Sam Hinkie Speaks, to the Assembled Media


When Sam Hinkie addressed the media and answered questions at today’s press conference, it wasn’t all HOT FIRE jabs at Howard Eskin. Most of it was reasoned, intelligent, and rational answers to incredibly stupid questions.

Some of the questions Hinkie was asked were good. Some were reasonable. Some were actually questions Hinkie should be expected to answer. The rest were nonsense.

Hinkie was asked if this image, run as part of a promotion for season tickets on the Sixers’ official website on Tuesday, was a mistake or some kind of unfortunate “leak,” since it prominently featured Michael Carter-Williams. So, to run that down, someone (I wish I recognized their voice and remembered it now) asked the Sixers’ GM if an image the team’s marketing department posted days before the trade deadline was some kind of leak, mere minutes after the GM said the MCW trade was something that came about towards the end of deadline day. I still can’t comprehend how insane and stupid that question is.

What the gathered media needs to understand — and they really should by now — is that Hinkie is not the kind of guy to give non-complex answers. Yet, they still ask questions that require a dumbed-down response, and when Hinkie doesn’t give it to them, they can claim he’s being weird or skittish or dodging the fans.

And he did give straightforward, simple answers when required. When asked one of many questions about the MCW deal (most of which were some variation of “How could you? Won’t you think of the children?”), Hinkie said:

“We have great respect for Michael … from [his NBA debut], people have called and assumed we might move him and assumed that maybe they can get their hands on him … The only way we could ever move him is if someone blew us away. We rejected offer after offer … those [top-5 possible] picks do not move around very often. It’s very rare that they move. That made us consider it.”

When asked about the uncertainty of these future picks that are being acquired, Hinkie said, “We’re looking to build something that can win deep and to do that we’ll have to make tough decisions and be comfortable with uncertainty.”

He clarified that what may appear to be ruthlessness from the emotional perspective is an attempt to make the smartest moves for the team.

“It’s so critical to get from where we are to where we want to go, to be willing to make smart risks when we see them,” Hinkie said. “And we’ll do it unblinkingly.”

He told the media that he’s not confident the Lakers pick he acquired will convey this year, he thinks the Thunder’s pick they have has about a 30% chance of coming through this year, and the Miami pick is looking “increasingly likely” to land here. He admitted that the “process” comes in fits and starts, and we shouldn’t expect to add five wins every year until the Sixers are a championship team. He took on a bit of a braggy tone when talking about the team’s “flexibility to create a roster spot,” and got defensive about the “trope” that he robotically refers to players as “assets”:

“I have never in my life called one of our players an asset. Never never never. They’re with our coaches everyday busting their hump … We do talk a lot about assets in relation to our future picks and our cap space, but we do not talk about that among our existing players.”

He was really being as open and available as possible. Yet, the antagonism kept on coming.

He was asked if he thinks about the length of his contract when doing these things.* “What a disservice to the city and to the sixers it would be if [when is my contract up] was the first question i asked myself,” a seemingly insulted Hinkie replied.

“I don’t claim to understand analytics,” John Smallwood said in his column today. Well, here’s my suggestion then: Try to. If the team you’re covering believes in it and runs their team that way, maybe you should at least know enough to “claim to understand it.” You scoff and distrust Hinkie because he’s a nerd, but the opposite of Hinkie is Billy King, a man whose goal seems to be to destroy as many teams as possible in a march across Eastern Conference. I’ve said it a thousand times here (and to Kyle, who is probably tired of hearing the same line), but all “analytics” is, is an attempt to get as much information as possible before making a decision. Hinkie himself characterized it when asked if he believed more in “assets” than player development:

“I believe a lot in making a decision as late as possible so we have all the information … Hold the ball in the fullback’s gut as long as you can until you read the defensive end.”

I don’t agree with every move Hinkie has made. Hell, I don’t agree with every move he made yesterday. But to act like he’s out to insult the fan base and disgrace a once-proud franchise is idiotic.

*It’s the kind of question Eskin would have asked if he was there, since he likes to say Hinkie is making the team terrible on purpose and consistently pushing the plan back and back to keep his job. It’s the weirdest job security plan I’ve ever heard.

