September 18, 2016, 11:18 am
One Big Thing: The limits of patience
So Sam Hinkie has penned his latest manifesto, this time on Twitter. He talks about his life after basketball, though it’ll probably end up being life between basketball if we’re being honest; he should find his way back into a front office before too long.
Basically he’s chilling in Palo Alto, taking a sort of ‘gap year’ that some kids take after college. Except, you know, with lots of disposable income and whatnot. Semantics aside, he’ll be talking (which I assume is teaching for people afraid of commitment) at Stanford and snowboarding, watching basketball and just soaking up some knowledge. Those all sound like valuable pursuits to me, and I don’t even snowboard.
The Hinkie tenure will stand as the most obvious symbol of an (allegedly, depending on how old school your content source usually is) overly-analytical approach but should stand the test of time as an unwavering commitment to a plan. To pin his downfall on analytics is foolish because that’s no longer the war being waged and to have ever framed it as Old School vs. New School was a mistake. In actuality the battle is between those who choose to consider all available information and those who don’t. But I digress.
Philadelphia is undoubtedly better off now than when they were when he came to town but some questions remain. On a large scale, was Philadelphia right to tire of the tank and did they wait long enough to see results?
That depends on some smaller questions. Firstly, was his tanking strategy correct?
I think it was. Lots of virtual ink has been spilled about the deadly treadmill; too good to tank, too bad to contend. The Sixers were decidedly not stuck in limbo.
Trying to compete when you just aren’t good enough is essentially digging your own grave. It’s how you wind up trading for Derrick Rose. Or like when Toronto traded for Rudy Gay- there’s Mr. Colangelo with an early appearance.
There’s a school of thought, usually among dumb adolescent kids, that the best way to preoccupy someone from pain is simply to hurt them in another spot. If your left arm hurt, for example, the proper course of action would be to get punched really hard in the right arm. Sam Hinkie is the guy that punches your other arm while ripping off a band-aid quickly. Philadelphia’s decline was swift and deliberate. It was also the right call.
They might have too much young talent in the frontcourt (if such a thing as ‘too much young talent’ exists), but there are some incredibly valuable building blocks in place for the next guy. To be fair, you won’t, or at least you shouldn’t, find many people who were opposed to the tanking.
The proper question might be if Hinkie was the right guy to get it done. In essence, with an assignment so simple, could anyone have pulled this off?
There are some shades of gray here but Hinkie should get some credit. Just about anyone could lose games with purpose but it seems like Hinkie is cut from the right cloth to tank so ruthlessly.
Credit Hinkie for flipping assets quickly and decisively. Reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams was traded halfway through his sophomore campaign when it became clear he didn’t fit management’s vision. Promising athlete KJ McDaniels was traded to Houston for Isaiah Canaan and a pick. In case you’ve been ignoring Philadelphia entirely over the past few years, assume every deal nets the 76ers a draft pick. Evan Turner, Thad Young, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen also were shipped out for picks and lesser players.
The constant roster turnover has served two masters by ensuring that Philadelphia wouldn’t win much whil also unearthing useful players like Robert Covington. Covington’s shot selection seems to support analytic-driven hypotheses on the surface and he’s turned out to be a real player. While another manager might have discovered RoCo, Hinkie’s willingness to run a team of complete and total unknowns did set him up to find diamonds in the rough at a higher clip than usual.
So, yes and no. Most management teams can execute a tank but few will yield as much fruit as Hinkie. I’ll lean towards yes but some of that credit should go to the team’s basketball ops and scouting departments. Whether or not you think Hinkie was the right man for the job the question then becomes if Philadelphia (with some pressure for Adam Silver, apparently) exercised enough patience before dispatching their GM.
Did Philly pull the trigger too early? I would say they did, but then again pretty much anyone can say they weren’t given enough time to accrue elite talent through the draft. It’s easy to say ‘I didn’t have the time’ when the plan is to lose so much that a game-breaking talent falls in your lap in the draft.
Sunk cost fallacy be damned, it seems a shame to commit so heavily to The Process and then bailing when things are looking up.
The Hinkie tenure will be fun to look back on in time simply because Philadelphia has, rightly or wrongly, emerged as this petri dish for tanking and data-driven basketball. The strategy itself probably doesn’t deserve to be lauded, but you have to respect and admire the tenacity of execution.
So while they bailed too soon, this whole scenario is about knowing when to cut the cord. In a high pressure business, it’s tough to remain patient. Doubly so when the plan you’re following comes with a built in excuse.
Only time will tell if Jerry Colangelo and the Phildelphia 76ers were patient enough.
January 27, 2020, 1:16 pmRichaun HolmesPF, Sacramento Kings
Richaun Holmes (right shoulder strain) will miss his 9th consecutive game on Monday against the Wolves.
