Quotable: Sam Hinkie on the Sixers' 'Big Moment' and 'One Gut-Wrenching Phone Call'

Quotable: Sam Hinkie on the Sixers' 'Big Moment' and 'One Gut-Wrenching Phone Call'

After a pre-draft media blackout and one hell of a shakeup on Thursday night, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie finally sat down to address the media a little after 1 a.m. on Friday.

Hinkie prefaced by saying that he could not discuss certain specifics -- like the one topic everyone wants to talk about, the trade of Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel -- because the team's variety of draft-night deals have not yet been made official.

That said, Hinkie was able to speak on some matters in general, at least hint at Holiday in specific, and once again address Andrew Bynum, albeit without saying much on that final topic. Some notable Sam Hinkie quotes below...

On Michael Carter-Williams:

We can talk now about something I think we should be pretty excited about, and that's Michael Carter-Williams and what he could mean to a team in our situation and we could mean for our future.

He's a 21-year-old point guard with incredible size, with great passing instincts, with really, really impressive athleticism, and a guy who sees the floor and can get anywhere he wants to be on the floor. This is a player that, in time, we think we can really grow with and one we're obviously excited about.

On the draft-night shakeup:

There are also (in addition to Michael Carter-Williams) a number of other transactions, some of which you've heard about, most of which we can't say too much about until they're finalized with the league.

But I think this is a big moment in the sense that -- In some senses it should be a bit clarifying for where we stand and what's sort of gone on here and what we think needs to go here in the future. So we will take steps, like we've taken tonight, over and over and over. We will take steps to be really future-focused and to really try to build something special.

I meant that when I said that -- the last time you saw me, apparently -- I mean that when I said the ownership here and the people in this organization have a real commitment to build something lasting and to build something big. And sometimes that requires taking risks, often it requires doing things differently -- a little differently here or there, or a lot differently here and there -- and I think you've seen some of that play out tonight.

I think tonight is sort of a summation of the kinds we'll have to do moving forward.

Hinting at parting with Jrue when asked if the night went better than he expected:

Challenging night in many ways ... with one gut-wrenching phone call. All in all though, I think the right thing to do. I think the right thing to do.

Have the Sixers hired a coach?

I heard some rumors tonight. It was busy tonight. Nothing of that substance happened, I can tell you. We had a lot of things going on. That is not part of what happened in the last several hours.

In specific, has Brett Brown been hired, as reported?

Not true. Not true. Not true.

On bringing it "down a notch" (a polite way to refer to tanking) next year in the interest of a achieving long-term goal:

I think [having] the end is mind is really important about where it is we want to go and how we think about bringing talent into the team, bringing latent talent out in our own players or bringing sometimes a different set of players together. I'm comfortable with both of those.

I think everyone wants the same thing. All of players, all of coaches, when it's all in place, we all want the same thing. We all want to win and we want to build something we can be proud of.

And finally, have the Sixers had any contact with Andrew Bynum or his agent?

Ah, good question. We haven't had a whole lot of contact. There's been a whole lot of work behind the scenes. I think we'll be open-minded and respectful. Andrew is a free agent and one we'll have some discussions with. And we'll sort of see where it goes.

Hinkie vids:

Sixers-Celtics 5 things: Slowing down Isaiah Thomas

Sixers-Celtics 5 things: Slowing down Isaiah Thomas

The Sixers (4-15) continue their homestand against the Boston Celtics (11-8) at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night (7:30 p.m./CSN and CSNPhilly.com).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup.

1. A green giant-sized challenge
Just crumple it up and move on.

That's about the only thing the Sixers can do after getting ran out of the gym by the Orlando Magic on Friday. Instead of looking like a team that hadn't played since Monday, the Sixers appeared flat in a 105-88 loss.

Outside of Joel Embiid's first 20-point, 10-rebound game (he had 25 points and 10 boards) and a strong effort from Jahlil Okafor (16 points and 13 rebounds), not much else went right for the Sixers.

Now Embiid will sit the second game of a back-to-back set and Okafor will be thrust into the starting lineup, as the Sixers try to deal with Boston big man Al Horford. 

Horford, the Celtics' prized free-agent acquisition, is coming off his best game so far for his new team. He recorded 26 points, eight rebounds and six blocks in the Celtics' 97-92 win over the Kings on Friday.

