After reading the 13 page Hinkie Letter, I get a better feeling for what he was going for but I certainly don’t have much sympathy for the man. He is living in his twisted, contrarian mindset that no one else wants to emulate because it’s so far fetched that only he understands it. I feel like he thinks that having high draft picks and plenty of salary cap room is more important than the ability to predict who good players are going to be. His biggest mistakes, as he put it, were not getting Robert Covington the first chance he could and letting Joel Anthony slip through his hands. Wat? Let’s look deeper into a few of the highlights of his letter.
Can’t Argue With This Shitty Position
In May of 2013 when I spoke with several of you—and even when we first met in the summer of 2012—the situation was clear. Your crops had been eaten. A team that clawed its way to a disappointing 34 wins in 2012-13 had a few handfuls of those wins walking out the door (Dorell Wright, Nick Young, Damien Wilkins, Royal Ivey) and a player that drove a bit more who had just undergone a surgery and was expected to be out for the season (Jason Richardson). That left the club with expected wins in the low 20s before replacing anyone. The young players on rookie-scale deals numbered two: Evan Turner & Arnett Moultrie. Two future first round picks were gone as was the recent youth pipeline of Nik Vučević & Moe Harkless. Gulp
On Drafting and Int’l Players
We have had the good fortune of drafting relatively early, giving us access to some especially talented players, including Jahlil Okafor (#3), Joel Embiid (#3), and Nerlens Noel (#6). Many in our office tried to set a line of when Jahlil would see his first double team in this league. Those with the under looked smart by the end of opening night, where he went for 26 points and 7 rebounds.
We also put ourselves into position to draft in the second round, where we found two 22-year-old gems to date, including Jerami Grant (#39) and Richaun Holmes (#37). Outside of the top 60 selections delivered two more players with real NBA futures in 24-year-old T.J. McConnell and 25-year-old Robert Covington.
On Young Players
This story underscores what our players, particularly our best players, are in greatest need of—time. The gap between driving wins today and driving wins tomorrow will be heavily influenced by a bunch of factors, but the biggest one is time. For players like Jahlil, Nerlens, and Jerami, getting much nearer the middle of their new NBA cohort will go a long way toward letting their talents shine through, just as it has their whole basketball lives when they were nearer the middle of those cohorts. Get down the experience curve, the faster the better. They are 20, 21, and 22 years old.
On Dario Saric
As of now, we hold three players on this list, highlighted by the 21-year-old Dario Šarić. Dario is a 6-10 forward with a guard’s skills and a big’s toughness. Twice voted as FIBA European Young Player of the Year, we were in position to draft him in part because he required something you’ve had in ample supply: one part courage, two parts patience. He will look great in Sixers blue.
The venerable San Antonio Spurs don’t have three rights-held players playing internationally like we now do, they have thirteen. Most of their names are hard for many fans to pronounce. Ginobili used to be, too.
On the Sixers Draft Picks
In the upcoming May draft lottery, we have what will likely be the best ever odds to get the #1 overall pick (nearly 30%), a roughly 50/50 chance at a top-2 pick (the highest ever), and a roughly 50/50 chance at two top-5 picks, which would be the best lottery night haul ever. That same bounce of a ping pong ball (almost a flip of a coin) will determine if we have three first round picks this year (unusual) or four (unprecedented). That’s this year. Or this quarter, if you will. If you were to estimate the value of those firsts and the ones to follow, from this point forward we have essentially two NBA teams’ worth of first round pick value plus the third most second round picks in the league.
On Salary Cap
Our salary cap position going forward is easily the NBA’s best. The most room, the most flexibility, providing the widest available set of options in free agency or trade of any club.
My Thoughts on the 76ers
Nerlens, Okafor, and Joel Embiid (we hope) all get marks for being decent basketball players. I actually like Covington too.
- Ish Smith is ranked 112 out of 116 players in fg% – 40.6%
- Nik Stauskas, brought in for his shooting, is shooting 33.6% from 3pt land, good for 114th out of 147 players. Kristaps Porzingas is directly behind him.
- Elton Brand is 37 years old but I’m sure his locker room aura is creating a wealth of positive energy around the team.
- The 32 year old Carl Landry was receiving chants of MVP at the latest Sixers game. Oh boy.
You had 3 years to build a team. At the end of the that time you have young players and a bunch of misfits with promises of high draft picks. Agreed, it’s a strategy that no one else is utilizing in the NBA. You most certainly are a contrarian. At this point, there are no signs that what you put into motion after 3 years will work. Your eye for talent is questionable at best when you think TJ McConnel is suitable as an NBA point guard. Good day sir.