thought.
On getting Saric to return to the U.S. after his two-year contract in Turkey:
I think our job is to look around and try to find the best talent we can anywhere in the world. I think players... can't resist the allure of the NBA. They recognize what it means to play against the world's best athletes. And when they to realize they are among the best in the world, they can't wait to scratch that itch and get up against those world's best athletes and see what they're made of.
We selected Dario because we were confident Dario would be the best player for us in the long term. We were ecstatic to be able to add him and what he could mean for us.
Dario's American agent also happens to be Micheal Carter-William's agent, Jeff Schwartz. We were in close contact with them about what it is they might do. It appears to me Dario might have made his own decision about what he wants to do going forward. He knew that might impact his draft stock, if someone had to wait and was comfortable doing that regardless.
On the possibility the Sixers would trade for the No. 1 pick:
Lots of conversations... if we're not known for that, we will be soon. I don't think there's anything that got very serious to move up from three. You don't see those trades very often. I suspect Clelveland was talking to every team in the top 15 and we were one. With us they never got the least bit close.
On Embiid's injury letting him fall to No. 3:
I sniffed opportunity the moment it happened... the moment he got hurt. We thought we might be the organization with just the set of owners and we might do it.
On Michael Carter-Williams' fears that he would be traded:
It's a part of the new NBA; welcome to being a good player, this happens a lot. One of the things I was worried about when I took this job, I don't really like playing the leak game. It turns out if you don't say anything, everything gets said anyway. This feels like it happened with Michael. There's also these rumors out about all the good players on our team... because we're unpredictable, people put it out there. It stinks. It just stinks.
On second round picks:
K.J. (McDaniels) was somebody we'd targeted much higher, he's wildly athletic. He's a big time shot blocker from the wing position which you don't see very much. We think he's a player in our system who could really flourish. Jerami (Grant), we were shocked was still there. I think even Jerami was shocked. Jerami we did not work out, because quite reasonably his agent said, you pick at 10, you're picking at 32, he's not going at 10, he won't make it to 32. Let's not waste our time.