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.

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”