During media day yesterday, Sixers President and General Manager Sam Hinkie was asked about whether it was difficult to have his name attached to last season.
"I tell people that I think a lot of it is where does your self-worth come from? Do you need people every day telling you you're doing well?" Hinkie said. "Do you need the masses every day telling you that they agree with you, or do you have some higher purpose in life?"
If you were expecting Sam Hinkie to second guess his strategy because of public opinion, you've come to the wrong place.
For some, that act of defiance is off-putting. To others, it's part of what gives them hope. The Sixers GM has a plan, and the frequently fickle musings of much of his paying public isn't going cause him to deviate from that.
"We're all competitive, me as much as anybody," Hinkie would say. "We had lots of long nights and worked our tails off trying to do what we could in this phase that we're in."
"It's really important not to take your eyes off what matters. And what matters is not feeling great about yourself the 3rd of March, but to give yourself a chance to feel great about yourself the 3rd of June."
It's an interesting fixation many in this town have on the Sixers wins and losses, considering the 25 year championship drought the city went through that just ended in 2008. You would often hear -- on the radio, on the street, among your friends -- that many would be willing to suffer through years of losing if they could have a championship.
That debate is mostly hypothetical, and pointless. There was no realistic scenario that would have caused the Phillies to fall off the map after winning in 2008. Sure, they would fail to win another title after that, but their next three seasons included a second world series appearance, which was then followed up with back-to-back seasons in which they had the best record in the league.
In truth, you're not building for a championship. You've building for a prolonged period of contention.
The point of such a question is really to gauge ones priorities. And the city responded to that question with a resounding answer: championships are most important.
Sam Hinkie feels the same way. Many may disagree with his opinion on what it takes to get there, on how he can best position his team to obtain the kind of talent necessary to achieve greatness. But regardless of whether you agree with his method, his goal should be obvious.
"We look forward to that day when we can be out every night and say tonight, tonight we have a chance," Sam Hinkie said. "When that comes, I don't know. I think a lot of that is about the development of our young guys. As our young players come along, then we'll see. But right now, there's an unknown to that."
"We spend a lot of time on player development. I think we spend as much as anybody in the league," Hinkie said. "If you track the hours the way we track them, and track the shots the way we track them, I think you get a real sense that we're trying to do something that everyone's trying to do, but we're trying to do it at a different level."
"A lot of what we try to find out is to separate the known from the unknown. And right now we have lots of unknowns as we look at our players," Hinkie said. "We'll look around to try to see which ones can be keepers. Which ones will really fit in our culture, and fit in to a place where we try to be really hard working everyday, and try to be really selfless, and try to lay it on the line for a teammate."
"We have estimates of all those, we have guesses, but they're just guesses," Hinkie said. "We'll know a lot more, even here in the next month."
It's why the focus on wins and losses, at this stage, is largely misplaced. Acquire talent, develop talent, and remain flexible. Having lost 63 games last season, including 26 in a row, doesn't change that.
When asked about the rumored lottery reform, the Sixers GM was predictably vague."We're a small part of any sort of rules change to the NBA. There's a whole governance system setup that's quite reasonable," Hinkie said. "I suspect everybody will have their chance to be heard."
"I have trust in [the NBA's] leadership that they'll make decent decisions about what will help the league go forward," he went on to say. "Part of the job is being required to make sometimes popular, sometimes unpopular decisions."
As to how it impacts the team he runs?
"We do our best within the rules that exist. And if people want to change them, they change them, and we'll do our best within those," he said. "Often there's a bit of a gain to be had for those who can attack [rule changes] the fastest. We'll be focused on that."
Midrange shots - Never again
At one point, Sam Hinkie was describing what the team got out of last season. The improved shot selection was one such improvement mentioned.
"[Spencer Hawes] did a pick and pop [last year] to 18 feet, and Brett [Brown] said never again. Let it fly," Hinkie said. "Just get behind the [three point] line and let it fly."
Keith Bogans on the team?
The Sixers released their training camp roster yesterday, which included Keith Bogans.
Could they actually keep the little-used shooting guard who has a $5.3 million unguaranteed contract?
I wouldn't count on it.
We'll see," Hinkie said when asked about what will happen with Bogans. "We're slow to act when we're presented with something new. We've been in touch with [Bogans' representatives], and will continue to be, and we'll see what's best for him and for us."
It sounds eerily similar to how the Danny Granger situation was described last year at the trade deadline.
With the exception of the league-mandated January 10th date when all player salaries become guaranteed, there is no date where Bogans' contract will become guaranteed, similar to how Hasheem Thabeet's would have if he were on the roster September 1st.
Odds and ends
- Michael Carter-Williams confirmed that he has added 10 or 11 pounds of muscle from a number of factors, including a change to add more protein to his diet.
- Michael Carter-Williams says that, while he is still rehabbing his injured shoulder, he has been shooting for 2-3 months.
- Carter-Williams said he didn't have a timetable for when he'd be ready to play, but assured us that it's not anything long.
- Joel Embiid, when asked whether he had gotten any advice from Nerlens Noel on sitting out there year, said Noel told him "it sucks."
- Embiid claims that once he starts playing he'll tweet less. "I have nothing to do."
- Nerlens Noel says his weight is at 217 pounds, which is down from the low-220's it was at towards the end of last season.