Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sam Hinkie At The Trade Deadline, Or Tomorrow Never Comes

So for a club that most people didn't think was going to do much at the deadline... well, Philly was in all kinds of action again today. And the results will bolster both camps -- those who are all-in on In Hinkie We Trust, and those who are certain that the club is just playing a cheap shell game of perpetual horizon.

The big move was PG and last year's Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, going to Milwaukee for the Lakers' 2015 first round pick. That selection might wait for a while, as it's top-5 protected for this year, and top-3 in 2016 and 2017. But with so many teams pushing the reset button this year, and lottery luck being what it is, its not beyond the realm of possibility that the selection could come soon.

Is this enough for the stat filling goodness that is MCW? Well, only if you think that his jump shot is a perpetual minus, because so long as it is, Dub is just not going to cut it as an NBA starter. You can excuse the regression this year as what happens after off-season knee surgery, but when your glaring weakness gets worse, that's not a great sign for your long-term viability as a stud. And there's no winning in the NBA without a stud at 1.

The move that no one in town is going to have an issue with is trading the rights to G Cenk Akyol -- an asset that none with the possible exception of Hinkie knew was in the Sixers cupboard -- for C JaVale McGee, the Thunder's lottery protected 2015 first round pick, and the draft rights to C Chukwudiebere Maduabum, which is, I suspect, some inside joke perpetrated by the Nugget staff, in that can't be someone's real name. What this clearly was money (McGee's 2-year flaming turd of a contract) for a first rounder. Given how the Sixers' salary cap advantage is a use or lose experience with the NBA TV rights money going up, and OKC moved into 8th in the West after tonight's win against Dallas, this has immediate payoff written all over it.

Finally, the club got PG Isiah Canaan and a 2nd rounder -- the lesser of Denver and Minnesota, which should be solid -- for G KJ McDaniels. This is the move that some are going to question, in that KJ has huge hops and a taste for defense to go with a three-point stroke, but there have been rumors of unhappiness and the evidence that was his interest in only taking a one-year rookie deal after getting drafted last year. With the emergence of Robert Covington and Jerami Grant, and Hollis Thompson not looking terrible in the last couple of weeks, McDaniels was expendable. I've liked what I've seen from Canaan, and there is a crying need here for PGs, so maybe he sticks as a back up.

At the end of the day, the Sixers wind up with a real chance at remarkable control of the 2015 draft. With their own selection and the Lakers, they could easily have two of the top six picks. With the Miami and OKC picks, they could have two more in the top 20. You still have Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, the rights to Dario Saric, Covington, Grant and Canaan. They are going to have to hit hard on these picks, have Embiid come back big in 2016, and maybe lock down a second-tier free agent or two (personally, I'd go very hard for Chicago's Jimmy Butler or San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, and as today's deals showed, there are any number of possible PGs out there), because no NBA team ever wins with nothing but youth...

But honestly, Hinkie keeps racking up trade wins that have to, one suspects, start manifesting on the floor. For 50 games of Thad Young, he got back a first round pick, the second round turn and burn of Alexey Shved, and the increasingly useful play of Luc Mbah a Moute. In the Elfrid Payton / Dario Saric do-se-do, he seemingly got the guy he wanted in Saric, while hijacking another first rounder out of Orlando; it hasn't hurt at all that Payton looks like he can't shoot the ball into an ocean. Last year's Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner exits have shown wise as both guys now wander the NBA like the migrant farm workers they are. Grant's play has been highly encouraging, and so has Covington. And so on.

So while it's never terribly fun to trade for more and more nebulously beneficial draft picks -- and with the rights to 24 to 26 picks in the next six years, packaging for star moves is going to have to start happening soon, assuming the team doesn't want the D-League's first 100% draft pick club -- it's better than continuing to hope against hope that Carter-Williams will learn how to shoot, or that McDaniels would sign a deal to stay in a construction zone. The Sixers might not win more than 2 or 3 of their last 30 games this year, but it's never been about winning this year for this club.

Oh, and finally, there's this. The next 30 games, start any point guard against the Sixers in your daily fantasy league. That, and their games, are not going to be pretty. But it's not as if we're not used to this...


snd_dsgnr said...

I have three issues with the approach the Sixers have been taking.

1. I think there's a very strong possibility that Hinkie treating players as lines on a balance sheet will make it less likely that anyone will want to sign there in free agency, particularly once you consider that damn near everyone is going to have cap space when the cap jumps in a couple years.

2. At some point you kinda have to see some actual production from all these picks instead of just theoretical potential. So far Hinkie's come away with a ROY that he just gave up on, an unknown quantity in a Euro player, a rail thin big man who projects as an excellent defender but will likely be extremely limited on offense, and a big man who at the age of 20 has already had a stress fracture in his back and a foot fracture. That's kind of a mixed bag.

3. I just don't know that it's sound strategy to bet on the Lakers having bad luck, even if they have had a run of it lately. Given the charmed existence of that franchise, would you be shocked to see them get a top 5 pick this year, a top 3 pick next year, and be in the playoffs the year after? Because I wouldn't.

DMtShooter said...

Agreed on point one, which is why I want them to overpay hard for a Butler or Leonard now, when there's still pre-cap boom money to be spent.

Agreed on point two; Saric and Embiid are going to have to be very good, very soon.

Point three, disagree. The NBA has one glitzy franchise in LA already; it's the Clips. No need to stack the deck to get two.

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