Usually we'd just drop this in a CajFri, but this sizable feature from Friend Of The Blog And Podcast, ESPN The Magazine's Pablo S. Torre is too big and wonderful to not share on its own. Torre got to sit down with Sam Hinkie and have one of his famed off-the-record lunches, a practice with which I'm intimately familiar. And what he gets, along with quotes from Brett Brown, Nerlens Noel, Daryl Morey, Jason Richardson, and more, is incredible.
Read all of it (HERE), but I'll pick a few of my favorite parts, because again, it's great. Easily the best national piece on the Sixers I've read.
Every Sixer, on every possession, is graded on five complex, proprietary criteria. On offense, for instance, the team wants to reward pace, so staffers time a player's first three steps when a miss is recovered. On defense, they'll recognize accomplishments such as contested shots, tips and deflections. Report cards, linked to video for review, are announced to the team. "We set it up as a competition," undrafted forward JaKarr Sampson gushes. Brown harps on the team average -- a score of 20 is high -- and denotes improvement in 10-game chunks.
The result: Hinkie's alleged collection of flesh-eating bacteria, anonymous as they are, actually try. "Development, for me, is everything," Brown tells me. "It lets me truly look at somebody and not feel like, 'We're going to cut you in a week or two weeks to get another draft pick.'"
(sorry, Tim Frazier)
"Sam views everything said in public as information given away for free," one ex-colleague of his later explains. Or as Rockets GM Daryl Morey, Hinkie's previous boss, tells me, "In terms of personality, we're extremely different -- for better and for worse."
Imagine Hinkie doing an AMA.
When I asked Brett Brown, who was hired in August 2013, about Hinkie's diligence in hiring, he told me that his own interview experience often felt like "the gauntlet on one of those game shows where you have to run over a bridge and then something flies out and hits you, and the pole is slippery, and then another thing swings out and hits you."
I am entertained by everything Brett Brown says.
This is required reading for all of you, and hopefully for the ignorant masses thinking the Sixers are losing for fun and aimlessly acquiring bad players. I will give this article the Brandon Lee Gowton Fav (TM) and bring it back out in two, three, five years when the Sixers are contending for a championship. Because that's what it's all about.
Big ups to Pablo Torre for the piece. God I love this team.