The NBA draft lottery was Wednesday in New York City. Sixers managing owner Josh Harris and CEO Adam Aron were on hand hoping the team would move up from their 11th spot in the draft.
Unfortunately, they did not.
The Good Morning America studio was crowded with media members and various NBA executives from all the represented teams, but noticeably missing was new Sixers president and general manager Sam Hinkie.
Where, oh where, could Hinkie have been?
I have a hunch. Perhaps Hinkie was paying a visit to Indianapolis, a short trip from Chicago, where he spent the weekend watching the draft Combine. Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw was helping his team prepare for the Eastern Conference Finals - but Shaw is a wanted man in the industry right now. Finding time to have a conversation with him is crucial, given that there are five known NBA head-coaching vacancies.
If Hinkie could talk to Shaw early, he could either get an inside track on hiring the coveted assistant coach, who is looking for his first head-coaching position, or learn that the Sixers and Shaw are not the right fit, and move on with his search. That would be much more valuable than mingling with colleagues at the lottery.
Three years ago, the Chicago Bulls were looking for a head coach to succeed the fired Vinny Del Negro. They wanted a candidate with experience who suited their personnel. They hired a guy who had plenty of experience as an NBA assistant, but none as a head coach. And yes, Tom Thibodeau has proven to suit Chicago’s personnel.
What is interesting to recall is that Thibodeau was an assistant coach with the Celtics team that advanced to the NBA Finals, losing in seven games to the Los Angeles Lakers that year. He was working into late June for Boston, but on the night before those Finals started, Bulls management flew to Los Angeles to interview him about their vacant coaching position.
Four days later word got out that Thibodeau had been hired. It was not until the Finals ended the announcement was made official.
Hinkie was not home watching the lottery on TV. He was doing something pertinent to his job that prevented him from rubbing elbows and having face-to-face conversations with his peers and the commissioner.