Sixers stay looking toward the future


VIDEO: Post Draft: Dario Saric

BROOKLYN – When the Toronto Raptors selected Brazilian Bruno Caboclo with the 20th pick of the 2014 Draft, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said that the 18-year-old was “two years away from being two years away.”

With that description, Caboclo would be a better fit in Philadelphia, where “two years away from being two years away” seems to be the ongoing mantra.

For the second straight season, the Sixers used a Lottery pick on a guy that can’t help them right away. But this time, they doubled-down, using both of their Lottery picks on guys that can’t help them right away.

A year after drafting the injured Nerlens Noel with the No. 6 pick (acquired from New Orleans), the Sixers selected the injured Joel Embiid with the No. 3 pick. And then, after swapping picks with the Orlando Magic (getting two future picks for moving down), they used the No. 12 pick to select Croatian Dario Saric, who just just agreed to a deal in Turkey that will keep him from playing in the NBA until 2016 at the earliest.

So Sixers fans, who endured a rough 2013-14 season after general manager Sam Hinkie broke down the roster, will have to have some more patience, because Hinkie isn’t ready for his team to be good – or even mediocre – yet.

The Sixers might not have been dramatically better with Noel and two Lottery picks who could actually participate in a game this fall. The rest of their roster is still thin on both talent and experience. But Hinkie is clearly looking well beyond next season. And he hopes to have increased his team’s chances of getting dramatically better down the line.

Noel was considered by many to be the best talent in last year’s draft and fell to No. 6 because he was coming off ACL surgery. This year, Embiid was the consensus No. 1 pick. Saric may have gone a few picks higher had he been willing to play in the NBA next season. Together, they might make one heck of a frontline someday.

Hinkie, clearly not worried about job security, is looking to take advantage of GMs that are. And it will be a while before we find out just how successful he was in doing so.

Last week’s surgery on his fractured right foot could keep Embiid out for much of his rookie season. If Philly takes the same tack as they did with Noel, thinking long-term all the way, Embiid won’t play at all as a rookie.

With all three picks, there was risk involved. Sports medicine has come a long way, but Noel still major knee surgery. Embiid is a seven-footer with both back and foot issues. Saric – like other international picks before him – could choose to never come over. So, in addition to having patience, Sixers fans will have to cross their fingers and hope for the best.

But their team got the top talents in each draft. And in this league, you don’t aim to be a playoff team. You aim to be a title contender. Sometimes, getting there takes a long time.

It’s easy to forget, but the Sixers were a game away from the conference finals just two years ago. Then they swung and missed on a trade for Andrew Bynum that summer and, after he was hired last May, Hinkie continued driving the bus toward 60-Loss Land, trading Jrue Holiday for the picks that became Noel and Saric.

Unless he change direction in the next 12 months (don’t bet on it), Hinkie will be back in this same position again at the 2015 Draft, where he’ll have another chance to pick someone who’s not ready to play. But this all could pay off in a big way a few years down the line.

The Sixers are going to lose a lot of games again, but maybe they’re the early favorites for the 2020 NBA title.

57 Comments

  1. Sosa says:

    As a Sixers fan this will be a frustrating year. But, looking on the bright side, I’ll be able to cop floor seats for like $30!!!! lol

  2. add coupon says:

    so why draft two injured center????

    • DenH says:

      because embiid is capable of playing away from the basket, whilst noel is the imposing shot blocker, think back to twin towers in houston, both legit centers, yet they formed an unstoppable tandem, i think they will mesh well, but if not, hinkie nabbed all star potential talent, expect great things from the sixers in the future, they will be the next oklahoma city i reckon, 4-5 years with perennial all stars on their team..

  3. Allan says:

    By the time Embiid or Noel recovers from injury, 76ers will be so bad that they don’t want to stay. Their rookie contracts will be almost up and Lakers will sign them :)

  4. imissthethunder says:

    A true Leastern Conference team. Won’t be tuning in again this year.

  5. mark says:

    Well I think the 76.ers are playing there cards right in the way they are drafting and how they are deciding to run there team by drafting the best talent available they are drafting the player with most potential and upside .There really wasn’t a player coming out of the Draft this year or last year who could help the reach finals this year or last year anyways the best player last year was a guy they drafted in Mcw he was the ROY so by drafting the best player available not drafting just for need means your giving your team the best chance to move forward instead of getting nervously anxious and taking a player way ahead of where he should be drafted so you take noel let him sit out and rehab a whole season should be fine ever here of a guy named Blake Griffen got picked got injured came back the next year won the ROY guese what pills could have the 1st team ever to have 3 back to back rookie of year winners/candidates so if noel shows his outrages athletic ability off this year runs the floor rebounds and blocks shots I think Phillips will have a really bright road ahead of them and if embid gets healthy and comes back to his former self well let’s just pchilly could possibly ( key word ) possibly have there own big 3 of the future and hankie is doing a solid job with his picks stashing some people over seas saving money and cap space for the future so the 76ers have bright future but only time will tell especially when it comes down to injuries

  6. Sushant says:

    I think picking Embiid was great, but I don’t think Noel or Embiid can play the 4. Anybody else been thinking about that?

