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How do you think Sixers General Manager Sam Hinkie felt after hearing from the doctors that potential franchise player Joel Embiid may not be as healed as expected? Do you think he cowered in fear, thinking that his plan, just like Embiid’s right navicular bone, is fractured? In an article on philly.com Monday, The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey wrote:
Another source, an Eastern Conference executive, said Sunday that the 76ers’ rebuilding plan is doomed if Embiid is unable to remain healthy or play at a high level.
“He was their guy,” said the executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They were hoping he was a franchise player. If he’s not a franchise player, their whole plan is gone. . . . If Embiid can’t play or if he can’t reach a superstar level, their plan is really in trouble.”
Now, the Sixers and Hinkie certainly expected and were optimistic that Embiid could become a superstar player and someone around whom they could build the franchise. But there is zero chance (there’s an analytic for you, Howard Eskin) that Sam Hinkie would place all of his eggs in one basket. The plan would not be “doomed” even if Joel Embiid never steps foot on an NBA court. The Sixers have more than just Embiid. Let’s take a look.
They already have Nerlens Noel, who finished third in rookie of the year voting and developed into a defensive monster this season. They have Dario Saric, last year’s 12th overall selection, who may sign a contract with the team as soon as this summer, as is reported. They have the third pick in the draft next Thursday. Who says the player selected there can’t be a franchise, transcendent, superstar-level player. In addition, the Sixers will, in all likelihood, be very bad again this upcoming season and receive a high lottery pick in next summer’s draft.
But that is not all. The Lakers owe the Sixers a pick, which is only top three protected the next two seasons (and unprotected in ’18) and will probably be a top ten pick because the Lakers aren’t all that good either. The Miami Heat are indebted to the Sixers, as well. They owe Hinkie a first round pick, which is top ten protected next year and has a strong chance of landing in the Sixers’ hands in June 2016.
Remember the Javale McGee trade? Well, in accordance with The Plan’s blueprints, Hinkie was able to land him, along with Oklahoma City’s first rounder next year, because of the monster cap space with which the GM left himself to work. In addition, the Sixers own five second round picks this year. Okay, go ahead and laugh, because who needs second rounders, right? They are all busts anyway. Well, don’t tell that to potential NBA champion Draymond Green, who was taken 35th overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2012 Draft and has turned himself into a runner-up for NBA Defensive Player of the Year and a player in store for a large contract this offseason. Maybe just one of those five picks can become someone like Green or even a bench player on a good team down the road. Players on the Sixers’ roster already like Tony Wroten, Robert Covington, and Jerami Grant have shown their potential to be guys that can come off the bench and give a team some solid minutes.
Sam Hinkie’s plan was not titled “Joel Embiid.” There are many more parts to it, and Hinkie will use them all to his advantage. An injury to a top three pick may cripple any other franchise for years, but Sam Hinkie has made that scenario something from which the Sixers could recover. Embiid may turn out to become a superstar, anyway. If he doesn’t the Sixers sure have a plan for that, too.
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