The I-76ers

Sam Hinkie’s Draft Day Approach

Alex Len

(via AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

I covered yesterday how I thought Sam Hinkie’s history with the Houston Rockets should give some indication to how he’ll approached free agency this offseason. I am now turning my attention towards Hinkie’s possible strategies come draft day.

Here is a comprehensive list I’ve made up of every draft pick since Daryl Morey and Hinkie held office in Houston:

Hinkie/MoreyDraft

A few thoughts jump out at me from that:

1. They had an eye for international players. Regardless if these players came right to the league, waited a few years, or never came at all, Houston’s front office seemed to value having players from overseas as potential projects to develop in the NBA.

2. They made fantastic use of their 2nd round picks. Carl Landry is flourishing off the bench for the Golden State Warriors in their small ball lineups. They acquired the draft rights of Luis Scola, who was 2nd round pick years prior with the San Antonio Spurs. Scola was a fringe All-Star in his 5 years in Houston. Here are his per 36 minute stats while there:

Season Age Tm Lg FGA FG% FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK PTS
2007-08 27 HOU NBA 11.9 .515 4.2 .668 9.3 1.9 1.1 0.3 15.1
2008-09 28 HOU NBA 11.6 .531 3.7 .760 10.4 1.8 1.0 0.2 15.1
2009-10 29 HOU NBA 14.7 .514 3.6 .779 9.5 2.3 0.8 0.4 17.9
2010-11 30 HOU NBA 16.9 .504 4.3 .738 9.0 2.8 0.7 0.7 20.2
2011-12 31 HOU NBA 15.5 .491 3.4 .773 7.5 2.4 0.6 0.4 17.9
Career NBA 14.3 .504 3.8 .750 9.2 2.4 0.9 0.4 17.3
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/12/2013.
 

Chandler Parsons has evolved into a top 10 player at his position and is truly blossoming next to James Harden, putting up a line of 15.5/5.3/3.5 this season.

3. Morey and Hinkie seemed keen on stockpiling draft picks in order to use those assets in acquiring a superstar player, as they had five total 1st rounders in the last two drafts. That process ultimately proved fruitful for them, as they they were able to use Jeremy Lamb and other picks in a trade for Harden.

So what does this mean for Hinkie’s tenure in Philadelphia?

Well, I expect value picks in the 2nd round and for Sam to bring in his own scouting department to survey late-round talent. Holding two 2nd round picks this year (35th and 43th overall, respectively) puts the franchise into a decent position to find a hidden talent similar to Landry or Parsons.

With a new front office in place, Hinkie may lean towards cleaning house of numerous players that don’t fit the foundation he wants to set for the franchise. Players like Evan Turner or Spencer Hawes may be moved in order to acquire additional draft picks, as Houston had done previously.

I am also inclined to think that Hinkie will look to take someone from the international draft pool, whether it be someone like France’s Rudy Gobert or Ukraine’s Alex Len in the 1st round, or Spain’s Alex Abrines in the 2nd.

Speaking of their 1st round selection, I’ve looked at three different draft board rankings from Draft Express, ESPN, and CBS Sports to get an idea of what players should be available for the Sixers at the 11th pick. I figured a range between the 6th and 15th-ranked prospects would be wide enough to see a variety of the team’s options.

The last column represents the highest average draft position of a player ranked between 6th and 15th on any of the three sites.

NewImage

While each would be terrific fits on the wing, I unfortunately don’t see either Otto Porter or Victor Oladipo lasting until the Sixers’ pick.

Alex Len has suffered a partial stress fracture on his left ankle that requires surgery, so I’m tempted to think he may slide just enough for the 76ers to grab him. I’m sure another center with leg injuries is exactly what Sixers fans don’t want to hear, but the potential risk/reward that comes with international big men like Len is too intriguing for the Sixers to pass up. It’s the 11th pick in what’s “considered” to be a weak draft. They’re not grabbing the next Kevin Durant here, so why not try for someone who has a higher ceiling and is only falling in the draft due to one injury?

The NBA is evolving to the point where the traditional parameters of the center are no longer what they were in decades past. Bruising, back-to-the-basket players like Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal are no longer patrolling NBA courts. Centers like Chris Bosh, the Gasol brothers, and Al Horford have developed elite mid-range games and above-average passing skills, while affecting the outcomes of games different than those centers of yesteryear. Basically, they do all of the things Hawes attempts to do, but fails at.

The shift to the international-styled big man suggests Hinkie may go for Len if he’s available, or even Gobert, regardless if he’s two-three years away from coming to the NBA. Hinkie seems to prioritize long-term value over immediate impact. I’d be fine with either being taken 11th.

Hinkie has his work cut out for him. With any luck, this article will be naught and the Sixers will vault into the top 3 of the draft during the lottery next Tuesday, but again, this is the 76ers after all. I will have my trust firmly in Hinkie until I see Cody Zeller putting on a Sixers hat on June 27th.