The 76ers crunched the numbers and decided to put the franchise
in the hands of an analytics guru.
A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press
the Sixers have hired Sam Hinkie as team president and general
manager. The person spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because
the deal was not expected to become official until next week.
Hinkie, the executive vice president of basketball operations
for the Houston Rockets, was the top choice by owner Joshua Harris
to oversee the rebuilding of the beleaguered franchise.
Hinkie is an analytics disciple and spoke in March at the MIT
Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. His conference bio listed him as
an ”original contributor to the leading sports analytics
conference held annually at MIT.”
The Rockets became the first NBA team to manage the basketball
operations of its D-League team. Likely as a sign of what’s ahead,
the 76ers last month acquired a team to compete in the NBA’s
developmental league in Delaware.
Hinkie must now hire a coach after Doug Collins resigned
following three seasons. Collins and former Rod Thorn are
officially consultants for the team, but are now in the background
of a major reconstruction project that Harris, Hinkie and a new
coach will tackle.
Tony DiLeo is out after one full season as Sixers general
manager. DiLeo, who completed his 23rd season with the Sixers, had
been working as senior vice president before his promotion. He had
a brief stint as an assistant in the early 1990s, and took over as
interim coach in December 2008 after Maurice Cheeks was fired.
DiLeo was widely credited – and now blamed – for orchestrating
the botched deal for center Andrew Bynum. DiLeo did not immediately
return a request for comment.
Philadelphia went to the playoffs in Collins’ first two seasons,
and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. But
with Bynum injured all season, the 76ers stumbled to a 34-48 finish
Bynum never played for the Sixers because of bone bruises in
both knees. He insisted from training camp he would play this
season, only to shut it down for good on March 18 and undergo
season-ending arthroscopic surgery on both knees. Bynum earned
$16.5 million this season and is set to become an unrestricted free
Bynum is one of six free agents for the Sixers, who are devoid
of any real assets. Jrue Holiday was an All-Star in his third full
season and joined Wilt Chamberlain as the two players in the
franchise’s 50-year history to average more than 17 points and
eight assists for an entire season.
Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner are solid assets. But those two
standouts – along with Holiday – weren’t enough to help lead the
Sixers back to the postseason.
In a preview of the looming shakeup, the Sixers hired Aaron
Barzilai as their analytics director in November. He is the founder
of BasketballValue.com, a website which presents adjusted and
unadjusted plus/minus ratings for players and units to illustrate
the impact a player has on the court as well as on a team’s
offensive and defensive efficiency. He also has contributed content