The Sixers' Hinkification Has Commenced: What Does it Mean for the Rest of the Roster?

The Sixers' Hinkification Has Commenced: What Does it Mean for the Rest of the Roster?

So the Sam Hinkie era has begun, and as the filmmakers behind Executive Decision did by killing off Steven Seagal in the first hour, our new General Manager has upped the stakes for the 2013-14 Sixers by making his first move the dismissal of the Sixers' own biggest-name and most likeable character, Jrue Holiday. Now, we know that the rebuild is officially on, and anyone on the Liberty Ballers' roster currently looking to purchase real estate in the greater Philadelphia area would be well-advised to reconsider. No one is safe from the Hinkification.

However, just because everyone can be traded, doesn't mean that everyone will--not definitely, anyway. Here's a quick look at the Sixers' remaining roster, and how I see it being impacted by Hinkie's likely "Red Wedding"-esque house cleaning.

  • Nick Young, Royal Ivey, Damien Wilkins. Gone, gone, gone. No chance any of these guys gets to re-up with a Hinkie-led Sixers, and in fact, Young's #1 jersey was just bequeathed to recent Sixers draftee Michael Carter-Williams. Thanks for your service, guys, best of luck at your next destinations, don't forget there's a $25 fine for anyone who forgets to scrub down their lockers before leaving.
  • Dorell Wright. Departure is slightly less definite than our three other mid-level free agents, since as a statistically sound threes-and-defense guy, he fits the Hinkie mold pretty well. But he's also gonna be 28 years old next season, might command as much as $5 or $6 million a year (and for as long as three to four years), and is not likely to be a contributor on the next half-good Sixers team. He'll be happier on a winner anyway.
  • Evan Turner. Gonezo at the first possible opportunity. Rumor has it ET was being shopped for a late first-rounder last night, but no takers were found--not a great sign for the stock of a guy who was the #2 overall pick just three drafts ago. He'll be of little use to us this year, and he'll cost far more in free agency than Hinkie is probably willing to spend. Sam's probably scouring the CBA right now trying to find a way to un-pick-up the Extraterrestrial's option from this year. Maybe he'll let Evan be featured a bit at the beginning of the year and hope to capitalize on the inevitable three-to-four-week stretch that his jumper actually falls, but if the Villain was still here at the end of the season, I'd be pretty shocked.
  • Spencer Hawes. Like Evan, basically just waiting to be dealt at this point. Ideally, Hinkie would be able to package the two for expirings and a draft pick, or something to that effect, though its unlikely the stock of either player will be high enough to get back much of value. More likely, I'd say he keeps Hawes until the trade deadline, then attempts to deal him to a team in need of size for a playoff push--hopefully impressed enough with his shooting and passing ability to ignore his obvious glaring defensive deficiencies.
  • Lavoy Allen and Kwame Brown. Neither of our back-up centers make enough per year to necessitate their being moved, and neither of them are valuable enough to be dealt for in any capacity. It's possible one or both will be included in a larger deal as cap fodder, but somebody's gonna have to help fill out 48 minutes at the pivot this season, and as long as we're not trying to actually win games, it might as well be some combination of Hawes and these guys.
  • Jason Richardson. Will surely be moved if asked for, but is unlikely to draw much interest. He's 32, still has two years and about $13 million to go on his contract, is still recovering from knee surgery, and hasn't been a starter-caliber player in a couple years now. We'd need to package other assets with J-Rich's deal to get him moved, and the Sixers aren't desperate enough to shed salary in the short-term to make that worth doing. There's about a 15% chance he could come back for a few months, hit a couple shots for the Sixers and be taken on by a contending team looking for a floor-spacer, but far more likely, I'd say he plays out the string on the Sixers' bench.
  • Arnett Moultrie. Moultrie is the one guy it's hard to evaluate from Hinkie's perspective. In theory he fits the young/athletic/upside mold that our new GM seems to favor with the team's rebuild--with a cheap contract, and under team control for a number of years to come--and in limited minutes last year he showed flashes of being that kind of player, so it's possible Hinkie could see Moultrie as something of a building block. On the other hand, he wasn't part of the team that controversially decided to give up a future first-round pick for him, so if Moultrie gets some minutes next season and doesn't produce, he won't be supremely motivated to keep the young power forward around. I'd say he likely plays out the season, but if he becomes a legit trade chip, Hinkie dealing him for other future assets wouldn't be shocking.
  • Thaddeus Young. Thad is the player I'm most interested to see what Hinkie does with. On the surface, it's easy to say that since Jrue was dealt, Thad (as the longest-tenured Sixer) must surely be next to go, but I'm not so convinced. For one thing, he fits the sort of athletic, defensive-minded running team Hinkie seems to be in the midst of designing, and for another, his stats translate much better to the kind of advanced analysis Hinkie seems to be a proponent of than Jrue's, leading the team in PER and Win Shares. And finally, there is such a thing as a salary floor--a minimum level of contract cash an NBA team has to give out per year, which should be over $50 mil next year. If the team sheds Thad's AND Jrue's salary before season's start, they'd have to make all sorts of other signings that they probably don't want to make just to get over that.
    Not to say that Thad is untouchable--I'm sure for the right price he can still definitely be had, but just that Hinkie won't deal him just for the sake of doing so. He could still be a valuable contributor on this team in a few years, and he'll likely still be tradeable at any point over the course of his deal, so there's no real urgency to be rid of him. Don't worry, the team will still be plenty bad next year, even with Thad in tow.
  • Andrew Bynum. Certainly, the indications would appear to be that this is it for Andrew Bynum's time with the 76ers. Respected NBA reporter Marc Stein quotes an inside source saying the acquisition of Noel "absolutely" means the end of Bynum with the Sixers, and it clearly doesn't look like the Sixers are going to be making many moves in free agency to put their team more in a position to win games next year, when clearly the long game here is to pick up one or two major pieces in next year's stacked draft. As hard as it is to swallow that the Sixers gave up Andre Iguodala, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic and a future #1 for three years of paying Jason Richardson's rotting corpse, it appears we're going to have to do just that. Live and learn, we suppose, and find the strength to bowl another day.

