What do your parents, your employers, your friends, and your romantic partners all have in common? They all want some sort of results from you. People today crave better performance in almost all areas of life. NBA fans are no different. We cheer for the team we love looking for an eventual finished product, something we can be proud of. In life and in basketball, there are often quick fixes available to offer us some sort of results. These quick fixes can work, like in the case of the Miami Heat, but more often than not there needs to be a balance between wanting instant performance and building longterm sustained success.
This is the difference between Sam Hinkie and previous GM's like Billy King, Ed Stefanski, and Rod Thorn. Other than the Bynum trade, the track record of these three GMs is filled with making stop gap moves that barely moved the needle in either direction. From 2003-04 to 2012-13 the Sixers finished between 27-43 wins every year. When people talk about this being a long rebuild, just remind them that we went through ten years of basically walking on a tread mill at a speed not quick enough to burn away our love handles but just fast enough to make us not seek an actual diet plan. Our fan base is now quibbling over a wasted year as if three years is a long time to wait.
If you haven't seen the marshmallow experiment go check it out now. The basic premise is a small child is told that they can eat the marshmallow they have on their plate now, or they can wait for a couple of minutes for the adult to return with two marshmallows. Basically this is an early indicator of impulse control and success, does the child have the ability to wait and not devour a marshmallow now so that they can receive double the reward a short time later? Is the analogy obvious yet?
Last night the Sixers picked up the best prospect in the draft, and a guy who some called the most skilled prospect in the draft, and picked up additional assets that will help them draft for need in a couple of years. The first round Hinkie had last night could be hard to stomach if you want your marshmallows now, yes, but you have to visualize the potential reward. Embiid has the highest ceiling in the draft, if things work out in four years do you think we will still be bent up by him missing his rookie season? If Dario eventually comes over and in five or six years is a good point forward in his prime on a rookie contract, will we still stamp our feet and grovel about "the on court talent vacuum of 2014-2015"? This season is just a build year, no two prospects were going to come in and make this team a contender. Selecting different prospects for this year who could have played and made an impact might have made this year more exciting, but it wouldn't have given the team the highest possible ceiling. Sam Hinkie isn't in this GM-ing game to please marshmallow gobbling fans and journalists, he is in it to build a team with a legitimate chance to become the next dynastic NBA team, one that will do more then luck into the second round due to injuries. Listen to what he said last year after the draft:
"I meant that when I said that -- the last time you saw me, apparently -- I mean that when I said the ownership here and the people in this organization have a real commitment to build something lasting and to build something big. And sometimes that requires taking risks, often it requires doing things differently -- a little differently here or there, or a lot differently here and there -- and I think you've seen some of that play out tonight." - Sam Hinkie
Make no mistake, this plan is not a guaranteed success. Dario Saric could fall in love with a beautiful Turkish woman who loves her family and so a move to the states is called off. Joel Embiid could continue to be hampered by injuries and turn out to be the next great bust. Whatever takes place in the coming years, I will at least be grateful that we had a GM in these seasons willing to build for the future and take criticism in the present, rather then the previous trend of giving up future assets to put lipstick on a pig. Bravo Sam, I am willing to wait.