We haven't gotten much of an update on Holmes' condition since he came down with a shoulder sprain. We've received vague reports about his potential availability this week and that still seems like a possibility despite tonight's absence. In his stead, Dewayne Dedmon and Harry Giles will need to step up, but neither are in consideration in standard leagues.
Source: NBA Injury Report
January 27, 2020, 11:22 amGrayson AllenSG, Memphis Grizzlies
Grayson Allen (left hip soreness) has been ruled out indefinitely.
Allen has improved as a shooter this year, but has been sidelines with both ankle and hip injuries for the majority of the season. The youth movement has continued with out him. He's off the fantasy radar.
Source: Chris Herrington on Twitter
January 27, 2020, 11:20 amLauri MarkkanenPF, Chicago Bulls
Lauri Markkanen (right hip stress reaction) shared that his hip had only recently begun to bother him before being shut down for over a month.
This can be interpreted in two ways. One could understand the fact that Markkanen thought the hip problem was just "normal soreness" as positive, since it's unrelated to issues he's had with his oblique, elbow and ankle this season. On the other hand, this might just be further proof of just how brittle Markkanen has been throughout his young career, averaging about 24 missed games per season if this newest timetable holds true. Thaddeus Young has held top-30 value in his absence and is the type of pick-up that could propel you into the postseason.
Source: The Athletic
January 27, 2020, 11:13 amMalik MonkSG, Charlotte Hornets
Malik Monk expressed surprise at his name popping up in trade rumors and shared his commitment to the Hornets.
Monk was responding to a report about the Knicks being interested in trading for him. He responded with the typical, cookie-cutter non-answer. Monk has been playing his best basketball as of late, emerging as a spark plug off the bench, and the truth is that Charlotte should probably be testing the market to see what they can get for the inconsistent 21-year-old. Monk's not a stash per se, given that he's not likely to start wherever he gets traded, but he'd be a speculative add if trade rumors prove true.
Source: The Athletic
January 27, 2020, 11:08 amWillie Cauley-SteinC, Dallas Mavericks
Willie Cauley-Stein has yet to practice with the Mavericks and is uncertain to play on Monday against the Thunder, according to Rick Carlisle.
The report continues to say that Cauley-Stein may not be activated in time for Tuesday's game either. We're not sure why WCS' Mavs debut has to be delayed. In the piece, Carlisle describes him as a "rim-protector" and "rim-roller," two roles to which additional practice time would not necessarily contribute one way or the other. In any case, if you picked up the Mavs big man hoping for four games this week, you'll likely get less than a full slate of games from him.
Source: Dallas News
January 26, 2020, 11:32 pmDamian LillardPG, Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard was unstoppable while leading the Blazers to a 139-129 victory over the Pacers on Sunday, totaling 50 points (14-of-23 FG, 14-of-16 FT), 13 assists, six rebounds, eight 3-pointers and one steal.
This will go down as one of the best fantasy lines of the entire season. Lillard has gone for 61, 47 and now 50 points over his last three games. Despite C.J. McCollum returning to help lighten his load, Lillard still dominated over 38 minutes. He just keeps getting better, and if he can do this all season he is going to be in the conversation for a top-5 selection next year.
January 26, 2020, 11:31 pmJeremy LambSG, Indiana Pacers
Jeremy Lamb woke up from his recent stupor of mediocrity in Sunday's loss to the Blazers, notching a team-high 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting and a full line.
Lamb rounded out his line for the night with two rebounds, one assist, two 3s, two steals and one block. He combined for 31 points over the last four games prior to tonight's gem. After this rampage on the stat sheet, you can consider his buy-low window officially slammed shut.
January 26, 2020, 11:27 pmHassan WhitesideC, Portland Trail Blazers
Hassan Whiteside was fantastic vs. the Pacers on Sunday, registering 21 points (9-of-11 FG), 14 rebounds and six blocks.
This was a high scoring affair, and it will be interesting to see if Whiteside can continue averaging 15 points a game alongside a fully healthy roster now that C.J. McCollum returned to the lineup. Either way, Whiteside is indispensable as long as Jusuf Nurkic (leg) remains out. Until Nurkic is back in action Whiteside is going to keep beasting with early-round value.
January 26, 2020, 11:26 pmDomantas SabonisC, Indiana Pacers
Domantas Sabonis dropped a huge line in Sunday's loss to the Blazers, erupting for 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting with 14 rebounds, 11 dimes and one blocked shot.
Sabonis is a beast and that beast was unleashed tonight in the absence of Myles Turner (illness). While his line was not enough to carry his Pacers to victory, the stats he put up in the box score were huge in the fantasy arena.
January 26, 2020, 11:23 pmDoug McDermottSF, Indiana Pacers
Doug McDermott caught fire for the Pacers on Sunday night, making six triples en route to a 19-point performance on 7-of-11 shooting with one rebound and one assist.
Streaky 3-point shooting specialists like McDermott are almost always worth riding out until their hot streak ends. He's making it rain over his last couple of games, so keep rocking him for a boost in that specific category.