It was the end of the 2012-2013 season, and Head Coach Doug Collins had just resigned to spend more time with his family. Collins left behind a 34-48 team in his final year. The year before, Collins lead the team to a 35-31 record, lockout season, and the eight seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Shockingly, the team won a series against the number seeded Chicago Bulls, and took the Boston Celtics to seven games before being eliminated.
So, the 2012-2013 season was heralded with big expectations, and they got bigger when the Sixers involved themselves in a four team trade centered around Dwight Howard. Essentially, the Sixers received Andrew Bynum, formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Lakers received Howard, formerly of the Orlando Magic, and the Denver Nuggets received Andre Iguodala, formerly of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Also, the Magic received a slew of players, most notably Arron Afflalo, and also received protected first round picks from the other three teams involved in the trade, according to CBS.
However, Bynum never played a second for the Sixers, because of a “bowling accident”. The following year, Brent Brown took over for Collins, and Sam Hinkie becomes the General Manager. Hinkie stepped down in the middle of the 2015-2016 season, but that wasn’t before he started what people now know as “the process”.
In addition, the process is nearing its end coming into the 2017-2018 season, in lieu of his firing. During his short time, Hinkie maneuvered various trades, not focusing on the on the court product, to perpetually draft in the top five. In fact, Hinkie wasted no time starting the process, trading All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday during the 2013 NBA Draft to the New Orleans Pelicans for a protected top 5 pick 2014 draft pick, and Nerlens Noel.
The move wasn’t well received at the time, but Holiday, 27, would’ve been exiting his prime by the time the Sixers ended the process. During the draft, Hinkie would draft Michael-Carter Williams, the rookie of the year. However, during the season the team tied the record for longest losing streak.
Interestingly enough, fans became weary Hinkie was losing on purpose, and had their suspicions all but confirmed when Hinkie traded Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen, and Thaddeus Young during the season. Remember, part of the process involved maneuvering trades to obtain high draft picks, not just losing on purpose. In return for the trades, Hinkie received a 2015 protected top 10 draft pick, and five second round draft picks.
So, the Sixers finished 19-63 during the 2013-2014 season. Because of the Holiday trade, the Sixers had two first round picks in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Sixers selected Joel Embiid with the number three pick, and Elfrid Payton with the 10th pick. However, Payton was immediately shipped to the Orlando Magic for essentially Dario Saric, and another future first round pick. And, the 2014-2015 Sixers got statically worse, finishing 18-64.
But, Hinkie showcased his wherewithal during the season, signing Robert Covington to a four year contract. Covington was selected as a participant for the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge. However, fans overlooked the move as they did the year before when Hinkie received a 2015 protected top 10 draft pick for trading Thaddeus Young. The Covington signing was overshadowed when Hinkie traded Carter-Williams. However, Hinkie received the Lakers 2017 first round pick.
During the 2015 NBA Draft, the Sixers selected Jahlil Okafor with the number three pick. At the end of the season, Hinkie completed a trade with the Sacremento Kings where he gave up a 2019 first round pick, but obtained the right swap to first round picks with the Kings during the respective 2016 and 2017 NBA Drafts. This trade was pivotal, and I’ll explain a minute. During the 2015-2016 season, Hinkie resigned as General Manager, but the process continued.
Surprisingly, the process was expedited once Hinkie resigned, but his 10-72 record he left behind in his final season helped. The Sixers finally received the first overall pick, and selected Ben Simmons. In addition, they selected Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot and Furkan Korkmaz with the 24th and 26th picks, respectively. Without Hinkie, the Sixers finished 28-54 during the 2016-2017 season.
Remember, Hinkie’s trade with the Kings obtained the right swap to first round picks with the Kings during the respective 2016 and 2017 NBA Drafts. Because of the trade, the Sixers were able to swap first round picks with the Kings. The Sixers reportedly jumped to the number three pick again, but traded with the Boston Celtics to obtain the first overall pick for a second year in a row. The Sixers are expected to draft Markelle Fultz, 19, from the University of Washington.
Because of Hinkie’s tenure, the Sixers acquired the following notable names: Embiid, Okafor, Simmons, Covington, Korkmaz, and Luwawu-Cabarrot. Korkmaz is a wildcard, as he opted to stay in Turkey after being drafted, and Cabarrot’s in the Developmental league as of right now. But, a potential nucleus of Embiid, Simmons, Covington, and Fultz is on the horizon. Every player is 23 or younger, except Covington who’s 26.
While Okafor hasn’t panned out, the process is poised to end after the 2017 Draft, if Fultz is the pick, as the Sixers will have four potential stars in their starting lineup. The team must evaluate the potential, and not lose on purpose. However, critics aren’t sold on the process as a viable way of bettering your team. During Hinkie’s tenure, the team made four first draft selections, and he was responsible for obtaining the three selections this past year, so seven total.
As of June 2017, the Sixers have three potential star players to show for it, as Covington was a free agent signing. So, it’s arguable whether the process is responsible for the Sixer’s current state, or if it was the amount of picks they had. Hitting on two out of seven selections is just under 30 percent.
Time will be our judge