The Sixers Remind Us Once Again That a Rebuild Isn’t Quick

What a wild NBA Trade Deadline.

Like any typical college student, a bunch of NBA teams waited until the very last minute to get their work done. It was a beautiful, confusing mess, and naturally Sam Hinkie was involved.

Hinkie, the architect of this arduous rebuild in Philly, inserted himself into the frey of several deals, first renting out his cap space to Denver to take on JaVale McGee’s salary, with the stipulation that the Nuggets send over Oklahoma City’s first round pick (protected 1-18 this year).

Like most veterans the Sixers have acquired in Hinkie’s tenure, Keith Bogans, Danny Granger, Andrei Kirelenko, I seriously doubt McGee takes the court (UPDATE He’s playing) nor do I care if he plays. It’s about the assets and with the way Oklahoma City is playing, plus getting better at the deadline, I really think the Sixers will get that pick this year. Hinkie said at his presser Friday morning that he believes the pick has a 30 percent chance of conveying this year(it’s 1-15 protected in 2016) but I think OKC will go on a major run and hence deliver that pick into the hands of Mr. Hinkie.

So yeah, great trade Sam! We could’ve called it a day right there, but there was still less than two hours until the deadline, more than enough time for additional franchise altering moves.

But then a bunch of craziness erupted shortly before 3 p.m.

I wasn’t surprised to see they moved MCW, but the KJ McDaniels one was puzzling and most Sixers fans, even those who are big backers of this plan are left confused. Yeah, he may have likely left after this year, based on the fact he turned town the typical contract offered to second rounders and inked only a one-year deal, but I would’ve done everything possible to keep him here one more season. One of the luxuries of a tanking team is to The whole point of this rebuilding process is to find hidden gems like McDaniels and give them ample playing time on a young team.

The MCW trade is tough. I enjoyed watching him, and his debut against the Heat last year was a truly memorable moment. It actually might be the on-court highlight of the Hinkie-era Sixers. But Hinkie was right to trade him for that Lakers first round pick. The Lakers will stink for several more years, and next year the pick is only top-3 protected. I actually hope the Sixers don’t get the pick until 2016, more on that in a few paragraphs.

I have no idea how Carter-Williams’ career will play out. I imagine he’ll make a few all-star games, but not sure he’ll ever be an elite point guard, unless he drastically improves his shooting. And to be fair, it’s only his second year and he has plenty of time to do that. Plus, playing for Jason Kidd will do that. I haven;t missed Jrue Holiday yet since Hinkie traded him to the Pelicans, and while he’s been hurt, hasn’t turned into an elite player when healthy either.

Clearly Hinkie and Brett Brown feel there will be a better option out there, which is why for the second time in two years they’re going to be getting a new point guard. Isiah Cannon might turn out to be a valuable piece, but he’s unlikely the star Hinkie keeps searching for.

Back to 2016 and that Lakers pick for a second. Thon Maker, one of the most highly-regarded high school prospects just reclassified to the 2015 class, so you know he’s going to be in that draft. And the top overall prospect in 2015, Ben Simmons, will likely be around as well. Is it far too early to know anything significant about those two and what kind of pros they’ll be before they even play in college? Yes.  But i guarantee the Sixers have already begun thinking about the possibility of choosing either one. Having that Lakers pick at their disposal will help. But again, far too early.

What I really keep taking away is just how thorough of a roster turnover this has been since Hinkie arrived, save for Jason Richardson of course. It’s only been a year and a half into the rebuilding phase and players picked in the 2013 and 2014 drafts, who appeared the be keepers, were shipped away. This isn’t the NFL when a “rebuild” can happen for a team like the Colts when they draft Andrew Luck.  Sam Hinkie’s Sixers have a treasure trove of draft picks, so they can keep compiling assets and young talent and they won’t stop until they find the absolute perfect players. More trades will happen, because of course they will. With the 2015 draft heavy on big men, Nerlens Noel could be shipped away if Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor are the best players available.

So just eight months after using two lottery picks on players who won’t help the Sixers this year, (or in Dario Saric’s case next year as well,) Sam I AM Hinkie just traded away two promising talents who were helping them and were poised to continue to do so in the future.  While national media outlets like Deadspin will mock them and other NBA teams express frustration or outrage at their strategy, the Sixers will continue to plan ahead to hopefully build something great and they aren’t taking any shortcuts to get there.

During his Friday press conference Hinkie said he believes in something called “optionality.” I can’t say that I believe in optionality (it may or may nor be a word), mainly because I’ve never heard of it before, but I believe in Sam Hinkie.






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