I have never seen any other NBA front office executive like Hinkie. While some criticized his methods and others mocked them, I just wanted to see what happened because of them. We have never seen a GM pull off so many draft pick trades in such a short period of time and then do it again the next year and the next. We’ll never know if he could have guided Philadelphia to a championship, but that won’t stop me from evaluating him. I updated Jason Kubatko’s NBA draft value chart a month ago, and I will be using that to see just how well I think Hinkie did in those trades.
I believe that the ultimate measure of whether or not a GM did his job well is the answer to the question, “would you rather take over his team before or after he got there.” If that is the measure of a good GM, then Sam Hinkie certainly did well in that regard. I am just going to go through his trades involving draft picks to see how many of them he won and by how much he won. Salary complicates things a little bit, but we’ll do our best. Since second-round picks are not guaranteed contracts and have negative value, I will not be discussing trades involving only second round draft picks. I also will only be taking into account the value of the draft slot. Joel Embiid didn’t play for Hinkie, but that doesn’t matter because I will be treating him as though he has the same value as every number three overall pick. Let’s get to it:
76ers get: 6th pick in 2013 (Nerlens Noel) and the 10th pick in 2014 (Elfrid Payton)
Pelicans get: Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson
This was Sam Hinkie’s first major trade and it was a huge one. This was our first taste of the new 76ers and it looked to be a steal for the Sixers at the time.
The pick involving Payton was later traded, but let’s take this one trade at a time. Front offices tend to value picks years later less than ones that can be used sooner because, well, they want to keep their jobs now. If they trade away future picks, then the effects of those trades won’t be felt until a few years later, when they hopefully will have more job security. A smart general manager will not care when he gets his picks (unless it is for strategic reasons like Danny Ainge taking every pick the Nets own after the team fell apart).
Therefore, we will treat the 10th pick the same as any other draft pick, even though it was conveyed a year later. The 6th pick is worth 9.0 Win Shares above replacement and the 10th pick is worth 6.2 Win Shares above replacement. By my model, the 76ers got 14.2 points of value in this trade over the course of the rookie deals of these players.
Holiday’s contract covered the next four years at the time, which is conveniently the length of a rookie deal. He has earned 8.3 Win Shares to this point, and if we add another 3.4 (the number he has earned in each of the past two seasons), the projection comes out to 11.7 Win Shares. That number sounds impressive, but it is really only around 6.7 Win Shares above replacement. He is barely worth the number ten pick. When we factor in salary, the Sixers definitely won this trade. Pierre Jackson ended up setting scoring records in the developmental league, but he never played for the Pelicans. Hinkie started his tenure as general manager off the right way, netting 7.5 value points by my model.