The media-shy former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie randomly appeared on a 100-minute-long episode of the ESPN Daily podcast this week, just days after news emerged that the Sixers were hiring his former mentor and boss Daryl Morey as President of Basketball Operations.
Hinkie's reputation here in Philadelphia is one of the most polarized topics in Philly sports history this millenium, so any time he's willing to speak about the Sixers publicly, it's worth listening.
There seems to be at least a portion of the Sixers fanbase concerned that Morey will just be Hinkie 2.0 - a "longest view in the room" guy who values smart deals over putting a winning product on the court - even if there's plenty of evidence to the contrary.
For those fans, Hinkie's endorsement of Morey might... be concerning. It shouldn't be, but it might be.
Here's how Hinkie evaluated the Sixers hiring Morey, and why he thinks Morey will be a great fit for the organization:
"This is why Daryl Morey will be good for this job, and has been good at his job for a really, really long time. In February 2009, we traded 32-year-old Rafer Alston for 22-year-old Kyle Lowry to be our backup point guard [in Houston]. [...] I sent Daryl this very emotional, for me, text, and I said, 'I'm so proud to work here, because you have done the hard right thing, which is, in the midst of where we are, leaned into this thing that we have massive conviction around.' [..]
"We're going to get roasted in the interim. We traded our starting point guard, and we were good. We were, like, a four seed or five seed? We were interesting. And we traded our starting point guard. [...]
"We'd long had our eyes on Kyle Lowry, and loved him, loved his makeup. And so we knew this was the time to do it. Increasingly the way the team was going, it was not going to work, in our minds, if Rafer continued to run the team. [...]
"It was the hard right thing, and we did it. [...] And I was so happy to do it, even though I knew the papers were going to beat us up for a little while. [...] That kind of hard right thing, I think Daryl will help with a bunch."
Looking back it with the benefit of time, and data, we know that moving Alston for Lowry was the correct decision. Lowry is an All-Star point guard who led Toronto to a championship. Alston's true shooting percentage that season was the lowest it'd been in four years, and he was 32.
But imagine your favorite basketball team is a four-seed or five-seed, and the front office trades the starting point guard for a backup point guard. That kind of move is big, and bold, and bound to ruffle feathers, particularly in a city like Philadelphia where fans have already dealt with The Process. They're hungry for tangible success.
The problem with viewing Morey or Hinkie solely through what they've done in the past, and expecting them to repeat it, is you end up with fans who think they only like three-pointers or they only like trading for picks and young, cheap talent.
Every situation is different. Morey isn't going to tear the current Sixers apart for potential wins years from now, just to do it.
But he might make decisions that don't make perfect sense at the time, so fans might want to get ready for that reality.