Last night’s Sixers game was U-G-L-Y, and there’s no alibi Brett Brown is buying. The usually chipper and optimistic Brown was feeling the post-snow blues and cut his post-game press conference short. The few words he did say weren’t positive:
“I don’t even know what team I coached tonight. That’s not who we are. Fortunately we got a few wins on the board previous to this game where you can say, ‘Yeah, I agree, we see what you saw.’ I’m not going to be out of control with my comment, that’s what we saw. We were poor.”
“Oh great, here comes a blind hipster Hinkie defense,” you say, but let me open with this: Jerry Colangelo deserves a lion’s share of the credit for the way the team is playing. His arrival can’t be ignored. The Sixers have added Ish Smith and Mike D’Antoni (two men who had re-invigorated the offensive play of this team), and Smith has nearly single-handedly grabbed the team five wins.
According to Dick Jerardi, this (and other old arguments) means Sam Hinkie should be fired. That’s wrong.
Before even getting to Jerardi’s column, let’s remind everyone again that Colangelo has described his Sixers gig as part-time and remote. That’s not a GM. And if you want to fire Hinkie to just bring someone else in who will basically answer phone calls and emails until you can see what Jerry wants to do, that’s not gonna work.
Jerardi, because he’s as stuck in the past as you can be without being Marcus Hayes (or John Smallwood), opens his column with this:
“The Sixers coach liked his Rookie of the Year point guard. The general manager traded him. The coach liked his point guard at the end of last season. The general manager neglected to resign him.”
Without getting into not re-signing Ish last year (reports claim he turned down a Sixers offer, but it’s still a bad look), let’s look at the ROTY argument, again. Ish Smith is great for this team at this stage, but on the whole he’s an average-level NBA point guard. MCW is “former Rookie of the Year.” Let’s compare this season:
- Offensive Rating
- MCW: 94
- Ish: 94
- Defensive Rating:
- MCW: 106
- Ish: 107
- Assist %
- MCW: 32.5
- Ish: 33.7
- Turnover %
- MCW: 18.3
- Ish: 16.7
And now let’s look at MCW’s numbers with the Bucks vs. Ish’s numbers with the Sixers, going back to last year:
- Offensive Rating
- MCW: 97
- Ish: 92
- Defensive Rating:
- MCW: 104
- Ish: 107
- Assist %
- MCW: 29.6
- Ish: 46.6
- Turnover %
- MCW: 18.9
- Ish: 15.7
Not too different in many key categories. Yet one is the former Rookie of the Year MCW* and the other is career journeyman Ish Smith. But let’s let Jerardi continue:
“Sam Hinkie, the general manager should have been fired long ago for basketball malpractice, selling a dream based on ping pong balls and the future drafting of the next LeBron James. Beyond that nonsense that became clear in the moments after Hinkie drafted an injured Joel Embiid and what eventually became the rights to Dario Saric …
Still, this team is far from contending for anything but ping pong balls. Forget the four first-round draft choices. That is just marketing. I watch college basketball. I like Ben Simmons too, but I don’t see any other potential franchise changers. In fact, consider this. Anthony Davis is the most talented college player I have watched this century. He is one of the world’s best players. The New Orleans Pelicans are 16-27.”
Four (potential, likely at least three) first round draft picks is JUST MARKETING? Actually, Dick, those picks equal college players, which you pick in this thing called the draft, and then they’re on your team. Those young players frequently have talent and potential. That’s how you build a team. For example, did you know Kevin Durant was drafted using a draft pick? Steph Curry too. First round picks are important, and that’s why (unless you’re Billy King) teams rarely get rid of them unless they find themselves in a bind. Hinkie, for all his shortcomings, positioned the Sixers to be the team that helped you get out of that bind.
And Dick, thanks for using the Pelicans as an example, because you made a point for me. The Pelicans are falling apart not because Anthony Davis, a legit superstar, isn’t a game-changer, but because the front-office failed to build a team around him. What’s one of the reasons for that? They traded their first round pick in 2013 (an admittedly soft class) for a middle-of-the-road, injury-riddled point guard. They made that trade with Sam Hinkie.
Oh, and who made Anthony Davis and the Pelicans look pretty decent at times this year when that middle-of-the-road PG was hurt?Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
But Jerardi continues:
“Saric remains a mystery who may never show up. At the least, we know he is not Kristaps Porzingis, a franchise changer in New York.
I love hearing that Embiid is making threes in practice, but, if he ever plays and is shooting threes in games, this is an even a biggest mess than I think it is.”
It’s been reported over and over and over again that Saric IS coming over. But keep denying it, beat writers. It flies in the face of your narrative. Also Saric, the 12th pick from a few years ago, might not be as good as the #4 pick last year who probably should have been picked 2nd overall? COLOR ME SHOCKED.
And in today’s NBA, filled with stretch-4 and stretch-5 players who can shoot the three (including Anthony Davis, HEY!) Embiid shooting threes in games does not make the Sixers a mess, it makes them a team in the modern NBA. DeMarcus Cousins practiced his three-ball this offseason and is shooting 34.7% on over 120 attempts. Fifteen players 6’10” or taller have attempted over 100 threes this season. Ten of those fifteen are shooting above the league average. Jesus Christ, Dick, catch up. (Additionally, and I should know, “this is an even a biggest mess” doesn’t make any sense.)
But he saves the best for last:
“Do yourselves a favor. Stay up and watch San Antonio at Golden State Monday night (if you have NBA TV) and then be honest: how close are the Sixers likely to be to either of these teams in this decade regardless of lottery luck, trades or free-agent signings. In fact, given the pace of the rebuilds in New York and Boston, how close are the Sixers likely to be to their two old Eastern rivals.”
You’re right Dick, Sam Hinkie should be fired because his Sixers aren’t as good as the ’15-’16 Warriors (who tanked to get where they are, by the way) and the ’15-’16 Spurs (read the previous parenthetical), who are two of the best teams of all time:
Through 44 games – in all of NBA history – the Warriors and Spurs have the 4th and 8th best winning percentage. Ever. Fire Hinkie, he hasn’t turned the pure garbage he was handed into all-time great gold in three years.
*“Former Rookie of the Year MCW” is trademarked by salty columnists everywhere.
Dick’s up on it though, because this was tweeted, by his egg account, like 6 hours after the column went up:
Sam Hinkie…Gone. https://t.co/mJDnaaHHsB
— Dick Jerardi (@DickJerardi) January 25, 2016