There is no organization in sports that is more patient than the Philadelphia 76ers. Building through the draft is inarguably the best way to rebuild in the NBA, but what the Sixers are doing is unprecedented. Sam Hinkie is “tanking” like no one has ever done. He has deliberately put fringe NBA players on the court, in an attempt to acquire better picks. Hinkie has traded reigning Rookie of the Year award winners for future picks. It takes no effort to be mediocre. He could have kept Michael Carter-Williams and overpay for average players in free agency. Just take a look at the contracts that were handed out. The Sixers are in desperate need of a point guard, but 5 years and 80 million dollars for Reggie Jackson is ridiculous. This is a credit to the Sixers owners. I am convinced that any general manager in the league can build a team like Hinkie is doing, but most of them do not have owner support or fan support. If you watch ESPN, you will see their “analysts” spouting off about how “the fans don’t deserve this” or “they are embarrassed in Philadelphia.” This is simply just not a true statement. The fans in this city could not be more behind what the Sixers are doing. Everyone here just wants to win and knows that this plan could end up being special. Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil has said on previous occasions that they are interested in building something special. They are not interested in mediocrity. Entering year three of the Hinkie era with another high pick coming it makes you wonder, when is this thing turning around?
Julius Erving was quoted as saying that the Sixers told him that this is a seven year plan. Good only four more years then! Well it is not that simple. The only way to win a championship in the NBA is with elite talent. There is a reason that LeBron has been to the finals five straight times and that only ten different franchises have hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy in the last thirty-two years. There is just very little parity in this league. If you can find that star, with all-star pieces, you will reap the benefits for years. The only way to do this is to draft in the top three for a couple of years. Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel are just two pieces to that puzzle. There is also a “wait-and-see” mentality with Nik Stauskas after a rough year with that dumpster fire in Sacramento. But you still need more to win compete for a championship. And Sam Hinkie has set up the Sixers with more than enough assets.
The Sixers could have two top five picks in this year’s draft. They have the opportunity to swap picks with the Kings and the Lakers top three protected pick. The Lakers are getting better but they will not be bad enough for the top three or good enough for the playoffs. Hinkie could use these picks, or trade for a superstar. Hinkie was the assistant GM with the Houston Rockets when they pulled off a trade for James Harden, using a bunch of assets that Daryl Morey had collected. Could Hinkie have his eyes set on a blockbuster trade? He certainly has enough pieces to do one. The Sixers could have up to four picks in the first round in the 2016 draft and more cap space than you can imagine. I guess you cannot really measure this plan in time. It just all depends on when you get that superstar.