2012-13 W-L: 34-48
New Faces: Sam Hinkie (General Manager, Houston Rockets), Brett Brown (Head Coach, San Antonio Spurs), Furkan Aldemir, James Anderson, Royce White, Tim Olbrecht
New Places: Andrew Bynum (Cleveland), Jrue Holiday (New Orleans), Justin Holiday (waived), Charles Jenkins (Europe), Dorell Wright (Portland), Nick Young (LA Lakers)
Drafted: Nerlens Noel (6), Michael Carter-Williams (11), Arselan Kazemi (54)
The NBA: It’s taaaaaaaaaaanktastic!
The 76ers were quiet in the weeks leading up to this year’s NBA Draft, then promptly blew up their team on draft night by shipping Jrue Holiday (along with the rights to Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson) to New Orleans for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first round, which seems likely to land somewhere between 8 and 15. Holiday – who made his first All-Star team last year before dropping off dramatically in the second half of the season – was considered an integral part of Philadelphia’s future right up until the moment he wasn’t. Sam Hinkie plays like that, apparently.
Hiring Hinkie as the general manager was Philadelphia’s big move of the summer. Hinkie studied at the foot of Daryl Morey for the last eight years, and his way of doing things represents a drastic shift from the previous regime of Doug Collins, Rod Thorn and Tony DiLeo. Though Morey took the “tread water as a mid-tier team while stockpiling assets” route to rebuild the Rockets, Hinkie is going a different direction. The Sixers are tanking, and they’re tanking hard. Hinkie’s first big move was the Holiday trade, which undoubtedly weakened the roster for this year. He followed that up by letting every player of substance walk in free agency, and replaced them with the uninspiring group of Royce White, James Anderson, Tim Olbrecht (?) and Furkan Aldemir.
Noel was a developmental big man prospect to begin with – even if he was the presumed No. 1 overall pick before the Cavs shocked everyone including Anthony Bennett by taking Anthony Bennett – and it’s also likely he’ll miss at least part of the season recovering from his knee injury. Carter-Williams is a developmental point guard prospect who can’t shoot, which makes him an awful fit next to Evan Turner, who was a “contribute right away” pick a few years ago, but also can’t shoot. Kazemi is an intriguing prospect, but probably can’t be counted on to provide too much help right away.
Luckily, Hinkie recently tabbed former Gregg Popovich assistant Brett Brown to be his head coach (even though this hire was rumored back in June, it didn’t become official until recently). Brown, as Brett Koremenos (who’s getting a lot of linkage up in here) wrote at Grantland, is considered an excellent developmental coach. He’ll be tasked with improving upon the skill sets of some raw but talented youngsters and molding them into a cohesive unit. Between Noel, MCW and the two first round picks Philly has in the 2014 draft, Brown will have a whole lot of young, cost-effective players to work with over the next few seasons. How much of Popvich’s system he brings with him remains to be seen, but if he can simply do for Philly’s youngsters what he’s been doing for San Antonio’s the last handful of years, the Sixers will be in a good place; or at least a better place than they are right now.