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10 Responses

  1. This jist of Hinkie’s plan is he doesn’t want to build that 50 win team that can’t get past the Conference Finals. He wants to build an elite team that can compete for a championship every year. He won’t say it but he will try to do only type of rebuilding if it takes 6,7, 8 years.

    In saying that it still takes a lot of luck with ping pong balls so it sounds easier then to accomplish. The bottom line is we will never see an 8th seed mediocre team under Hinkie, only really bad or great.

    1. Well I don’t plan to waste another dime on gas, parking and tickets yo see a D-League Team masquerading as a professional team. Have Hinckie put together a marketing campaign when he gets an 80 win team.

      1. Sweet No one cares. You would be the same person complaining they made it into playoffs but can’t get out if first round. So have some patience

        1. Define patience in years for me so I can have some idea of when enough is enough even for you. Then, based on where the Sixers are now, show me how they are any better on the court than they were before the last two drafts.

          1. They’re not better on the court right now. But that’s not the goal with every move. In fact, becoming worse on the court right now benefits the long-term plan and helps increase the odds of landing the #1 pick.

            While MCW was a good player, and helped the team be better on the court right now – I dont believe, and clearly hinkie didnt believe that he was the guy, the starting PG, that will eventually get them to the top.

            What if they sign the PG from the Suns in the offseason? Will we be missing MCW then? Clearly Hinkie and the coaching staff have an identity of the type of team they want to build, and the type of team that can win Championships. It’s starting with dominant bigs. And a PG with marginal ball-handling skills, and whose greatest strength is as a scorer – not a facilitator – takes away from what your bigs can do.

            MCW’s value was at its highest so they made the move when they finally got an offer they felt had a high percentage chance of yielding an equally or more talented piece that better fits what they’re trying to build.

            Besides, the alternative is hold onto MCW to be better now which yields you worse draft picks without being good enough to actually compete, and then by the time the team is built enough to compete, MCW’s rookie contract is expiring and likely gone anyways.

            So if he wasn’t going to be around when the plan finally came to fruition, why keep him when you can acquire more ammo to complete the process faster? Also, with it being a long term plan, have you considered that they have sights on a PG that will be a FA this offseason or the next that will be a clear cut upgrade over MCW.

            So in 3 years when the Sixers are starting an All-Star PG that facilitates the show, and MCW is plotting along in above-averageness, I don’t want to see or hear any of you nay-sayers enjoying the success.

  2. hinkie spoke so now the mainstream media can do their jobs. also, mikey miss was like a giddy school girl because hinkie came on his show.

  3. Hinkie has made eleven picks total in the 2013 and 2014 drafts.

    Two of them (Nerlens Noel and Jerami Grant) are playing on the team currently.

    Great plan.

    1. But how many of those draft picks that are no longer with the team have yielded better future draft picks?

      Jrue Holiday turning into Nerlens and MCW. Turn MCW into 2 players that are equal or better. Then take 1 of those drafted players and upgrade to 2 even better players.

      And then he will have succesfully turned Jrue Holiday and a lottery pick into 4-5 starting quality players that will be equal or better than Jrue and MCW and that actually fit the mold of the team they’re trying to build. Then add 2 big FA acquisitions once youve got the 4-5 talented, young core players and you’re set up to contend for a 3-5 year window.

  4. Why doesn’t anyone understand that you don’t win Championships in the NBA with a PG who’s best as a scorer? MCW is a scorer first and facilitator second.

    OKC with all their talent hasn’t done anything, and it’s because Westbrook is a scorer first – he can’t run a team. The Clippers with Chris Paul.

    Tony Parker is a scorer, but he and the entire roster facilitate first and the open player scores. The Heat won with LBJ facilitating first and foremost, and being a scorer when the game dictated he do so.

    Jordan’s Bulls had Jordan, but he only started winning when he had facilitators that could create for others. Magic with the Lakers.

    The guy who has the ball in his hands the most cannot look to score first and dish second if you want to win in this league. That’s not to say you can’t have a PG who’s a prolific scorer, but it cant be one that forces the action and only scores a lot when taking a lot of shots.

    It’s even worse when your PG looks to score first and turns the ball over at an alarming rate. MCW is far over-rated by this fan base. He was the best player on a scrub roster. He’s not a championship PG.

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