Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey on Sam Hinkie: I Wanted to Take Hits for Him

Sam Hinkie will forever be a folk hero in Philadelphia. Whether the moves he made will put the Sixers in position to win an NBA Championship sooner than later is still up for debate, but there’s one truth to all of this: He practically gave us the first overall pick in this year’s draft.

Some might think this year’s crop of talent is thin, but the Sixers already have Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel [at least right now, as either Okafor or Noel has been rumored to be traded this offseason]. Embiid is projected to be a star on the court if he can stay healthy, and if the team can surround him with Ben Simmons, Okafor and/or Noel, they’ll be in a good position to become a contender in the Eastern Conference before long.

But Hinkie faced a lot of hate from media people, some fans and even his bosses. They wanted to bring in Bryan Colangelo to “work with” Hinkie, but the former Sixers general manager didn’t fall for that, ultimately resigning after seeing the writing on the wall. And his former friend with the Rockets, Daryl Morey, joined The Vertical Podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski recently and discussed Hinkie’s legacy in Philly, saying he wanted to “take hits for him.”

I wanted to take hits for him.

The reality is, when he took over Philly, he took the approach that was best for the franchise at that time in his judgment, which was that the best way for them to get to be a title contender, given the roster where they were at, was to take a pretty strong dip into the top five of the draft. That has more of a history of success in terms of building a championship contender.

Unfortunately, because of that, they took themselves out of free agency. That’s going to make a lot of agents upset. They took themselves out of trades that were upgrading the franchise. That’s going to upset people who feel like they’re just sort of taking advantage of the rules of the league that you get high picks if you’re terrible.

And the lottery sort of encourages you to get even worse than anyone needs to, which is why Commissioner [Adam] Silver was looking at reform or wanted reform to pass.

[Hinkie is] very good at what he does. Because of the path they took, I think it ends up being the case where he ended up upsetting a lot of folks – agents, important people around the league. And you know, unfortunately, I think that’s what got him.

Morey’s absolutely correct. That was the only way for the Sixers to rebuild. They’d been mired in mediocrity for years upon years and nothing came of it. People like to point at the Sixers’ run in 2012 when they beat the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs as an eighth seed and then took the Boston Celtics to seven games. But, the fact of the matter is that was fool’s gold. That was a once in a lifetime run. Honestly, the Sixers should have beaten down an old run-down Celtics team, but they couldn’t. They only beat the Bulls because Derrick Rose got hurt. Again.

The Sixers will miss Hinkie. I don’t know if Colangelo is the better answer at this point, but he damn sure better be if Sixers ownership wants to truly give this city another championship soon. And, if they do, the Sixers and Sixers fans owe it to Hinkie.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

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