The most valuable member of the Philadelphia 76ers is not a player. He’s not even a coach. It’s GM Sam Hinkie.
Hinkie’s analytics-driven approach is paying off as the Sixers are proving themselves to the rest of the NBA with their 3-0 record. The Sixers’ hiring of Hinkie appears to be working so far and may change the course of the NBA until either the economy improves or this analytics-driven formula starts failing.
For those scratching their heads as to why the economy plays a factor: it’s tightening the league’s payrolls since the majority of the U.S. population doesn’t have the funds to splurge on games or even make purchases on NBA gear. That one big factor also has teams adjusting their strategy from one of throwing money at big-named free agents to one of getting as much bang for their buck from mid-level or untapped talent.
The Sixers have one of the lowest payrolls in the league, but has fully utilized their resources in building a franchise destined for success. They are also proving doubters wrong while playing role of underdog. Teams will eventually realize that this Sixers team won’t go down lightly despite having a D-League roster, so the winning streak could be a message sent to everyone that championships are not bought, but earned.
The Sixers are playing the role of Rocky Balboa and have used the underdog card as inspiration to pull out three surprising wins. The first win could be deemed a fluke as the Miami Heat played a tough game against the Chicago Bulls the night before while missing superstar guard Dwyane Wade, but the other two are proving that the Sixers might be serious this season.
They had two come back wins against the Washington Wizards and the Bulls. The Bulls game was a stunner considering Derrick Rose was in the lineup. One of the biggest keys to these wins has been rookie Michael Carter-Williams‘ ability to shut down opponents’ guards. He had a double-double, 26 points and 10 assists while shooting 45-percent from the field in the win against the Bulls last night.
Aside from Carter-Williams’ impressive start, coach Brett Brown has given his players the freedom on the offensive end. His style has allowed everyone to thrive off their abilities, while improving chemistry. He’s also giving every available player on the roster decent playing time, while cutting the risk of injury to the starters.
Guard Tony Wroten is a perfect example of a player who has been utilized correctly. Wroten is averaging 11.7 points and a steal per game in 21.7 minutes this season. The Sixers have tough games ahead, including the improved Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and undefeated Houston Rockets. A win against a healthy Rockets team will solidify the Sixers this season.