The Process is Dead, Long Live The Process

Sam Hinkie, posing for his school picture.

The 76ers season starts in earnest tonight, driving the last nail into the coffin of The Process, the singular greatest/worst/cheapest franchise strategy ever seen in the NBA.

It was three years of either unending entertainment and a collective “fuck you” to the NBA and its team owners, or three years of unending embarrassment for fans that had to watch win totals of 19, 18, and 10 from 2013 to 2016.

It was awesome.

I’m sorry, it was. There has never been a bigger divide among Sixers fans in this franchise’s history. NEVER. You either were all-in, deifying Sam Hinkie as the genius architect of The Process, or you cursed Hinkie as a jowly, overly analytical loser who purposefully made the franchise so bad that they could acquire a greater amount of precious, precious “assets” in the hopes that one of them would eventually pan out.

I fucking loved it. The idea that a pale nerd, who looks like he could hardly dribble a basketball, turned the NBA on its head by declaring that the Sixers would SEEK to be awful (and thus improve their chances to be great) and could evoke such tremendous emotion from basketball fans throughout the country is insane.

It was a shadowy practice only discussed in half-joking, hushed tones from fans, put into practice from possibly the least impressive looking man that has ever stepped foot on a basketball court in any fashion.

You loved Hinkie or you hated him. People either wanted to punch him or fuck him. There was no in-between.

Blogs were created purely to discuss his genius. Podcasts were launched. His swollen face and sly grin are plastered on t-shirts that grown men proudly wear in public. Sixers Twitter exploded, with his legion of followers ready to pounce on the non-believers who dared to question his vision, or who didn’t understand his devotion to second round draft picks, or his willingness to swindle salary-cap-strained franchises with an eye for a payoff YEARS down the road.

It was the young against the old. The Twitter generation vs. the Angelo Cataldis and Howard Eskins of the world, who valued unimportant 7th or 8th seed playoff appearances and 38-win seasons year after year over something that could be great.

You could see their point. The first three years were rough… the basketball was awful and pretty much everyone on those rosters is now gone.

But the highs… those nights on Twitter when Hinkie would drop a bombshell and trade away the reigning rookie of the year for a top-five protected 1st round pick, trade away an All-Star point guard to draft an injured center, draft ANOTHER injured center the year after that, and finally get that #1 overall pick he craved so dearly, only to “step down” (aka get shit canned) in 2016 before he could fulfill his destiny and draft Ben Simmons.

It was awesome. It was great (in moments), and now it’s over.

Bryan Colangelo buried The Process this off-season when he traded away several of Hinkie’s precious assets to (correctly) move up to the #1 pick for the chance to select Markelle Fultz.

It’s over. It’s dead. IT’S GONE. So what now?

Do the Hinkie shirts dry up? The references to Ricky Sanchez? Please tell me Chu Chu Maduabum won’t be forgotten. NOT CHU CHU, DEAR GOD NO.

Do the TTPers honor Hinkie with a Viking funeral, even though he’s still very much alive? Set him ablaze on top of his favorite graphing calculator and put the pyre adrift on the Delaware River? Do they follow him to his next job like a hippie going cross-country to catch Phish play Bonnaroo?

Can we get behind the very un-Process like moves that will surely be coming down the pipe in the next few seasons? What if LeBron leaves Cleveland, do we embrace the idea of signing him?

I have no clue. These are questions better answered by someone much wiser than myself.

All I can do now is sit on my couch, pray Embiid doesn’t shatter his foot tonight, and hope we’ll see that pasty, crazy bastard back in the NBA one day.

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10 Responses

  1. “You either were all-in, deifying Sam Hinkie as the genius architect of The Process, or you cursed Hinkie as a jowly, overly analytical loser who purposefully made the franchise so bad that they could acquire a greater amount of precious, precious “assets” in the hopes that one of them would eventually pan out.”

    Nope. The vast majority of us were in the middle. We get why they had to do it, didn’t like it as intentionally losing is the antithesis of sport. It is not a binary issue. Dragging on for 4 years was also a bit more than many could take.

    1. I disagree. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something as polarizing as The Process in Philadelphia. I think those of you that were able to see both the negatives and positives of what he was trying to do were definitely in the minority.

