The Philadelphia 76ers have made their first of what will be many moves towards rebuilding this offseason as they have hired Houston Rockets executive Sam Hinkie to become their new general manager and president of basketball operations, according to ESPN.
Hinkie comes over from a Rockets franchise where he worked under general manager Daryl Morey. Morey is known around the league to use more analytics in his decision making than most, if not all other GMs. If Hinkie is given the power to bring over the same sort of strategy in Philadelphia, ownership made the absolute right decision in hiring him.
Basketball has turned into a game of numbers, just like baseball. Not everyone can have their own LeBron James; so you have to minimize your mistakes when it comes to draft picks and free agency. The best way to do that is by looking at advanced statistics to see who gives your team the best chance of winning.
The best thing this hire does is take away the power from the former regime that led the Sixers to a 34-48 record last year: head coach Doug Collins, GM Tony DiLeo and President and former GM Rod Thorn. It was time for a new face and a new voice in Philly, one that can get this team on the right track.
The Rockets had their best season under the analytics era this year. They went 45-37 and pushed the Oklahoma City Thunder to six games in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The key to this year was some great offseason moves. They traded for James Harden, who became one of the top five players in the league. They signed Omer Asik, who ended up averaging a double-double this year. And they brought in role players that fit their needs such as Jeremy Lin (ball-handler) and Carlos Delfino (shooter off the bench) on reasonable contracts.
Now by no means do the 76ers have anyone close to James Harden on their roster, but they do have a talented group of young players. Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes are all coming off pretty good seasons. The 76ers have a lottery pick, cap space (depending on what they decide to do with Andrew Bynum) and they need a new head coach. I have no idea what decisions Hinkie will make when it comes to these instances, but I have no doubt in my mind he will be smart in making those decisions. He will not just look at points as a measure; he will examine efficiency and other advanced statistics to help build a winning franchise. He won’t just resign Bynum to please the fan base; he will do so if it is a good investment that will produce a return in the future.
This was a great hire for the 76ers and should serve as a building block towards putting the right coach and players together to start to build some success. Now, they just need a coach and a roster to go along with it.