You may be surprised to learn that Marcus Hayes, known for injecting race into discussions that shouldn’t involve race, wrote a column today ripping the very white Sam Hinkie, whose efforts thus far have been almost universally applauded by pundits, for being a nerdy wizard, while calling Thaddeus Young, who made $8.6 million to play basketball this season, a hero.
To the excerpt machine!
Oddly, inexcusably, one voice will be missing: the voice of the producer of this lovable mess:
Sam Hinkie, the invisible general manager.
So far, he has generally managed to remain silent.
He destroyed every semblance of the Sixers’ core, implemented an evaluation process at least partly based on analytics, the use of which apparently requires an advanced degree in mathematics, a pocket protector and a Merlin hat.
Then – poof! – Hinkie disappeared.
At midday yesterday, Hinkie had yet to complete his meetings with the players, so his absence from the season-ending handshake party was excusable.
That he is not at Harris’ side today?
Certainly, Harris will endorse the job done so far by Hinkie, his handpicked Wonderboy, despite these facts:
* The Sixers began the season with four viable NBA starters but finished with just two, one of whom could ask for his walking papers in the next few weeks.
* They tied the NBA record for consecutive losses.
* And they got zero minutes of playing time from their No. 1 post player for the second year in a row.
Um, what? What exactly does Marcus expect Hinkie to say– “Yes, everything is going exactly according to plan and we were successful in our quest to field the worst basketball team we possible could without getting fined by the league for throwing games”?
It’s fairly obvious to anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention that the Sixers having only two viable starters and tying the NBA record for consecutive losses was very much by design in an effort to get multiple high draft picks in a draft stocked with talent. Marcus knows this. He has to know this. But he wrote the column anyway, criticizing the guy who, in an admittedly small sample size, has done all the things people wanted and expected him to do.
If Marcus would’ve just stopped there, this wouldn’t be worth discussing. But nope. He continued. Let’s rip Sam Hinkie for a job well-done, wax poetic about Thaddeus Young, and then throw in what borders on a dangerous landowner-slave reference just for fun:
Wisdom was sought, then, from those less-equipped to dispense it.
Young completed a heroic season uninjured but not undaunted. Selfless, hungry and nearing his peak, Young yesterday dropped the facade he has worn since the Sixers traded away three starters. He said he would insist on knowing the particulars of the Sixers’ plan going forward, and, if he didn’t like it, or if he was not told, he would ask to be traded.
Young, as good a soldier who ever served in this town, has earned this sort of impudence. Hinkie sold off the farm but kept Young to pull the plow, to keep the rows straight, to lead the herd. Young did all of that.
Does Young deserve a preemptive extension?
Only Hinkie can say, and Hinkie’s not saying anything about anything.
WHAT AM I READING?
To Marcus’ credit, he went on to write very nice things about Brett Brown. But he then returned to bashing Hinkie and compared him to Joe Banner:
Hinkie certainly is smart, organized, and prepared; but then, so was Joe Banner.
Over a 20-year span in Philadelphia, Banner revolutionized the football business market; established a template for an era of NFL transactions; and led the Eagles franchise to its most glorious era.
Nevertheless, Banner’s lack of appeal and his inability to suffer fools made him a pariah. At the first chance, Banner was run out of town on a rail.
Perhaps the Sixers are simply protecting their Wonderboy. Hinkie cannot put his foot in his mouth if he keeps his mouth shut.
The team is diminished for that.
So is Hinkie; at least, he is this week, when only one significant voice will be missing.
The only one that matters.
This is a really bad column.
H/T to (@mikejlenz)