I say that without hyperbole. This is possibly the worst, most rambling, inane, completely illogical sports column I’ve ever read. Honest to God, Marcus Hayes should at the very least be suspended, and perhaps even fired, for writing it.

Hayes, who is not on board with the Sixers’ plan, has once again come out in full opposition of said plan… because… the Sixers… didn’t sign… a veteran… point guard.


Here’s why “The Plan” is “fraudulent,” according to Hayes:

The Plan, in essence, is the blueprint concocted by young analytics whiz Sam Hinkie, the Sixers’ second-year general manager who has staffed his front office with numbers men of his ilk. He figured to stockpile draft picks; acquire cheap, young talent with specific characteristics; and let the team develop organically.

The Plan has merit, and it has logic.

What it lacks is leadership.

Specifically, it lacks a veteran point guard. It is a criminal omission.

That was amplified the last three games, when two Developmental League players ran the team: Frazier, in his third NBA game and his second start; and JaKarr Sampson, a 6-8 small forward.

Last night, Frazier finished with seven assists . . . and seven turnovers, the most among an avalanche of 27 turnovers that cost the Sixers a chance at a huge upset against the Warriors. Sampson had three turnovers. That means a combined 10 giveaways at the point guard spot, manned by two D-Leaguers, against the league’s best team.

If I’m following that logic correctly, Hayes just argued that Hinkie’s plan – to tank for draft picks and develop young talent – which almost by definition requires the team to lose, something the improving Sixers have actually had trouble doing lately, is flawed because the team lacks a veteran point guard to spell young star and reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams, even though the presence of said veteran point guard would be in almost direct conflict with the unstated goal of losing to acquire more young talent. Amazing.

Look, we can make fun of Hayes and his one-sentence paragraphs all we want. We can laugh at his silly, hacky and contrived illustrations. But he’s outdone himself here. I don’t know if it’s because he’s butthurt since Hinkie won’t talk to the media (but last night appeared on the Sixers broadcast), or if he’s just dumb, but his argument literally makes no sense. Could young players and MCW benefit from the presence of a veteran or two? Sure. Could a vet, impervious to Brett Brown’s guidance, on a money-grab at the end of his rope also serve as a bad example to hungry youngsters whom Hayes says – no joke – sometimes try “too hard”? Also sure. Whatever the case, calling the plan “fraudulent” over the absence of a veteran point guard is an absurd leap, especially when you consider the fact that three decades of such mediocrity-producing tactics have failed, or that the team across the street has shown what can happen when you waste money and playing time on warm-bodied veterans.

Here’s what Hinkie had to say about the plan on the broadcast last night:

“I think it’s so key to really be focused on the sober reality of what is it you’re trying to do, and our goals here are really high. Our goals are to build over time a championship caliber team that can compete year in and year out. And that doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve all lived it and it just doesn’t. So we were convinced from the very beginning that you had to take a really long-term view to really build something with lasting value.”

Juxtapose that with this from Hayes:

[The Sixers] take the floor with less direction than Christopher Columbus; he didn’t know where he was going, either, and he didn’t know where he was once he got there.

That isn’t a slight to Brown, charged with making soufflé out of fake eggs and powdered milk. Brown can scheme all he wants, but when the ship leaves the dock Brown cannot trim the sails.

And all that is before we get to what’s actually happening: The Sixers might be developing too quickly. A team that looked like it might not win more than a handful of games this season is 4-4 over its last eight and last night held the best team in the league to under 90 points in a contest unexpectedly deserving of that appellation. After an 0-17 start, the Sixers are an at least fathomable 12-24.

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Clearly, the young players – even those fringe NBA guys who weren’t even good enough to join a scrapheap – are starting to develop. Again, if there’s any problem with the plan, it’s that the development may, at the moment, actually be impeding the Sixers from getting one of those top draft picks they covet so much. And yet Hayes, who praised the young Sixers’ effort in multiple paragraphs, argues that what the team really needs to legitimize ownership’s plan… is Jameer Nelson. Mind-boggling.