(Part 3 of a 4-part series)
The Hinkie School
I was going to look at the draft in three ways, The Old School, New School and Hinkie School but the more I thought about it, I think the Hinkie School is the New School. He is not only building the franchise for the future but he’s doing it in a way that is much different than most people have seen before. Who would have thought that he would trade his promising young point guard coming off his best year for two draft picks and one being for a guy who wasn’t going to play one second in the upcoming basketball season? Hinkie is all about adding value and getting the most for his assets at a particular time. If he could obtain a second round pick midseason, let’s say #32, he’d be thrilled to trade it for #31 on draft day. Let’s look at MCW, he was drafted with the #11 pick last year, if some team, let’s say the Magic wanted to swap MCW for their #4 pick, I think he’d do it. Like I said, he seems very set on continuing to upgrade the assets that he has acquired, even if the decision will be unpopular with the fan base. He is essentially a stock trader but he’s using players, picks and cap space as commodities.
I’d like to say I know what Hinkie is thinking in that dark cave he spends most of his time in over on Broad and Pattison but I really don’t. I’m going to look at all the options available to him and throw in some ways he could and or should go between now and the end of draft night on June 26. I think we are all pretty confident that he will not be standing pat and will not be making each of his 7 selections in the positions that they currently own. Let’s take a look.
Hinkie is in love with Andrew Wiggins, and why not, he just might be the next generation superstar that brings multiple championships to the city of Brotherly Love over the next decade. Not only may Wiggins be that guy, he’ll also be a draw for not only fans but for potential free agents around the league. We all know that NBA players want to join up with their buddies and take a city and franchise by storm. What if 4 years from now, Joel Embiid has become a dominate force in the NBA, and wants out of Cleveland. His good buddy AW is tearing it up in Philly with MCW and Nerlens Noel but need that offensive post presence. AW has been in Embiid’s ear the last 2 years at All-Star weekend about coming to Philly, perfect! Hinkie knew this day might be coming and has continued to stash that invaluable cap space so that he can make this play. This sounds like a perfect plan, right? Well, the only problem is, AW might now be available for Hinkie at #3. I don’t think Hinkie wants to give up #3 and #10 to move up one spot, or two, that seems like a lot. I also don’t think any number of their 5 second round picks gets them up a spot or two with either Cleveland or Milwaukee although I may be wrong, maybe they both don’t care which of the 3 they get and want more ammo to move back into the late first, then give them all 5 for all I care, it’s worth it to get “your” guy. That leads us to one other asset that Hinkie has, cap space. Milwaukee is in fine shape cap wise but Cleveland has a few contracts that I’m sure they’d like to rid themselves of, i.e.; Jarret Jack (6.5mil/yr through 2017), Tyler Zeller (3.5mil/yr through 2017). That’s 10mil a year they can clear and add, say, picks #32 and #54 and still get any of the “big 3”, I think that gets it done. Now Cleveland has a lineup of Irving, Waiters, Deng, Varejao/Bennett, Embiid. Their 2014-2015 just got better and now they have space to add another big name in hopes of keeping Irving around.
Alright, Wiggins is in house at pick #1, now on to pick #10, this is a big one for Hinkie. This pick may be more important than the first pick. I think he stands pat here and takes the best shooter available, unless Randle somehow falls to them at #10. There are a few names that are potential picks here, Stauskas, Gary Harris, James Young,McDermott and Zach Levine. As I mentioned earlier, I think Stauskas and McDermott are gone at #10. That leaves the other 3; I think Hinkie is going to be too intrigued by Zach Levine. His game certainly needs refinement but hey, the Sixers have time. His athleticism is out of this world and his shot making is impressive. Imagine MCW, Levine, Wiggins, Young, and Noel on the court at the same time, no team in the league right now would be able to keep up with them in transition, damn I’m excited! Obviously I want to see Levine in Philly and I think Hinkie will oblige. I will throw one wild card in here at #10, Dario Saric. He’s an athletic big (6’10”) with some handle and a knack for grabbing boards, he led the Adriatic League in rebounding this year. This pick would be for the future for sure since many wonder whether he will come to the US this year.
Well, the Sixers now hold picks 39, 47, 54 after the trade with Cleveland and I think there’s a real possibility they trade back into the first round. There’s also a chance they trade a few of these to move up in the second round. Hinkie didn’t acquire these picks at the deadline to stand pat and take a 26% chance that these players will make any contributions in the NBA. One nice thing about 2nd round picks is that they do not have guaranteed contracts making them more valuable for cap strapped contenders. The Clippers are maxed out for 2014-2015; they’d be thrilled to trade their #28 pick for a second rounder or two. Sixers trade their #47 and #52 picks to the Sixers and Hinkie takes Mitch McGary. McGary (PF, Michigan) hasn’t officially been cleared for the NBA yet but he will bring a lot of the skill and grit that this team needs. If Thad Young is still here, what better player to learn the position from and how to go about your business as a professional, McGary should follow him and imitate him in whatever he does. McGary is an excellent rebounder and has great vision for a big man; he’ll hit AW or Levine on many dashes to the bucket.
That leaves Hinkie with one last pick in round 2, pick #39. Hinkie takes a project that can eventually be a rotational player. See above, Spencer Dinwiddie is the pick. This gives them another draft and stash player who would have been a first round pick this year if he hadn’t gotten injured.
Rd 1, pick 1: Andrew Wiggins (acquired from CLE for #3, #32, #54 and PHI gets #1, Jack and Zeller)
Rd1, pick 10: Zach Levine
Rd1, pick 28: Mitch McGary (acquired from LAC for #47 and #52)
Rd2, pick 39: Spencer Dinwiddie
All in all, a great night for Hinkie and the franchise, he was able to use some of the resources he has acquired this year to maneuver around the draft. This draft has certainly made the painful 2013-2014 season worth it, there is clear direction and we’ll all have a few reasons to tune into the games next winter. A core of MCW, Wiggins, Levine, Noel, McGary and in a year or two, Dinwiddie, is really exciting. There’s still plenty of work to be done building out the rest of the team but this core could be the basketball version of the “Greatest Show on Turf”. Stay tuned for more developments, news, rumors and player evaluations. That’s how I see Hinkie playing his cards, how would you orchestrate this draft?
(Part 4- The Breakdown will be posted on 6/2)