NHL Playoffs: Penguins fight off Lightning to force Game 7

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NHL Playoffs: Penguins fight off Lightning to force Game 7

BOX SCORE

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins made good on Evgeni Malkin's pledge to force Game 7 in the Eastern Conference final.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, and Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored Tuesday night in a 5-2 victory that evened the best-of-seven series with the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-3.

Game 7 is Thursday night, with the Penguins hoping to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2009 and the Lightning looking to advance to the Cup Final for the second straight year.

"I just told them to embrace the moment. It's a great opportunity for us. These are the type of circumstances to where you have an opportunity to write your own story," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan.

"They had a certain mindset going into this tonight: `We're going to leave it all out there and do everything we can to bring this back to Pittsburgh,'" Sullivan added. "And, certainly that's what they did."

Malkin was the most demonstrative of the players expressing confidence the Penguins could take the series back to Pittsburgh, saying he believed in himself, his teammates and that they could return home for a seventh game "for sure."

Crosby stepped up with his third game-winning goal of the series. The Penguins captain assisted on Kessel's 5-on-3 power-play goal in the opening period and later skated around Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman into the clear before sending a wrist shot between goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy's legs for a 3-0 lead in the final minute of the second period.

"We know the circumstances. It makes you go out there with a mindset of playing desperate," Crosby said. "I think we had confidence in the whole group. I think everyone played great.

"Everyone contributed in their own way. In a big game like this you, don't do anything special, just do your job. I think that's gotten us this far."

Rookie goaltender Matt Murray returned to the lineup after being replaced as the starter for Game 5 by Marc-Andre Fleury, but his 10th playoff victory did not come without a bit of suspense.

Brian Boyle scored twice in the third period for Tampa Bay, with one of the goals bouncing off Kessel before getting past Murray, who finished with 28 saves. The second score drew the Lightning within one goal with 7:17 remaining.

Instead of flinching, the young goalie who turns 22 on Wednesday retained his composure down the stretch to help the Penguins avoid relinquishing a third-period lead for the second straight game.

"I just think it's part of his DNA. He has a calming influence. He doesn't get rattled if he lets a goal in. He continues to compete," Sullivan said.

"That's usually an attribute that takes years to acquire. And to have it at such a young age is impressive. I think one of his biggest strengths is just his ability to stay in the moment."

Rust's breakaway goal at 17:52 of the third gave Pittsburgh breathing room, and Bonino added an empty-netter to finish it off.

