A Case Against the Sixers

Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With the “news” that highly-touted prospect Dario Saric will remain in Europe for at least another year, an expected “development,” I figured it was time to take a look at how things are going with the tank, or rebuild, or plan, whatevs.

I’m firmly in favor of what the Sixers are doing, overall, but, as Jim and I discussed on the podcast last week, little has gone right. Look at what’s become of their major assets or early building blocks [all are given current circumstances and could absolutely and probably will change given Hinkie’s fearlessness]:


Michael Carter-Williams

They drafted the to-be Rookie of the Year and then traded him for a protected first round pick this year next year, or the year after, or year after that, but probably next year.

Early net: A high draft pick in 2013 has turned into a high draft pick in 2016-2018, which means we’re looking at 2017 as the earliest possible impactful return on that 2013 pick.


Joel Embiid

Drafting him was risk-reward all along. But with news of his setback, we’re looking at the downside. He (expectedly) missed his entire first season, could realistically miss his entire second season, and it’s within reason for him to suffer through a short, injury-riddled career.

Early net: Dark clouds.


Dario Saric

All along, it was known he wasn’t coming here for at least two years, so news of him staying in Europe another season is neither a surprise nor a major disappointment (mild disappointment). But Chad Ford reports on this:

Saric, 21, has a player option on his contract that will technically allow him to come to the NBA for the 2016-17 season. However, there will be a big incentive for him to stay in Turkey for a third year and wait until the 2017-18 season to play in the NBA.

Under the terms of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, Saric will no longer be bound by the rookie salary scale if he waits three years to come to the NBA. That means he could negotiate a free-agent contract for a much higher salary with the Sixers, much like Nikola Mirotic did with the Chicago Bulls last summer.

With the new TV revenues set to kick in during that season, Saric could be in for a massive raise if he is patient.

One of the benefits of having young, talented assets is that they’re relatively cheap. Being forced to pay Saric real money before he’s ever played a game in the league is how smart, cautious teams get themselves into trouble.

Derek Bodner wrote a couple of weeks ago about the real possibility of Dario choosing to remain in Europe for another two full seasons so he can sign as a free agent with the Sixers:

In 2017 (the season Saric would come over if he stayed over in Turkey for his entire contract) the salary cap is projected to be $108 million, a drastic increase over the $63 million cap during Mirotic’s rookie season.

In essence, a similar (RE: 8.4% of cap) deal for Saric would start at roughly $9 million. That being said, since Saric cannot negotiate with any NBA other than the Sixers, his earning potential is dictated more by what he could earn in Europe rather than what another NBA team would pay him. This is admittedly hard to predict, considering how young Saric is and the lack of comprehensive salary information publicly available for the European leagues. As such, this may be a high estimate, and $6m per year in the NBA may get it done.

You might look at it as “Well, yeah, but if he comes over now, he’d be in line to negotiate his 2nd NBA contract in the summer of 2019!” This is true, but if he stays over with Efes for the remaining 2 seasons, thus not being bound by the rookie scale, he’s also not bound to sign a 4 year contract. He could stay in Turkey for 2 seasons, then sign a 2 year NBA contract, thus having his cake and eating it too: He gets to keep his increased earning potential over the next 4 seasons and still hit free agency at the same time.

The best financial move for Saric, by a considerable margin, is to remain in Turkey for the entire duration of his Efes contract and come over to the Sixers for the 2017-18 season.

Early net: The Sixers could fall victim to Saric’s own success and not only be forced to wait another two years, but also have to pay him more and for a shorter period of time. I see nothing positive in that latter scenario… and you start to get the weird feeling that Saric – maybe the most promising asset the Sixers have – will never wear one of those new, sweet uniforms.


Protected picks

The Sixers got none of them this year. They could’ve had three first round picks, including number one overall, if you believed in the tanking theory (which I do). Instead, they have the third pick, and it’s not obvious what they’re going to do with it, or even should do with it.

Early net: Hinkie might tell you that the Sixers weren’t counting on loading up on draft picks this year, and maybe so, but no one can argue that it’s an ideal situation that they have to punt yet again on acquiring impactful assets.


Nerlens Noel

Can’t really argue against him. He missed a year, but played great in the second half of last season. His ceiling may not be as high as Saric’s or Embiid’s, and hell, he might not be even part of the longterm plan, but you can’t say anything negative about him at this point.

Early net: More of that, please.


