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:

Instant Replay: Knicks 110, Sixers 109

Instant Replay: Knicks 110, Sixers 109

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- A 17-point game came down to the final possessions. 

The Knicks squeaked out a 110-109 victory, holding on to this one after suffering a buzzer-beating loss to the Sixers on Jan. 11. 

The Knicks squandered a double-digit lead in the fourth as the Sixers slowly chipped away at their lead at the line. The Sixers got within one, 106-105, when T.J. McConnell drained a three after a series of Sixers’ free throws. 

Jahlil Okafor scored a go-ahead basket during a hustling Sixers possession with nine seconds remaining to give the Sixers a 109-108 lead. 

In the end, it was Carmelo Anthony, who had been running up the scoreboard all night (37 points), that nailed the game-winning jumper over Robert Covington. Kyle O’Quinn picked off the Sixers' final inbound attempt. 

Inside the box score
• Okafor finished with a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds. He had eight rebounds in first half, including a coast-to-coast fast break.

• Dario Saric continues his strong Rookie of the Year push. He finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. 

• Robert Covington struggled from the field overall (7 of 19, 2 of 11 from three) but filled up the stat sheet with 20 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

• Anthony did what Anthony does. He scored 37 points on 15 of 25 from the field, including the game-winner.

Anderson debuts
Justin Anderson made his Sixers debut in the first quarter. Anderson is a multi-positional player and the lineup reflected that. He first played with Rodriguez, Stauskas, Covington and Holmes. Anderson played 3:47 and went 0 for 1 from three with a rebound and a foul. 

While Anderson said he had learned about the Sixers by watching his first game from the bench, he will get more on-the-court experience on Sunday when he plans to spend time at the training complex on the team’s off day. 

Bigs Convene
Joel Embiid was with the Sixers in New York. After the second quarter ended, he stayed on the court to talk with Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah. Both Knicks big men also were sidelined on Saturday.

Trust It
T.J. McConnell isn’t the only one to #trustthefriendship with Saric. Check out this no-look pass to Robert Covington. 

Up next
The Sixers have a day to bounce back from this loss. The 48-9 Warriors come to town on Monday. 

Villanova pushes past Creighton despite exhaustion before off week

Villanova pushes past Creighton despite exhaustion before off week

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, PA. – Jay Wright finally admitted what we could all see.

The Wildcats are gassed.

No. 2 Villanova beat No. 23 Creighton, 79-63, Saturday at the Pavilion to clinch the Big East Conference regular-season title outright (see Instant Replay).

The Wildcats are 27-3 and 14-3 in the conference, but the last couple weeks their lack of depth has shown.

With Omari Spellman ruled ineligible before the season by the NCAA, Phil Booth out since November with lingering knee pain and Darryl Reynolds out the last five games with a rib injury, Wright has essentially been limited to five starters, freshman Dante DiVincenzo off the bench and a few minutes a night from freshman Dylan Painter.

It's taken a significant toll on the six guys in the rotation. 

Big late leads have dwindled or, in the case of Wednesday’s game against Butler, disappeared. Three-pointers have front-rimmed. Defensive assignments have been missed.

Through it all, Wright refused to admit fatigue was an issue.

Now, with the Wildcats securely the top seed in next month’s conference tournament, Wright is being honest about his team.

They’re exhausted.

“I know you guys have asked a lot, 'Do I think we’re getting worn down with seven guys, 6 1/2 guys,' and I said I don’t think so, I think we can do it,” Wright said Saturday after the Senior Day win over Creighton.

“I gotta answer your question, but it just doesn’t do us any good saying we’re worn out. It’s not an excuse. Other teams have things to deal with. I get we weren’t pretty, we haven’t been pretty, today wasn’t pretty. But I think it just speaks to the leadership of these seniors and I think it speaks to the character of these seniors (that they got through it).

“Are they tired? Yeah. Are they worn down some? Yeah. But it doesn’t matter. Other teams got stuff too. It’s not the reason you lose. It can’t be the reason you lose. Maybe you were tired and you didn’t concentrate or we didn’t defend or we didn’t rebound. That’s what happened and that’s the way we look at it.

“I wasn’t trying to BS you, I was just saying that whether you’re tired or not doesn’t matter, you’ve got to get it done, and we got it done. I’m so proud of them and it’s senior leadership. It’s talented players and senior leadership.”

Villanova now has a week off before an essentially meaningless game next Saturday at Georgetown.

It’ll be the Wildcats’ first extended break since the season began.

“They haven’t had an off week because they played Virginia (two weeks ago in a non-conference game), and now they get it and a chance to get their legs back,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said.

“It’s a long season and when you don’t really have a chance to catch your breath, especially because he’s riding six or seven guys pretty hard right now? I’m sure this week off will do them some good.”

Sophomore transfer Eric Paschall had a career day Saturday, with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting to go with six rebounds. Josh Hart added 16 points and eight boards, Kris Jenkins overcame another off shooting night from three (1 for 7) to record 15 points, four boards and three assists, and Mikal Bridges had 11 points and eight rebounds. DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson each scored nine points. 

The next meaningful game Villanova plays will be March 9 in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament in New York.

Now it’s time to rest. And heal.

“It’s going to be good for us,” Jenkins said. “We get a couple days off. We’ll still watch film, still learn, still get better, but physically we need a couple days to regroup and get ready for Georgetown and then the Big East tournament.

“Georgetown is first, but we really do need this break.”

On Saturday, Villanova built an 11-point lead, gave it all away, fell behind, traded off seven second-half lead changes, then went on a 16-4 run midway through the second half to finally put away the Bluejays.

With the threes not falling, the Wildcats focused on attacking the rim and scoring in the post in the second half.

Jenkins in particular had an unusual game. He stopped shooting treys and made 5 of 8 shots from inside the arc. That’s the second-most two-pointers he’s ever made and the most he’s ever attempted.

“Just playing off my teammates and adjusting to how teams play me,” said Jenkins, shooting just 30 percent from three the last 10 games.

“They really take away threes and try not to let me get any clean catches so always being aggressive and trying to make the right play.”

For a tired team, backing off the threes was huge.

Villanova outscored Creighton 36-18 over the last 14 minutes after Creighton took its biggest lead – two points at 43-41.

Now comes rest.

“It’s big for these guys,” Wright said. “In my mind, we just had to get to today. We just gotta get through it without getting somebody else hurt and without just being dead.

“Because we’re going to get time off. We’re going to take Sunday off, we’re going to have a light day Monday, and then we’re going to take Tuesday off, because these guys really need the rest. So this is perfect timing for us.”