"We had a great chance tonight and just tip-toed around a little bit," Boyle said. "We were tentative and weren't aggressive."

Kessel's goal was his team-leading ninth of the playoffs. Crosby had the primary assist, his first point since delivering game-winners in Games 2 and 3, and Malkin also had an assist to extend his point streak to four games after a slow start in the series.

The Lightning had an apparent goal by Jonathan Drouin waived off a little more than five minutes into the game, when Sullivan successfully challenged that the young Tampa Bay winger was offside on the play before tapping in a rebound off Ondrej Palat's shot that bounced off Murray's pads.

Sullivan announced the decision to go back to Murray following Tuesday's morning skate.

Murray started the first four games of the series. Fleury replaced him during the third period of Game 4, then made his first start in nearly two months in Game 5, which Tampa Bay won 4-3 in overtime.

Before Game 5, Fleury had not started a game since March 31, when he suffered a concussion.

Tampa Bay entered the game determined to not come out flat in Game 6 of the conference final for the second straight year.

The Lightning beat the New York Rangers on the road to go up 3-2 in that series, but were badly outplayed at home the next game and had to return to Madison Square Garden to finish the series.

Now, they'll have to win on the road again to make the third Stanley Cup appearance in franchise history.

"I know we can. I've got confidence in this group. We believe we can do that," Tampa Bay's Ryan Callahan said. "We've had success on the road in the playoffs. We've had success in their building already. It's going to be a good one."

Notes
The Penguins were 1 for 3 on the power play and are 4 for 19 in the series. The Lightning were 0 for 1, dropping to 2 for 12. ... Malkin was penalized in the first period for slashing Tampa Bay Bay's Ryan Callahan in what appeared to be retaliation for the Lightning forward whacking him across the wrist with his stick. ... Murray improved to 4-0 following a loss. He's 10-4 overall in the playoffs.

Best of MLB: Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games

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Best of MLB: Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games

BOSTON -- David Price scattered five hits over seven innings and Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of hits to extend his streak to 28 games as the Boston Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies 8-3 on Tuesday night.

David Ortiz had a two-run double and a two-run single, and Dustin Pedroia added three hits to help Boston win its third straight game. Price (7-1) allowed three runs, walking one and striking out six to earn his third consecutive win.

Colorado lost for the fifth time in six games.

Jorge De La Rosa (1-4) made his first start after spending almost a month on the disabled list with a left groin strain. He gave up two runs in the first, two more in the second and left with one out in the fourth with two on and one run already in (see full recap).

Polanco, Pirates crush Diamondbacks
PITTSBURGH -- Gregory Polanco hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-best five runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates rolled by the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-1 on Tuesday night.

Polanco's shot to the concourse in right-center field off Shelby Miller (1-6) in the first inning gave Pittsburgh an early boost. Francisco Liriano (4-3) scattered two hits in 5 2/3 innings and added an RBI single as the Pirates improved to 6-2 during a 10-game homestand.

After a short adjustment period, Polanco has thrived batting third in the lineup, hitting .317 (20 of 63) with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 15 games. The Pirates spread their 17 hits among 11 batters.

Miller's recent recovery from a miserable start with the Diamondbacks took a step backward. Less than a year removed from an All-Star appearance with Atlanta, Miller's ERA ballooned to 7.09 after surrendering six runs in five innings (see full recap).

Strasburg strikes out 11 in Nationals' win
WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg remained unbeaten with an 11-strikeout performance, and the Washington Nationals hit three of their season-high five home runs off struggling Matt Harvey in a 7-4 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.

Strasburg (8-0) gave up two runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings in defeating Harvey and the Mets for the second time in six days. Strasburg has five games this season with at least 10 strikeouts and 26 over his seven-year career.

Harvey (3-7) stumbled through a third straight ineffective start, allowing five runs and eight hits over five rocky innings. The right-hander has yielded 16 earned runs and 31 hits over his last three outings.

Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon hit successive solo shots to put Washington ahead in the fourth inning, and Daniel Murphy added a two-run drive off his former teammate in the fifth for a 5-1 lead (see full recap).

