Can you believe it? Around one year ago, at this time, we were in the dark about what rookie GM Sam Hinkie was going to do in the NBA draft. Then, in one trade, he hung an "Under Maintenance" sign on the team and began the rebuild that this team had sorely lacked for years.
Fast forward to the NBA trade deadline, in the early-goings of what would be a historically bad losing streak, Hinkie traded away a few more parts of a team with a dearth of talent. From then on, it was a countdown until today.
Today, friends, is NBA Draft Day. In the words of Bruce Buffer, IT'S TIME!
It took forever to get here. The past few weeks alone have been a soul-sucking Dementor's Kiss with the amount of reports, rumors and speculations we've had to endure.
But let's take a step back and recognize: everything will be just fine.
Since Iverson left, our shared experience as Sixers fans hasn't been pleasant, culminating in this past season which featured close to, if not THE worst basketball I've ever seen. With this in mind, there's a common thought that this draft must validate enduring that type of season.
You know what? I call shenanigans.
Obviously when Sam Hinkie pressed reset, the NBA Trade Deadline and the NBA Draft were going to be very important in how this team was going to be built. Talent/asset acquisition was the goal and the NBA Draft was one huge way to attain it. Furthermore, having a high lottery pick meant that the Sixers would have a shot at a potential star. For some, this meant that the Sixers better not miss on their draft picks because... (insert reasoning about being a bad team or pride or whatever).
There is no one way to build a basketball team. Drafting isn't the only way to net a franchise "cornerstone". Even if the Sixers don't draft a personal preference or if the prospective player isn't a "star", it's not the end of the world. Why? One word: Process.
A question that has popped up a lot, especially on Liberty Ballers, is why are people so confident in Sam Hinkie? To me, it's not so much what he does. Rather, how and why he does it.
Hinkie only has a short history here, so he can, could, and will eventually make bad decisions. But be comforted in the fact that unlike some contemporaries, he is patient, he has the rope from up top, and he's using the full deck when forming his opinions and making his moves.
Tonight may not go down how you dreamed. The players may not pan out like you hoped. But it's not the end of the world and it's definitely not the end of the Sixers' eventual championship aspirations. This team is not hamstrung by bad contracts ('dat cap room). It doesn't have instability in its front office. The direction is there and the plan is in place. There's nowhere to go but up and as fans slowly come out of the woodwork, this team will cease being an afterthought first regionally then nationally.
With all that said, it's Draft Day. Today is simultaneously more and less important than we're giving it credit for. This is the day where dreams come true for aspiring basketball players. The Sixers will draft a bunch of them. This is the day where the dreams of a fanbase may begin. In the words of Dr. John Dorian, "Who can tell me my fantasy won't come true, just this once?"
Just sit back and relax.