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Scouting the Sixers and Our Hinkie Hope: Part 2


Last week, Philly2Philly contributor Dan Falcone discussed the inner workings of Sixers' general manager Sam Hinkie. In part 2, Dan attempts to explore the mindset of Hinkie and Sixers' coach Brett Brown after watching the NBA Summer League.


The Architect Thus Far


Let’s look at Sam Hinkie as he simply wants to be seen; as a very private person. His potential dubious worldview on contemporary affairs is irrelevant to the more liberal basketball purist at this moment. Hinkie has qualities that many in Philadelphia (a top five market) should like and admire. Thus far, Hinkie shows all the symptoms of a rabid workaholic. He travelled extensively to watch players in pre-draft workouts, and it was reported that the month before the draft that he was not home for more than a few hours.


It was reported that the 76ers have received over $80 million in tax deductions to build an extravagant practice facility and franchise HQ in Camden, New Jersey. The complex is a far cry from the old PCOM site and is perhaps the largest in the NBA. It is not even qualitatively a facility – it is a complex well over 100,000 square feet. Jason Wolf of USA Today has written that “Hinkie's fingerprints are all over the blueprints.” He is a pragmatic rebuilder who couples realism with idealism: enter 7-foot Cameroon native Joel Embiid.


Summer League and Rating the RatersPhoto: BleacherReport.com


If I may get inside the mind of Hinkie and Coach Brett Brown. This is what I hope they saw in the NBA Summer League:


Casper Ware: An undersized offensive minded point guard who has difficulty scoring. Ware plays the game with determination, but needs to improve as a playmaker. He may be counterproductive in the 4 out 1 in as he, at times, looks for 1-on-1 duels. Brown and Hinkie are looking for talent and team play, not long range jumpers absent of rhythm. Brent “Bones” Barry pointed this out when the 76ers faced the Lakers. Also, Ware was pressured on pick and roll, and at the end of the shot clock, his size became an issue.



Tim Frazier: A player that is fundamental and heady. He did not play that much but had sound ability and competed. Regrettably, he may not be NBA caliber. 


Brandon Davies: This player I believe is Hinkie’s deliberate fill-in for the roster, and it’s totally based on work ethic and character. In the summer league, he came off screens off the catch to and i don’t believe that's his game. They will develop him and teach him, but I suspect for practice play only. 


Adonis Thomas: An average NBA player that may contribute. Potentially, a tremendous athlete, but he needs to develop his jumper - then he has a chance.


Drew Gordon: Perhaps slightly better than Davies and is fairly skilled. There is a lot of pressure here, since his brother is following a California legacy set by Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd, both California Player of the Year winners as high school juniors. Although he can’t be compared to his brother athletically, there is potential here, too.

Jerami Grant: Of Grant pedigree; was projected as a latter slot lottery pick. Then Syracuse suddenly couldn't score baskets, so Jim Boeheim started publicly (and cynically) ridiculing the idea of Grant leaving early. He made a handful of three-point baskets in the summer league and quieted some suspects. Coach Brown will relish the athleticism, the activity and the offensive rebounding capability. Hinkie owes Boeheim credit for the assist here, but well read by Hinkie, again.


Elijah Millsap: Pure and simple, a great talent. But with age comes the need to be coached and developed within the NBA game. The 76ers are lucky to have him.


Sean Kilpatrick: Very strong and very heady, but he is a very small wing player at this level. Furthermore, he may lack the physical talents to make up for his lack in height. He was not a long range threat at Cincinnati, but then again, he carried a heavy load. He is the third best non-draftee who played in the summer league for the 76ers. (After Ronald Roberts from St. Joseph’s and Jakarr Sampson from St. John's, who both played in Orlando)


Nerlens Noel: At times, suffered from a lack of competent guard play around him. Needs more body strength and needs a position. He also has trouble hanging on to rebounds. He possesses incredibly quick hands and has the potential to average 2 steals and 2 blocks and be a consistent Defensive Player of the Year candidate. And although he can't really score, he can put on the floor a little bit and is a good passer. He will effectively coexist with Embiid.


Jordan McCrae: An All-SEC first team selection. From Tennessee, with one of the last picks in the second round and he was most interesting. A Hinkie “secret”: 6'5 with a 7' wingspan. This compensates for requisite skill level to be an NBA wing. All he did was play defense and appear at the foul line in the summer league – not bad.  Played for the Atlantic Celtics of AAU basketball lore.


K.J. McDaniels: First second rounder and the former Clemson Tiger led the ACC in blocks as a small forward (will be a wing in the NBA) - stunning. He is an above 80% free throw shooter but cannot make threes and cannot really shoot off the bounce. He plays defense and can finish. And again, he has the wingspan. If he can make the corner three induced by the baseline drive and drift, he has a chance to be a solid rotation player.




It is my hope that we get to see Hinkie and the 76ers fulfill their blueprint for success. It is with Hinkie’s vision and the ingredients of 1) talent 2) coaching and 3) intangibles that will make this happen. We hope.


Dan Falcone is a teacher and basketball coach with more than ten years of experience. He has a Masters in Modern American History from LaSalle University in Philadelphia and currently teaches in secondary education near Washington, D.C.  Dan is also a writer for the Sixer Sense.



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