The Philadelphia 76ers aren’t going to be very good again this season.
After two years under GM Sam Hinkie, the 76ers’ “process” still remains the same – tank for high draft picks, acquire assets, and hope to build a young, talented core for years to come.
However, so far that plan has hit some snags. The 76ers traded Rookie of the Year point guard Michael Carter-Williams last season, Joel Embiid is out for a second straight year and doesn’t seem to care much about his health, Dario Saric is years from coming to the NBA, and the Sixers have sat out free agency for three straight years.
There is some talent on the roster – Nerlens Noel had an impressive rookie season and Jahlil Okafor looks like the best offensive rookie in the league. Forward Robert Covington proved to be a nice pick-up last season, and they traded for Nick Stauskas this summer, who is a young, intriguing point guard.
By and large, though, the Sixers don’t look close to competing for a playoff spot, and with hoards of future picks stashed away, they don’t have much incentive to be good in the near future. Nobody knows the exact timeline for this rebuild, but it doesn’t seem like they’re close to completing it.
This is apparently wearing thin for some people in the 76ers ownership, according to Brian Geltzeiler on SI’s The Cauldron. Geltzeiler reports that Hinkie still has the support of Sixers owner Josh Harris, but “sources suggest that other pieces of the ownership team are getting less patient.”
Geltzeiler says that some of Hinkie’s decisions have irked members of the 76ers, like his decision to trade Carter-Williams so early into his career. Hinkie though Carter-Williams was flawed beyond repair, but other people within the 76ers didn’t think so.
While this isn’t a sign that Hinkie’s job is in any kind of danger, it is reflective of what much of the NBA world believes – Hinkie’s plan is sound, but his execution has been questionable. While he’s acquired some talented players, the 76ers roster is a turnstile, with players being swapped for assets at almost any chance. Noel and Okafor look like good picks, but their long-term fit in a new, small-ball, pace-and-space NBA is a giant question mark going forward. Similarly, the 76ers aren’t a free agent destination while they continue to lose, so their best hope of improving is internally, which means they need to draft better and commit to their roster more.
Hinkie has done a good job to set the Sixers up for the future – with a ton of future draft picks, they’re sure to nail a few more – but his long-view approach to rebuilding hasn’t been smooth. Unless the team makes sudden strides in the near future, his support is likely to continue to wear thin.