By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Imagine you have a plan to accomplish a goal, and you write it down. You write down your entire plan of attack.
The plan can be for anything at all. A plan to get a promotion at work, to build a house, to make a meal, anything. At first, and this is if it’s a good plan, you have a clear, concise series of steps to accomplish the goal.
As you move forward with the plan, often times things change. You have to cross out some steps, add a few more, and so on, and so on. After a while, if there are enough changes, you look down at the plan and you can’t even see the original steps. All you see are a bunch of scribbling and scratches. Your original plan has been revised so many times that you can’t even recognize it.
At this point, the best plan of action is to rip up the piece of paper with your original plan on it, and start with a blank one. Build a new plan from scratch.
That is what Sam Hinkie and the Philadelphia 76ers did yesterday, and I support it with every ounce of my basketball being. For years, we’ve been begging the team to get out of the middle, out of basketball purgatory. To either make a move to become a champion, or make a move to get to the bottom so you can build. Last year, they made a last gasp at saving the original plan by trading for Andrew Bynum to get to the top. It didn’t work, so they decided to go to the bottom.
They’re going to do it with assets and flexibility. They are going to do it with two lottery picks this year, and most likely two lottery picks next year. They are going to do it with some expiring contracts, and a lot of low-cost rookie deals. They’re going to do it with a player who many believed was the best player in this year’s draft in Nerlens Noel. They’re going to do it with a point guard with size and a desire to defend in Michael Carter Williams.
The Sixers will be lousy next year. Really lousy. Unbelievably lousy. They will play in front of very few fans. But they will be young, and they will be growing, and they will be flexible. They will be putting themselves in a position for a great draft pick in what promises to be a great 2014 draft.
Jrue Holiday is a very good player, and is only getting better. I will miss seeing him play. But it is clear that he was the only valuable asset they had to accomplish their goal to rebuild. He is not a guy you build around, but rather a guy you build with. He will be valuable in New Orleans, but his success there should not be a reason to pan this trade.
Is it certain that this will work out the right way for the Sixers? Absolutely not. The draft is an inexact science, as even superstars can be, as the Lakers showed last year. But it is the right process. Sam Hinkie believes in the process, and if you believe in the process, and continue to believe in the process, you’ve got to hope eventually it will turn out the right way.
Sam Hinkie has been quiet publicly for the last six weeks, but it is quite clear he’s been very busy. He helped build a team and a plan in Houston with the Rockets, and now he’s doing it for the Sixers.
We’ve been wondering what Hinkie has been up to for the last six weeks. Last night, without saying a word, he gave us an answer.
He’s been ripping up a plan and writing a new one.