For the first time since 1996, the Philadelphia 76ers have the first pick in the NBA Draft. Unfortunately for Sam Hinkie, he didn’t survive long enough to make the selection.
The former Philly general manager parted ways with the Sixers in April.
Still, does getting the No. 1 pick validate his vision for the franchise?
“That’s a really tricky question,” author and The Cauldron co-founder Andy Glockner said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I think people are looking for a yes or no answer when the real answer is maybe and we’re not going to know. Is the process vindicated if they get Karl-Anthony Towns last year instead of (Jahlil) Okafor? It’s the same process. It’s just a ping-pong ball bouncing the other way. So these are all the odds calculations that Philadelphia was looking at and saying, ‘If we give ourselves enough trips to this lottery process, we’re going to hit it once and hopefully we hit it at the right time where it gives us the player we need.’”
Some people found Hinkie arrogant and his tanking philosophy dismissive. Glockner did not.
“My argument is it’s the opposite of arrogance to say you want as many lottery tickets as possible,” he said. “You’re just playing the odds at that point. You’re basically saying, ‘We can’t outperform other people in the draft, so let’s get more chances at it.’ Now we’ll see what another GM can do with it, but I kind of wish Hinkie got a chance to do it.”
Instead, that duty belongs to Bryan Colangelo, who will almost certainly draft 6-10 Ben Simmons or 6-9 Brandon Ingram. The Sixers, by the way, already have three players on their roster – Okafor, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid – who are 6-11 or taller. All are 22 or younger.
Philly went a woeful 10-72 this season, but make no mistake: They’ve got some pieces to either build around or trade away.
“It was a painful process and maybe necessarily so in some ways, but I’ve always been supportive of the macro-strategy they were trying to pull off down there,” said Glockner, author of Chasing Perfection. “Now Bryan Colangelo inherits a situation that’s very, very favorable for near-term improvement.”
Overall, Glockner feels that the Draft Lottery – not to mention the draft itself – are great for the NBA. Now we’re going to have five weeks of hype and speculation about who the Sixers will draft. Or trade. Or try to acquire.
That’s a lot to chew on.
“I think it certainly develops fan interest,” Glockner said. “Did you see the party reaction in Philadelphia? It was like they scored an overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Final. It was so loud at the watch party they had there. It was a great visual and great celebration.”
That said, Glockner would like the NBA to find ways to stem tanking a little bit, but that’s easier said than done.
“Obviously the NBA did not like overall what Philadelphia had done and now they’re being quote-unquote rewarded finally with a No. 1 pick,” Glockner said. “But ultimately at the end of the day, I don’t know if there’s a much better process to do this that would be fair, and even if you’re going to implement something, you have so many trades already on the books that you would have to let this unwind for several years anyway. I think it’s a more difficult process to change than people think.”