Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle
True or false: Hiring Sam Hinkie is the best move the Sixers could have realistically made this offseason.
Eric Goldwein: True. If there was a draft of GMs and coaches, Hinkie would be the no. 1 overall pick. Or maybe a top three. He’s a valuable asset and they didn’t have to give away anything or take a salary cap hit to get him.
Tom Sunnergren: True. This is the best move the Sixers could have made in this or any offseason. It’s hard to overstate the significance of bringing Hinkie aboard to captain this sinking ship, but I’ll try: a superstar executive–which Morey’s now former right hand man most certainly is–is the second most valuable asset in the sport next to a superstar player. And I don’t think Chris Paul is coming to Philadelphia anytime soon.
Anthony Calabro: True. The Sixers are building from the ground up — from hiring Aaron Barzilai as director of basketball analytics, to using SportVu optical tracking, to buying a D-League team in Delaware. The Sam Hinkie hire is another strong building block that should create long-term stability.
Bryan Toporek: True. Hinkie played a huge role in Houston’s analytic revolution. One can only assume that he’ll put an end to the never-ending barrage of long twos that haunted Sixers fans in 2012-13. The future looks a whole lot brighter with Hinkie at the helm.
Wesley Share: The best thing the Sixers could have possibly done this offseason was make a philosophical shift within the organization and begin the move towards the future. They’ve now accomplished that, as they embrace a 35-year-old general manager who relies on advanced statistics and analytics.
Will there be a major roster overhaul this summer?
Goldwein: No. It’ll look different and at some point in the near future this roster will be unrecognizable, but I think most of last year’s top-five minute leaders (Holiday-Thad Young-Turner-Hawes-Richardson) are there on opening night in 2013. Rome wasn’t destroyed in an offseason.
Sunnergren: Yes. There was a lot of dead weight on this team in 2012-13–I’m stealing glances here at the direction of Spencer Hawes, Kwame Brown, and Evan Turner–and it’s a safe bet that with a competent GM, many of these guys will be playing for new cities next season.
Calabro: Yes. If the Sixers are going to become the Rockets East, they must overhaul the roster. Expect Philly to wheel and deal at the NBA Draft, similar to Daryl Morey did in Houston and Kevin Pritchard when he ran the Portland TrailBlazers. By the time October rolls around, there could be 8-10 new faces in the home whites.
Toporek: Yes. I doubt the Sixers bring back both Evan Turner and Andrew Bynum. Nick Young won’t be re-signed by a GM who places a premium on efficient shooting. Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young are the only two players who should feel somewhat confident about their chances of sticking around long term.
Share: Absolutely. I expect the franchise to squeeze out the useless veterans on short-term contracts (see: Kwame Brown, Royal Ivey and Damien Wilkins) as well as trade some of their regressing pieces (see: Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes), while stockpiling some young assets.
True or false: The Sixers win more than 34 games next season.
Goldwein: True. If Jrue Holiday and Thad Young are back — and this is no guarantee — they will have a hard time losing 50 games in the Eastern Conference. Right now they have too much talent to tank, and not nearly enough to compete. There will be some tough calls for Hinkie, but I don’t think he cleans house right away.
Sunnergren: False. There are two plausible possibilities for this team in 2013-14: a complete, foundation rebuild that will entail a healthy tank-job to land one of the gems of the deep 2014 draft class–basically, take the under–or something else entirely; immediate, continuous improvement. It just depends on how many inefficiencies Hinkie sees in the sport. Does the new GM think there are enough gains to be made by pursuing productive and undervalued players and tweaking offensive philosophy (more dunks and threes, fewer long twos), that the Sixers can improve significantly and immediately? I’m leaning towards no, but I’m not sure that’s Hinkie’s view. The Rockets, it’s worth pointing out, never tanked in his tenure.
Calabro: False. Roster overhauls generate losses…and lots of them. New ownership didn’t hire forward-thinking, asset-conscious front office guys to watch Damien Wilkins shoot contested mid-range jump shots. Ownership hired these guys to tear down the roster. It’s always darkest just before the dawn.
Toporek: True. No matter what happens with Bynum, the Sixers should have a solid gameplan heading into next season. If Hinkie brings Houston’s brand of basketball to Philadelphia (hooray layups and three-pointers, boo mid-range jumpers), they should be able to win 35+ games in a depleted Eastern Conference.
Share: False. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. I expect an experimental upcoming season, considering the new coach, imminent youth movement and star-studded 2014 NBA draft class.
In light of the Sam Hinkie hire, what grade would you give the new ownership group through 18 months?
Goldwein: A-. With Hinkie, Aaron Barzilai, the D-League team, and the 2014-15 cleared cap, they’ve put the team in position to compete down the road. It could take a little while.
Sunnergren: A-. Sticking with Collins last offseason was, at the time, not an unreasonable decision. Going after Bynum was the right move to make given the available information. Investing in a D-League team was smart, investing in the SportVU system was smarter, and hiring Aaron Barzilai was smarter still. Doing away with Collins and DiLeo after the debacle that was 2012-13 was absolutely the right thing to do, and then hiring Sam Hinkie was an absolute home run–a 440-foot, 2006 Ryan Howard moonshot. I really, really like these guys.
Calabro: C-. The Andrew Bynum trade was gutsy. Giving Doug Collins total control of the roster was weak. It seems ownership learned from their mistakes. Let the MIT guys do their thing for a while.
Toporek: A solid B+. The Hinkie hire was a home run. The rationale behind the Bynum trade still makes sense, even if the move completely blew up in their faces. Letting Doug Collins have free reign in 2012-13 was a mistake, though. Let’s not even bring up Kwame Brown.
Share: B+. Despite the Andrew Bynum trade not turning out the way Sixers fans may have wanted it to, the ownership appears committed to building a contender. The initiative they took when they acquired Bynum along with the Hinkie hire have been the highlights of their tenure. (Donwgraded to a B+ because of Adam Aron’s twitter account and some of their pathetic in-game entertainment).
In the next five seasons, will the Sixers win an Atlantic Division title?
Goldwein: Yes, but that’s more because of the weak and aging Atlantic Division and the randomness of sport, than the hiring of Hinkie. Regardless of who is in the front office, they’ll need a lucky break or two to get a Division Title-worthy roster on the floor.
Sunnergren: Yes. The Sixers will win the division within the next five years and will win a championship within 10. Write it down. (Then torture me with it later.)
Calabro: Yes. This was a definite no before the Hinkie hire. Now, I believe the Sixers will simply outmanuever their competition in the Atlantic Division. It may not happen until Year 5, but Philly will win the Division in the near-future.
Toporek: Last week, I said no. After a healthy dose of Hinkie Kool-Aid, I’d now say it’s 50-50. The Knicks and Nets should be the top dogs through 2014-15, but who knows after that? A few savvy draft picks and free agent signings could eventually swing things in the Sixers’ favor.
Share: Yes. The Raptors haven’t shown signs of improving anytime soon, the Celtics are deteriorating, the Knicks only have a 3-5 year window considering their age and the contracts of Anthony and Chandler, and the Nets are going nowhere. Thing are looking up in Philadelphia.