Another way to write this piece would be to say that the Sixers’ four biggest draft night acquisitions, and two of their acquired first round picks, have all been delayed at least a year – and in some cases two or three years – in coming to fruition. This whole thing will be judged on later, not now. But we’re two years into this and later appears no closer than it did two years ago. Further, and what’s more concerning, is that after those two years, there’s still no obvious plan or path to building a great team (“just need to add a point guard and a wing” or “a big and a shooter”), as evidenced by the current “take the best available player” talk instead of “we need a guard” talk. It’s one thing to be years away, it’s another to be years away and still not know what specific steps need to be taken.

Again, I’m for what the Sixers are doing. But they’re selling fans on being part of the process, and there comes a point where even the most stepford fans, bloggers and pundits have to admit that, yeah, little progress has been made and there’s a reasonable possibility that no one who will play an integral role in rebuilding has even played a game for the Sixers yet. That’s mildly concerning.


34 Responses

        1. Face it, golf’s kind of a racist sport. It got huge interest when there was a little color involved and now that it’s back to a bunch of boring rich white guys alternating wins, ratings have plummeted.

          1. Just because you people can’t afford the greens fees doesn’t make it racist. Just go stick up another Wawa and you’ll be able to afford the fees and a cart.

          2. Tiger needs to get back to fucking the dirty white women again. His game has never been same since he gave up the white trash chick, steroids & cocaine .

            Is Jim on vacation ?????

  1. finally, someone who is in favor of what the sixers are doing that can admit it has gone absolutely nowhere so far….

    1. Agreed. If Dario is delayed till at least next year and the team already has three, maybe four first rounders for next year as well, now is the time to start spending all of these ‘assets’ Hinkie has accumulated.

      There are a couple of teams, namely the Knicks at four, who are strapped for picks with little cap space that could be taken advantage of (not to mention the knuckleheads running that organization who don’t have a clue) via trade to get their top pick too – especially if you can use one of next year’s plethera of 1st’s. If Hinkie can walk out of this draft with two top-five picks (especially if one is Russell and/or Kristaps), he’ll bring some fans back onto the bandwagon for one more season.

      I’ve backed the moves b/c from a business sense, they’ve mostly all paid off. But it’s going to be bad for business if they don’t ‘start’ this thing soon…like Thursday soon!

      1. i agree also, and I’ve fully been on the Hinkie bandwagon and still am. As Kyle has said the picks and assets have yet to pay off or even showed any sign of progress. The odd thing is that personally i can’t blame Hinkie for any of the moves he’s made. I think Embiid was the best player in the draft last year, but you knew he was coming with injury issues. Also there was nobody after him that anybody could even give a half-ass argument were Franchise cornerstone players or even all-stars, and you don’t tank just to get “a guy”. MCW was the 11th pick in a really piss poor draft, yea he was MVP, but he got that title because he put up stats on a bad team, and again there was no other competition except for Oladipo. They got Saric in a swap and also got their first round pick back from the Bynum deal because they held Elfrid Payton hostage and Orlando cracked….that was a straight up robbery by Hinkie, but Saric still may not be here until after next season so it’s looked at as a negative so far because the guy hasn’t played. Noel is the lone bright spot with his ceiling being a more athletic tyson chandler type guy.

        That’s been the toughest thing so far, aside from the losing, is that most of the guys Hinkie has picked have been delayed in getting on the court. I think Embiid plays this year, all this “not healing as we thought” is complete BS. A bright side is that whoever the sixers take number 3 this year will come in and play right away, no delay. And maybe they do move some picks in a trade to bring someone in, but i doubt it and doubt that it’s the right course for now. Still on board with the tank, but yea it’s been frusterating when the young guys can’t even get on the court

        1. Exactly…hindsight will be 20/20 at some point, and we’ll all ‘have known’ it wasn’t going to work out (or hopefully it does), but as you look at each move in it’s own context, as things are unfolding, he’s been methodical and calculating in each move making sure to get back ‘more’ then he dealt out. The moves are sound business moves given his ‘plan’, they just haven’t come to fruition yet.

          Thursday night will at least be entertaining…if you aren’t emotionally attached to the team that is.

          1. My prediction for thursday…….the wolves have already told Towns he is going number one to them, Lakers opting not to bring back Jordan Hill opens up cap space and a spot in the post, I think their plan will be to draft Okafor and sign another guard or wing in free agency and there has already been reports saying they have “settled in” on Okafor. I think it’s a slam dunk decision for the Sixers to take Russell at 3, but hopefully Sam doesn’t outsmart himself.

