I love Philadelphia sports and I love Philadelphia sports fans, but sometimes I wonder what it is exactly that we want from the GMs of our sports teams.
We demand openness and honesty, but the reality is that often, particularly within the NBA, it just isn’t possible to deliver these things to the fans and build a winning team, which is what we all want the most, right?
In the weeks since the NBA draft, Sam Hinkie has received a tremendous amount of criticism for his silence around the NBA draft, some people even going so far as calling him "arrogant", "irresponsible" and a "fraud", no less.
But what is it exactly that we want from Sam Hinkie? Would we rather him schedule a pre-draft press conference and reveal his draft board to us? Would we rather he look visibly disappointed after the draft lottery and tell us how devastated he is that he won’t be able to draft Andrew Wiggins? If not, presumably this is because you know as well as I do that the NBA draft is essentially a high-stakes poker game and to reveal your cards in this way makes no sense at all.
So what is it exactly that we want to hear from Sam Hinkie before the draft? Think hard on this, because I believe that anything short of the above would probably be empty, uninformative garbage that doesn’t reveal anything to us at all, simply because IT HAS TO BE THAT WAY. Do we really want to hear that kind of stuff? Would we rather Hinkie adopt Ruben Amaro’s approach of giving weekly interviews to the local sports media, during which he says nothing of substance and continues to regurgitate the same empty and dull verbiage that continues to anger us all? I think not.
It amazes me that some people were so outraged by Hinkie’s silence, particularly when he told us all immediately after the draft lottery that he wouldn’t be talking and even gave us his (understandable) reasons why:
"Now we are back to my stone face because this is the time of the year where there is a lot of information to be gained and a lot to be lost the more you say. We are likely to be active all around the draft. That is not unusual for us. But you have to be pretty careful that people don’t know what it is you are going to do."
Whether or not the 6ers won the poker game on draft night is a separate debate, but my point here is that Hinkie’s strategy of staying silent was the right one and is something that he cannot sensibly be criticized for, as there is no sensible alternative.
The same point I’m making here applies to trades and free agency. Would we rather he hold a press conference and list the players that he likes and the current players that he deems to be dispensable? Of course not, as doing so would lose any leverage that we have and put us at a competitive disadvantage.
Whether or not you believe that the 6ers rebuilding strategy is the right one (I happen to believe that it is), please just spare me the righteous indignation regarding Hinkie’s silence around the draft, otherwise, please do let me know what it is exactly that you think he should be telling us.