Justin Verlander powers his way through Phillies' weak lineup

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Justin Verlander powers his way through Phillies' weak lineup

BOX SCORE

DETROIT – Back on March 26, the Detroit Tigers made the trip to Clearwater to play the Phillies during the final week of the Grapefruit League schedule.
 
Justin Verlander was the Tigers’ starting pitcher that day at Bright House Field. The Phillies ended up losing that game by a run when their bullpen came undone in the late innings. But earlier in the game, the Phils had pretty good success against Verlander. They knocked him around for three runs in five innings. They had seven hits against him, four for extra bases.
 
Two months later, the Phillies came face to face with Verlander again on a warm Tuesday night in Detroit.
 
This time, the Phils had no chance.
 
They were manhandled by the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner in suffering a 3-1 loss to the Tigers (see Instant Replay).
 
“Verlander pitched well,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “He had a good fastball and we weren’t catching up to it.”
 
Yes, Verlander had good fastball and he knew it. Sixty-five of his 108 pitches were fastballs. He averaged 94 mph with the pitch and topped out at 97. That’s how hard his final pitch of night was. He blew it by the Phillies’ best hitter, Odubel Herrera, for his 10th strikeout of the night.
 
In all, Verlander pitched eight shutout innings and gave up just three hits against one of baseball’s worst offenses; the Phils entered the game averaging just 3.24 runs per game.
 
The loss was the Phillies’ fourth in the last five games and it dropped them to 25-21. They have opened this challenging road trip, which finishes with three against the Chicago Cubs, owners of the best record in the game, with two straight losses heading into Wednesday’s series finale against the Tigers. Aaron Nola will get the ball against Anibal Sanchez.
 
Can Nola be a stopper? The Phillies could really use a victory. To get it, they will need some offense. They got just about none until Verlander left the game Tuesday night.
 
“We just couldn’t get enough going,” Mackanin said. “Verlander really relied on his fastball and we couldn’t capitalize.”
 
Jeremy Hellickson pitched well for the third straight time for the Phillies. (He has allowed just five earned runs over 20 innings in his last three starts. He has walked just three batters and struck out 20 over that span.) But with no run support, Hellickson couldn’t afford to make any mistakes and he needed excellent defensive support – which he did not get.
 
Hellickson served up a down-the-middle fastball to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and Cabrera swatted it for an RBI double. He has four RBIs in the first two games against the Phillies.
 
In the third inning, Hellickson struck Cabrera out on a nasty changeup for the third out. The pitch was so good that Cabrera flashed Hellickson a thumbs-up before spiking his helmet to the ground.
 
Hellickson’s changeup has been very good lately.
 
“I really feel comfortable with it right now and I’m throwing it for a lot of strikes,” he said.
 
In a close game with not much offense going against Verlander, Hellickson needed strong defense behind him. He did not get it from third baseman Maikel Franco in the fifth inning. With a runner on first and no outs, J.D. Martinez hit a bounding ball to Franco’s right. Franco tried to backhand the ball with a quick snap of his glove. Fielded cleanly, Franco probably could have started a double play. Instead, the ball got by him, was generously scored a double and led to a run. The Tigers scored twice in the inning to take a 3-1 lead.
 
“Yes, it’s makeable,” Mackanin said of the ball that got by Franco. “He got to a certain spot and then he stopped and tried to snag it instead of taking one more step toward it. I don’t think he could have gotten in front of the ball but he could have gone through it instead of stopping and trying to snag it. I thought he could have done that.
 
“It’s a potential double-play ball. He needed to take one more step instead of reaching for it.”
 
Tommy Joseph had the best at-bats against Verlander. He lined out twice to the pull side and had a base hit in the seventh. In the ninth, the Phillies rallied for a couple of hits against Francisco Rodriguez. Joseph scorched a liner to left for a sacrifice fly and the Phillies’ only run.
 
“He hit the ball on the nose four times, really good at bats,” Mackanin said of Joseph. “If that ball he hits in the ninth inning finds a gap, we have the tying run at second.”
 
Joseph has seven hits in his first 23 at-bats and has made some hard outs. He will start at first base again Wednesday and also on Friday as the Cubs will start lefty Jon Lester. After that, he could get starts against right-handers because he’s simply out-hitting Ryan Howard, who went 1 for 4 and saw his average climb to .159.
 
Before the game, Mackanin said Joseph could take playing time away from Howard if he continues to hit.