After being introduced to both the media and the city of Philadelphia by owner Josh Harris earlier today, Sam Hinkie is now the President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the 76ers.
Much has been said about Hinkie, whether it be on his tenure with the Rockets, his successful investment career, or his firm belief in analytics, but today he got to answer a few of Philadelphia’s questions for himself. His remarks should only strengthen the support that the organization has received for this hire.
Hinkie put organizational culture at the forefront of his comments throughout the press conference. From the get go, it was clear that Josh Harris and Co. were a big reason he accepted the position. He stated the ownership group is “committed to building a basketball operation that is data-driven, strategic, and relentlessly innovative.” Hinkie added that, before accepting the position, he spoke with both investors and competitors from within the basketball and investment realms to ensure that the franchise was headed in a direction he agreed with.
Hinkie also addressed the franchise’s maddening 10 year run of mediocrity by saying “Just beating the average by a bit… will only serve to disappoint all of us in the long run” and “I like smart risks… Certainty and winning championships aren’t going to be consistent.” When asked about his philosophy moving forward, he remained consistent with Houston’s recent game plan, saying “I start with an end in mind and I’ll encourage my staff to do the same. History has been reasonably clear that superstar players matter and I’d agree with that.”
When pressed on specific plans for near-term moves, Hinkie was, obviously, a bit more reserved. It was clear, however, that he plans on taking his time to settle in, absorb the organization’s current processes, and build a culture from there. When asked about the timeline on a coaching hire, Hinkie was level headed, saying, “The way I think about the coaching process is about getting the right guy. Everything should be focused on that. I come in to be methodical and diligent.” He added that the right coach would need to possess “a real shared philosophy about X’s and O’s.
The way they handle pick and roll defense, side pick and rolls, (and) end of game situations.” He also stated that requiring a coach to be “analytically minded” is “over stated.” Hinkie did not go into any detail in regards to his plans for Andrew Bynum, but seemed to support the Bynum trade while holding reservations about the team’s other moves, saying “this (was) a big move, and these big moves come about every ten years or so. The small moves can facilitate big moves” and added that “Even though big moves are intermittent, there are things you can do every day.”
Outside of the coaching hunt and decision on Bynum’s future with the franchise, Hinkie will be busy preparing for the draft, which he also offered some insight into, saying “I have several targets already,” and adding “even if a prospect will be taken higher (than the Sixers’ projected draft position), he very much wants to meet him,” as “he will be a trade target in the coming years.”
It became clear immediately following this press conference that there is finally reason for optimism in Philadunkia nation.