Well, he forced a trade from the Knicks in the end too. But it makes sense that Hinkie, a careful sort, would not want to draft a player he couldn't see, especially since the data might not be as good from Europe (though no worse than college these days probably, given how short collegiate careers are).
In other news, Nate MacMillan out in Indiana, with D'Antonio their rumored first choice if he's available. Interesting we haven't heard his name come up for Sixers at all, but he was Colangelo's guy.
Reading this article it just strikes me how badly the Sixers screwed up 2018. The Colangelo controversy obviously caught them unaware, but if they'd been willing to move on from his staff and promise autonomy, they would have gotten a serious experienced GM, with Brand probably the sole holdover. Maybe last year's team wouldn't have been as good - they did almost make the conference finals after all - but if that had been the case Brown probably would have been cut loose, which Harris was reluctant to do (and Brand did not have that authority last year). Or maybe they would have Kawhi themselves.
The Sixers had just come off a 52-win season and a surprise run to the Eastern Conference Semifinals and were led by franchise players Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, who were just 24 and 21 years old at the time. To add on to that enviable position, the Sixers had room to sign a max contract free agent that summer, which led them to openly court LeBron James and Paul George, and also possessed a number of valuable trade assets to help facilitate a deal.
Typically when a lead basketball executive job becomes available the team is either bad, asset poor, or both. The Sixers were the inverse of that. This situation was unique, and managing partner Josh Harris wasn’t afraid to admit it.
“This is, if not the most, one of the most attractive jobs in the NBA,” Harris said at the Las Vegas Summer League in July 2018. “I feel like we’ll have a line outside the door of people that want to do it, and it’s a question of finding the right person.”
Despite having such an attractive opening, the Sixers wound up hiring someone in Brand who was the least experienced general manager in the league, having just joined the ranks of a basketball executive in August 2017, barely more than a year before he became the general manager of the 76ers.
During the interview on Tuesday, Brand admitted that his autonomy at the start of his Sixers’ tenure was less than that of a typical lead executive.
Part of the justification for hiring an almost entirely inexperienced Brand less than two years ago was that the Sixers had an All-Star cast of executives remaining from Bryan Colangelo’s time in Philadelphia, and they would collaborate towards decisions, filling in the gap in Brand’s experience. “We have a great team. Alex (Rucker) and Ned (Cohen) and Elton (Brand) and Marc (Eversley) and Brett (Brown), and ownership participating, so finding the right person that’s going to fit in and make it better is going to be complicated,” Harris said at the time.