The Sam Hinkie era has been legendary.
And for all the wrong reasons.
In two-plus seasons, the Sixers General Manager has stripped down the roster to the bare bones, and the results are ugly – 38-148 following a disastrous 119-68 loss to the San Antonio Spurs Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers are 1-21 this season. Their first round pick from last year – Joel Embiid – is out for a second straight season. Their first round pick from the year before – Nerlens Noel – looks lost at times though he played well with 13 points and six rebounds against the Spurs.
This year’s first round pick – Jahlil Okafor – has been careening down a dangerous path with several off-the-court issues.
Plain and simple, the Sixers had to do something.
They connected in a big way with the hiring of Jerry Colangelo as the Special Advisor to the Managing General Partner and Chairman of Basketball Operations.
Colangelo, the current Chairman of the Board of Directors for USA Basketball, brings instant credibility to an organization which craves just that.
Colangelo, 76, is used to winning. This situation is the complete opposite.
His thoughts on the process?
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“I think it’s way premature to pass judgment on any plan and I mean that sincerely,” said Colangelo, who has overseen a 75-1 record for the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team since his arrival. “That’s not a cop-out because you know me well enough. I’m direct with the media and I’ll just be up front. … There’s nothing etched in concrete here about what’s going to take place. To your point, though, I’m not going to agree or disagree on anything at this point. I need a little bit of time myself just to get myself thrown into this whole situation just to be fair to everyone involved.”
Colangelo is an icon in Phoenix and he was part of that organization from 1968-2012 in a variety of roles from CEO, President, General Manager and even Coach. He also has ties to Philadelphia citing an early mentor in Eddie Gottlieb.
Welcome to the Sixers.
“The franchise is going through a difficult time even though they’re on a path and Josh (co-Managing Owner Josh Harris) reached out and said, ‘Look, here’s where we are. I have great respect for you and your workload and ethic and your history. Would you be willing to come in here and help us accomplish what we want to accomplish,’” Colangelo said. “And after that discussion, I decided I would. That’s why I’m here.”
Harris is a brilliant business executive as evidenced by his portfolio. In the NBA, wins have been scarce. He’s hoping that Colangelo will make a huge difference.
“I’ve always been impatient, but we’ve never put a time frame on it because there’s a lot of unpredictability to it,” Harris said. “I wish we would go faster but at the end of the day, our goals remain the same. We want to be an elite team. There’s no shortcuts to that. There’s 29 other owners that want to do it. Yeah, I want it to go faster for sure.”
Under Hinkie, the Sixers have a legitimate chance to snap their dubious record of nine wins back in 1972-73. Even if that happens, the future already looks brighter with an addition like Colangelo.
“Let’s be clear – there are many things about basketball and basketball players that haven’t changed and there are timeless lessons,” Hinkie said. “To be able to have someone as talented as him and available to me and work with us and help us all make decisions is a great day.”