Sam Hinkie did what he was brought here to do.
In the coming weeks, months, and years the 76ersfront office will transition into the capable hands of Jerry and Bryan Coangelo, veteran team-builders who know how to win in the NBA.
And if they succeed, their success will be Hinkie’s success.
The outgoing Sixers general manager wrote a 7,300 word opus, spanning 13 pages and quoting everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Warren Buffett when he announced he was resigning late Wednesday. Hinkie flexed his intellect, but also gave a fascinating look behind the curtain and into his basketball mind.
And what he revealed is reassuring. Hinkie summed up the state of the 76ersthis way:
“Regardless of the haul that comes out of a May night in New York, the team is likely to see additional lottery pick talent hit the court next season regardless. Two additional first round picks this year are available to you as well. Plus additional draft picks are set to flow in regularly for many years to come. Plus the league’s best cap position. A bevy of young players. A deep and passionate coaching staff. An innovative management team. A beautiful new practice facility set to open before training camp. In a city with wonderful basketball heritage. You could do worse.”
Hinkie’s philosophy was to zig while everyone else zagged. Short of landing Lebron James in the draft, there is an arduous process toward becoming a champion. Five years ago the Golden State Warriors were contemplating how to become competitive again. Now they are on pace to be the best basketball team in NBA history.
Through Hinkie’s collection of assets and use of analytics to scout prospects, the Sixers are in much better position than before he was hired 34 months ago. But Hinkie has done all he can do. The seemingly-perpetual period of tanking and drafting will soon move to the next stage.
Regardless of whether you believe he was pushed out, ignored or is acting as a basketball martyr, Hinkiedid not have anything left to offer the Sixers. He was not the man to usher in the next era, the era of progress and of winning.
He sowed the seeds, and one day his bold, sometimes questionable but always interesting transactions as Sixers GM will bloom, and the young team will become a staple of the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
You don’t need to thank him now. But you’ll be thanking him soon.