NBA Beat: Former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie defends his map

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 2:38 AM

Those are grand words to live by and a reminder of the cost of patience. But around the NBA in recent years, it’s been the mocking refrain from NBA types who have laughed at the Philadelphia 76ers and their “process” of improving below common manager Sam Hinkie, who resigned latest week.

NBA Beat: Former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie defends his map

Believe the process.

Those are grand words to live by and a reminder of the cost of patience.

But around the NBA in recent years, it’s been the mocking refrain from NBA types who have laughed at the Philadelphia 76ers and their “process” of improving below common manager Sam Hinkie, who resigned last week.

Hinkie left a heritage of losses and a future built on hope – hope that the process that led to the most losses in the NBA during his three-year tenure someday will pay off.

But Hinkie’s resignation wasn’t a surprise. The 76ers brought in Jerry Colangelo as chairman in December, and Colangelo’s son, Bryan, is a former common manager looking to obtain back into the business.

Philadelphia isn't the first team to keep its faith in the draft, wishing for lottery luck that brings a franchise-changing player. Hinkie made deals to acquire first-circular picks or the right to move up in the draft (look his deal with the Kings latest year). But maybe number team has been so consistently brazen in sticking with a losing map that banks on the draft.

“In the upcoming May draft lottery, we've what'll likely be the best ever odds to obtain the #one overall choose (nearly thirty%), a roughly fifty/fifty chance at a top-2 choose (the highest ever), and a roughly fifty/fifty chance at two top-5 picks, which would be the best lottery night haul ever,” Hinkie said in his resignation letter. “That same bounce of a ping pong ball (nearly a flip of a coin) will define if we've three first round picks this year (unusual) or four (unprecedented). That’s this year. Or this quarter, if you will.”

That’s all nice, but that also requires making the right pick. The 76ers had two lottery picks in two thousand-thirteenth, acquiring one from the New Orleans Pelicans that they used to draft injured middle Nerlens Noel. They used the other choice on guard Michael Carter-Williams, who won the Rookie of the Year award but was traded the following season. Noel has shown signs of being a solid player but hardly a franchise-changing figure.

In two thousand-fourteenth, Philadelphia again ended up with two lottery picks. The 76ers selected another injured center, Joel Embiid, who's yet to play in the league, and forward Dario Saric, who's still playing overseas.

“You can be incorrect for the right reasons,” Hinkie wrote. “This may well prove to be Joel Embiid.”

The 76ers’ troubles have made well-respected coach Brett Brown a sympathetic figure. Diehard fans speak about how many games the team could've won, refusing to accept the process is about losing.

Hinkie told ownership he was leaving the team in a better place.

“Your club is on solid footing now, with much tough work yet to be done,” he wrote. “As we continued to invest in youthful players, acquire more draft selections, and support cap flexibility the forward-looking markets took notice. Our Future Franchise Rankings (ESPN’s) that began at twenty-fourth in a 30-team league in May of two thousand thirteen climbed to nineteenth in two thousand-fourteenth, seventeenth in two thousand-fifteenth, and most recently via RealGM’s rankings in December of two thousand fifteen, twelfth. I think that's imminently reasonable, as is a couple of spots higher.”

So what becomes of Hinkie? What if in two years the 76ers are in the playoffs because of the process?

“I will be repotted professionally,” Hinkie wrote. “That is frequently uncomfortable; most growth is. But it’s also frequently healthier over the longer sweep of history, too.”     

Trending up

A few weeks ago, the Dallas Mavericks appeared to be headed out of the playoff picture.

Recollect when Kings guard Rajon Rondo said he wanted the Mavericks to purchase their “plane ticket” for the offseason the same day as the Kings at the finish of the regular season? That was March twenty-seven, and the Kings had just throttled the Mavericks 133-111, the tenth loss in twelfth games for Dallas.

The Mavericks haven’t lost since, winning six games to make better to 41-38 and near in on a playoff berth.

Right now, Dallas’ plane ticket will get the team to San Antonio following weekend for the first circular of the playoffs.   

Trending down

The Houston Rockets’ decline continues.

A year after James Harden led the Rockets to the Western Conference finals, they're on the verge of finishing with a losing record and might miss the playoffs.

Even though coach Kevin McHale was fired early in the season, problems persist, as illustrated by latest week’s residence loss to a Phoenix Suns team with nothing to play for.

Modify is bound to sweep through Clutch City in the offseason.

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