            Where he could try to get a little fancy and things need to work out prior to their selection…..but it’s been reported the Knicks are willing to trade the number 4 pick for Eric Bledsoe of the Suns (stupid move, but it’s the Knicks), Does Phoenix want a PG? Orlando at 5 has let it be known they want Porzingis, can the sixers select Porzingis at 3 then trade him to Orlando for next years 1st and then take Russell if the Suns pass on him at number 4. Maybe they select Mudiay or Hezonja at 5 if they make that move and the suns select Russell

            it isn’t likely because I think Sam just takes Russell and calls it a win, but if they take Porzingis at 3 I think it will be to hold him hostage like they did with the Saric deal

    2. “Finally?” A week ago Joel Embiid was getting his face plastered everywhere in preparation for the upcoming season and Hinkie was reportedly close to paying off the Arabs to get Saric this summer. Everything has gone to shit pretty recently.

      And yes, it’s true that this was always a possibility, but it hadn’t actually happened yet.

  2. You Innes, say it to my face. Don’t hide behind twitter you fat lard. You know where I am, so let me know if you have anything else to say.

    1. The only guy less intimidating then Marks is Gargano. They would be falling over each other trying to hide is anyone got in their face.

      1. You take that back. I’ll get some of my boys to take care of you (I like to pretend to have “connections”. The mob, airight?)

  3. You boys have a rough weekend? This is the 3rd post today and from the frequency today i’m guessing the last. Sober up and get back at it tomorrow before the “Influencer” out posts you.

    1. Sorry, i regreted it the second I wrote it. The “influencer” is a disaster with no shot at being anything more than a good punch line or quick laugh. I take that part back.

  4. Mildly concerning is just about it. Two years of deliberate crap is worth it, but the calculated risks taken by Hinkie are just that….risks. Trading for picks, picking the best player, etc. are attempts to limit the downside, but never to eliminate it.

    We fans need to remember the fundamentals. First the Sixers are being run and owned by a private equity firm. The objective is cut costs (via tanking), raise profits (via tanking again ), and accumulate assets for future profits (draft picks).

    The thing I think stinks out loud is the marketing of this strategy as fans being a part of it. New uniforms or not, another season of “asset accumulation” might have fans burning those jerseys instead of wearing them.

  5. The Innes/Reeha fling is 100% accurate. Apparently they do lots of “research’ together. But I see her leaving closed doors with Innes following a few minutes after. She wants him taking over for Angelo because if he does, she has a job. If Innes doesn’t take over, they are going to blow up the whole morning show.

  6. If the Sixers draft Kristaps “Shawn Bradley” Porzingis over D’Angelo Russell,then I’ll officially be done with the Sam Hinkie rebuilding plan.

    1. Yessir. Have been a huge supporter of Hinkie’s plan so far, but taking Porzingis over Russell would give me severe doubts. People say Porzingis could be the next Dirk Nowitzski. Even if he is, how many titles has Dirk won in his 15 plus year career? 1. How many has he been to? 2. I’d take Mario Herzonja before I take Porzingis, he’s the biggest home run prospect in the draft. And no way on earth you can justify taking Porzingis over Russell, who is a clone of James Harden, the guy who just led the league in scoring and took his team to a 2 seed in the West without their second best player for most of the year.

  7. I am in favor because this plan is the only way a true contender can be constructed in this NBA . However, the set-backs are alarming and I can just keep my fingers crossed and wait for it to all work out.

  8. Ain’t nuttin’ dat da boi Hinkie can do ’bout Embiid’s feet ‘cept hire a basketball genius like me…..and Scott O’Neil. We like peas and carrots, me and ma boi Scotty O……..we den sho’ be pickin’ dat big white boi Porzingis with dat turd pick and we be hiring Larry Brown (where ma coach?!) as da man in charge……….true all dat…..f@#! y’all whoo don’t be agreein’ wid me…….

  9. Average white person iQ is 106 average black man’s iQ is 67. So when a white girl let’s a black man bear their children average iQ of the offspring is About 75 America is going to have a bright future.

  10. What does the article say? I can’t read it with all the grey fucking lines. I am so fucking tired of your Google ads more then half the time I just move on. I’m glad your getting paid though Kyle for the bull shit onsets I click the other 40 percent of the time…

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