      1. I think you are placing FAR too much weight on the vocal minority of people who are posting on blogs and twitter as your sources here

      2. Count me in as another guy who was firmly in the middle. I loved the idea of tanking…err rebuilding but hated many of Hinkie’s flaws. This includes his lack of basketball knowledge for building a winning team (excluding much needed veterans), his aloof demeanor which led to a lack of communication with the ownership, media and coaching staff, and his poor relationships with players and agents leading to many guys not wanting to sign or get drafted by Hinkie…etc.

        But when it comes to tanking…err rebuilding then I loved every ounce of the idea. You see I was a tanker (rebuilder) myself in fantasy leagues long before people heard of Hinkie. I did this in fantasy leagues dating back to the 80’s when I used to have to look up stats in the box scores of newspapers to hand score each and every teams results each week for the league I ran. And any year that I wasn’t in or going to make the playoffs, I didn’t change my lineup and allowed my opponents to win to get a better draft position…sound familiar? During the 90’s when the Internet came alive and leagues formed there, I was in dozens of leagues throughout the year. And many peeps would get very angry when I tanked…err rebuilt for next seasons draft! Haha

        Now in leagues I ran, I changed the rules so tanking couldn’t happen. I changed them in the same way that the NBA should change them. The first team out of the playoffs would receive the first pick on down until team who finished last then the first team in the playoffs would get the next pick all the way until the champion. This resolved most everything EXCEPT in fantasy leagues where you are paying each season, sometimes those who finished last and wouldn’t get the first pick, quit and didn’t play the following season….other than that it worked beautifully.

        In the NBA you could still keep the lottery and just give the first team out the best odds, and do the rest as I stated above. Then keep the second round as it currently is in the NBA. The only other tweek that I would make is set the playoff teams based on their playoff performance and not the regular season for the first round, that way the champion always got the last pick.

        I was firmly in the Hinkie middle, as I cheered the idea of taking advantage of stupid NBA rules that rewarded losing and awarded the biggest loser the best first pick odds, but I hated the execution. If Hinkie was the genius that Hinkie lovers thought he was, then he would have branded the tanking…err rebuilding with “Trust The Process” marketing instead of the fans coming up with the brilliant idea.

        I cheered Hinkie when it was popular to hate him and now I pump the brakes on all those that go overboard on the Hinkie love. The Sixers provided a lane for Hinkie to stay with less power, but Hinkie chose to leave. Ownership (not the Jerry Colangelo villain) decided to take the reigns from Hinkie, and it was the right decision. The only major mistake was JC putting in a personnel freeze, instead of just adding an additional approval step until the complete transition was made.

        I trusted the process ideas from Hinkie, just not the man executing them. The timing was right to take certain control away from Hinkie and ownership (not JC) made the right choice in BC as the new GM.

        Don’t hate the player, hate the (rules of the) game!

        1. If this is a serious take, although it is extremely long, your not very bright. Hinkie didn’t sign any decent veterans because he was trying to lose games on purpose. Every time Brett Brown spoke of Hinkie, he never really had much bad things to say about him and also remember him saying they talked almost on a daily basis. Also seems that all of the players he drafted ended up loving Hinkie.
          Without Hinkie we wouldn’t have all of the young up and comers that we have now. Comparing your fantasy league to the NBA is extremely laughable. Sam Hinkie also said to Trust The Process hundreds of times during interviews and almost positive he was the first to coin the term.

    2. I agree with “Reality”. NBA contracts and their salary cap system are messed up. The tanking/process was something that had to be done. Certainly wasn’t fun (I can’t even imagine what diehard season-ticket buyers were going through). Drafting this many injury-risk players made it tougher/longer. Hopefully they begin to turn the corner this year.

  2. “or you cursed Hinkie as a jowly, overly analytical loser who purposefully made the franchise so bad that they could acquire a greater amount of precious, precious “assets” in the hopes that one of them would eventually pan out.”

    Wasn’t that exactly the idea? And isn’t that one of the main reasons Hinkie supporters (me) would cite for his plan being one of genius?

    1. It was exactly the idea, and a great many people hated it because they couldn’t stomach the idea of basically losing as many games on purpose as you could to be good at some point in the future.

  3. So was I, along with countless others many moons ago, a genius by doing the same thing in madden or NHL franchise mode?

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