The Philadelphia 76ers are entering the first season in the post-Sam Hinkie era, but with his fingerprints all over the place, including Joel Embiid, bound to finally make his debut, and an abundance of big men, and the inevitability of at least one trade.
Hinkie resigned after a few years of tanking and “the process”, a divisive period and move from him, as a reaction to the front office beginning to cut into his regime. Whether they wanted to or not, or were forced by Adam Silver and other NBA owners to do so; it’s probably a matter of opinion, unless we know more. However, the Sixers right now are an interesting situation: They fail, and it could be blamed on both Hinkie or the new regime with Bryan Colangelo. They succeed, it can also go both ways in terms of taking credit.
The two most intriguing players for the Sixers are Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Both rookies, only Embiid was a 2014 draft pick, sidelines for two years because of injuries. Now he’s healthy, and showing off on Instagram videos how big and good he is at the moment, ready to make up for lost time. He’s also a big fan of Hinkie, at least from his Instagram posts, which makes it interesting to consider how the front office views his opinion.
Simmons is the number one overall pick, a big man who plays more like a point guard. He has fantastic passing skills, but is lacking in a lot of other ways. The Sixers now have Embiid, Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel and another rookie, Dario Saric, along with veteran players like Carl Landry, on their big man roster. While it is interesting to try and figure out how everyone fits into this, trading one or two of them seems like the smart way to go.
A photo posted by Joel Hans Embiid (@joelembiid) on
Suggesting Simmons, Embiid and Saric are off the trading block, it comes down to Okafor and Noel. Okafor had a rough rookie season, but he can score, and if off the court issues become a thing of the past, he has a shot at becoming one of the better offensive big men in the NBA, although his defense certainly needs a lot of work. Noel is a much better defensive player, but his offensive limitations scream to the heavens, and trading him might be the best way to start defining the big man hierarchy on this team.
Any kind of movement forward (more wins, in short) would be considered good development for the Sixers. This team is still not built to win now, although it seems to have a lot of pieces positioned to make it succeed after this year, if they hold on to the right ones and let go of those with some value but of no use in the long run. The preseason hype suggests Embiid, if he can stay healthy in the future, will be a big part in this success.