Have Faith in Sam’s Sixers

Have+Faith+in+Sam%E2%80%99s+Sixers

Ben Yankelitis

76ersSpend 10,9,8,76 seconds learning about your hometown Sixers before you judge their strategies.

They say, “Ignorance is bliss.” And yes, I agree with this statement at times. When Sixers fans eat the $7.76 large, one topping pizza from Papa John’s when the team scores 90+ points, not knowing what is in those ingredients, it is probably for the best.

But when it comes to the hometown team, too many people are discouraging the Sixers “lose to get better” mindset without looking deeper into the situation.

“Why would you trade a human highlight reel like KJ McDaniels?” “Michael Carter Williams? He was the Rookie of the Year!” These are a few of the complaints I heard in the Malvern Prep Learning Commons on the afternoon of February 19th, the NBA trading deadline. Just before 3:00 PM that day, the Sixers traded the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter Williams, known as MCW, to the Milwaukee Bucks. Additionally, they traded KJ McDaniels, a rookie out of Clemson who the Sixers took in the second round of the 2014 NBA draft, to the Houston Rockets. These two players were two of the only attractions on this year’s team, with Carter Williams being a threat to post a triple double every game and McDaniels throwing down high flying dunks nightly.

The man behind these moves is Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie. Hinkie became the Sixers GM in May 2013 and started his “experiment” right away. He felt that to become a championship team, he would first have to be bad. He dismantled the team that was in place, for assets. Future first and second round draft picks. He has put awful lineups on the court to be in a better position to acquire high draft picks. He has traded away players for draft picks, stockpiling assets like there is not tomorrow, as seen in the MCW and KJ trades.

Long term, the MCW and KJ would not have provided the Sixers with anything. MCW is not a player who could lead the Sixers to a championship. You cannot put stock into the fact that MCW was Rookie of the Year. The 2013 draft class was one of the weakest ever. He is turnover prone and cannot shoot the ball well, something that is necessary of the current NBA point guard, as seen in players like Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook. And MCW will be replaced easily. The Sixers are going to get a top pick and there are highly praised guards in this year’s draft like D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay who are undoubtedly better than MCW. Next, the KJ trade is a great move because KJ was a free agent at the end of the year. Most likely, he was going to leave the team and the Sixers would get nothing. Instead, they picked up a young point guard with potential in Isaiah Canaan and a second round pick. Both of those sound better than nothing.

Recently, Pablo Torre of ESPN wrote an article detailing the analytics the Sixers use in order to improve. Torre discussed how the Sixers evaluate the smallest details in order to help their players get better. Along with this system, the Sixers have two future stars in their possession. Injured Joel Embiid has been compared to Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon and Dario Saric is dominating overseas. Then, by using “bad” players the Sixers are spending virtually nothing, putting themselves in position to be th0e only team able to sign multiple expensive free agents like the Miami Heat did four years ago. The Heat went to four championships and won two.

Finally, looking at past moves, prove that Hinkie knows his stuff. He traded an All Star Point guard in Jrue Holiday for a future first round pick (used eventually to draft Saric) and prospect Nerlens Noel. A young, productive, point guard for a first round pick? Does sound familiar? I don’t know. Maybe it sounds like a move they made just recently. All I know is Holiday has accomplished little since he was traded, while Noel is currently averaging 1.8 blocks per game and 1.6 steals per game (something only done once by a rookie), and Dario Saric was just named FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year.

#InHinkieWeTrust