2. Little big man
Even with Horford coming off a productive performance, the Sixers' game plan against the Celtics has to focus on slowing down Isaiah Thomas.

The 5-foot-9 guard continues to put up big numbers in the scoring department. Despite his shooting percentages taking a dip this season, Thomas still ranks ninth in the NBA with a career-high 25.7 points per game. 

And even though he is a willing passer (averaging a career-high-tying 6.3 assists), expect Thomas to try and score early and often against the Sixers. After all, the reserve-turned-All-Star has put up 21.5 points per game against the Sixers during his career, his highest mark against any opponent.

3. Dial up the long-distance defense
The Sixers need to be aware of Thomas and just about all of his teammates when they toe that three-point line.

The Celtics rank fifth in the league in three-pointers attempted (31.1), three-pointers made (11.3) and eighth in three-point percentage (36.3) per game.

The C's have four players shooting above 40 percent from beyond the arc, and perhaps a bit surprising, three of them are big men. Jonas Jerebko (46.4 percent), Horford (42.4 percent) and Amir Johnson (40.0 percent) have all been on target from long range.

4. Injuries
Robert Covington (knee) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are both questionable. Embiid (rest), Nerlens Noel (knee) and Ben Simmons (foot) are out for the Sixers.

The Celtics have no players listed on the injury report.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost five games in a row overall and eight straight to the Celtics.

• The Celtics rank 25th in rebounding with 42.2 a night.

• Dario Saric had two points Friday against the Magic and has failed to reach double digits in scoring five of his last six games.

Worst loss of the year for excuse-less Sixers against Magic

Worst loss of the year for excuse-less Sixers against Magic

Another new feeling for the rebuilding Sixers: The bad loss with no excuse. For at least one and possibly multiple seasons, there was no real such thing as an inexcusable L, because they were so never the favorite going into any game that their excuse could almost always be "the other team was better." But four wins and one transcendent player into this season, the Ballers actually do need an excuse for dropping a home game against a subpar team by double digits. And if they had one last night in their 105-88 loss to the Orlando Magic, they weren't telling the rest of us.

Really, this game couldn't have been teed up much better for Philly: We were home, well-rested after Wednesday's weird-ass cancellation, against a 7-12 team we nearly beat early in the season, who were on the second night of a back-to-back after ceding a tough one to the Grizzlies -- and we had Joel Embiid for up to 28 minutes. If this one was to be a laugher by early in the fourth quarter, you'd almost have to assume that it'd been the Sixers who put it to bed early. 

Instead, the Sixers slumped horribly from the field in the first quarter, missing bunny after bunny and plenty of open jumpers, as they dug themselves a hole they were never quite able to climb out of. Philly kept it manageable and D.J. Augustin and Nik Vucevic caught fire for Orlando in the third quarter, and the game was suddenly in Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot territory before we could even process what was happening. 

Of course, you can't blame Embiid for this one. Though JoJo was a little out of sorts defensively on this one -- and personally, I really wish he'd stop trapping five feet outside the arc, it may cause panic in the Magic's ball-handlers but it really seems to compromise our own half-court D -- he still finished with a resounding 25-10-4 with three triples, and for the first time in his young career, 0 turnovers. (I coulda swore I saw at least one, but so says the box score, anyway.) Just another game for the Process, though the Sixers (for some reason) needed him to be immaculate last night, and he was merely phenomenal. 

Less phenomenal were the rest of the Sixers' shooters. Our bench in particular was absolutely putrid, going a combined 0-12 from three, with Nik Stauskas's streak of consecutive games with a three snapped at 15 after his scoreless, 0-6 performance. (Five assists for Sauce, at least.) Jahlil posted a dominant stat line of 16 and 13 (on 8-10 shooting) but was again hapless on defense, ending a team-worst -19 for the night. And Dario Saric's slumping continued with a 1-5 shooting outing with no rebounds or assists, likely his worst game of the season. 

It was a surprisingly listless effort from a team that should have looked much sharper, and the most positive non-Joel-related thing to be said about it is that it's (sort of) nice to finally have expectations high enough to have them let down. It'll be a lot harder for Philly to let down tonight against the Celtics, without JoJo, against a pretty good and mostly healthy Boston team. But that's five losses in a row already for the improving Sixers, and it'd be nice to cut off that streak soon, before it starts threatening double digits -- we could certainly do with being done with those for the forseeable future.