  7. Jae Porter says:

    That whole tanking idea is Major BS. There are a lot of great even future HOF players that go mid, late 1 round, 2nd, even undrafted Hinkie is building something he won’t be there for if he doesn’t try to win soon.

  8. Scisca says:

    I love what they are doing. They will be a dominant force soon. Noel at PF, Embiid at C, Saric as the sub for them, MCW running the show, they just need to land good SG and SF next draft or via free agency and they are set to fight for the champioship. If I was in a draft, I’d be happy to go there. Future is bright even if distant

  9. @baller22 says:

    Raptors could’ve taken Shabazz Napier

  10. Sambaguy says:

    I think it’s brilliant. Everyone in Philly is complaining but I have been watching this team for 10 years (since I moved to the city) and what I see EVERY season is a mediocre squad that just MIGHT make the playoffs, lose in the first round and pick outside the lottery. Anyone who follows the NBA knows that, given how the league is set up, the best way to get good is to be really bad for a while. High draft picks land you solid talent (remember the last time the sixers were good? A number #1 pick named Iverson was here), which you can then use to attract the big free agents. I would MUCH rather be patient through 2 or 3 or even 4 terrible seasons if it means that the sixers will actually be a title contender, than to continue to watch them win 35-45 games every single year and go NOwhere, I love these moves and I think Hinkie knows EXACTLY what he’s doing.

    • evan says:

      Tuesday, May 20th 2014 was a date all Philadelphia 76res fans looked forward to since before the start of the 2013-2014 NBA season. Not because, “About Last Night” was finally being released on DVD, not because the beautiful Charlize Therone and rekindled heart throb Josh Hartnett were to appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on NBC. This was a day to look forward to because we bought into Sam Hinkie General Manager and President of Basketball Operations of the Philadelphia 76ers and his plan to rebuild the Sixers from the ground up. The Sixers elected Dr. J Julius Erving to represent the Philadelphia 76ers organization at this years lottery. He sat on the panel with his head held higher than anyone else on stage because I believe he bought into Sam Hinkies plan as well. Despite having the 2nd best chance of landing the top pick in the 2014 NBA draft it was the Cleveland Cavaliers who came out on top having only a 1.9% chance of winning the top pick. This would be their 3rd top pick in the last 4 years. The Sixers won the 3rd pick overall and due to a shocking trade during the 2013 NBA draft the Sixers would hold the rights to the 10th overall pick as well. The future looked bright for the Sixers as they would be the only team in this years draft to possess 2 lotter picks. Sam Hinkie and his plan to tear down and rebuild seemed like the right move. I asked myself, “If I was going to build my own mansion would I take the house I already have in West Reading Pa and build on that making my house the best in the neighborhood or would I buy the neighborhood and build a kingdom that would stand strong forever?” I chose kingdom which is why I was on board with the plan presented by the Sixers new general contractor I mean general manager. The problem is that Sam Hinkie planted the TNT, wired up the detonator and blew everything up before we had a chance to see his permits. It wasn’t until Thursday, June 26th 2014 that Sixers fans finally got to see Sam Hinkies plan for the future. He does not appear to have a 3 year plan or a 4 year plan. In fact he most likely doesn’t even have a 5 year plan. In an article posted by John Schuhmann titled, “Sixers stay looking toward the future” at http://www.nba.com states the Sixers could be the front runner for the 2020 NBA title. Let’s go Sixers!!! Don’t worry, that feeling doesn’t sit well with me either. Which brings me to the reason I decided to speak out this morning. Last night, Thursday, June 26 2014 was the NBA draft. The Sixers were set to pick 3rd overall and 10th overall. Due to a last minute foot injury to top prospect Joel Embiid it was not likely that the Sixers would land their top prospect in Andrew Wiggins. This was confirmed when the Cavs selected A Wig with the first overall pick. With the second pick in the 2014 NBA draft, in his first full year as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the Milwaukee Bucks select Jabari Parker from Duke University. The Sixers had to make a decision. They chose 7 ft Joel Embiid who only started playing competitive basketball 4 years ago per a report on nba.com. This was a sign of things to come. It was quite obvious that the Sixers had no intentions on being competitive in the up and coming season as there were plenty of athletic/healthy prospects that could of made next season a little easier to watch. As crazy as it seems I was ok with this pick as Embiid is the kind of talent that does not come around very often. One more pick left in the lottery for the Sixers and one player stood out in my mind as someone who could come in and give the fans something to cheer about again and that player is Doug McDermott. Doug McDermott played basketball on the collegiate level for 4 year becoming the 5th leading scorer in NCAA history. Although he was available at the 10th pick, the Sixers selected Eldrid Payton instead. Payton is a point guard with less talent than the one the sixers drafted last year in Michael Carter Williams. MCW won rookie of the year this past year and appears to be an up and coming star in this league. Why? Well it was all part of general contractor Sam Hinkies 7 year plan to rebuild the team. He later traded Payton to the Orlando Magic for their 12th pick Dario Saric who won’t be playing in the NBA this year and 2 future draft picks. Had I known my neighborhood was going to be a dump for the next 6 or 7 years that nobody wants to visit and that everyone will forget about maybe I would of picked a different general contractor. With that said, I want to welcome Joel Embiid to the sixers family and wish him a speedy recovery.

  11. Aaron says:

    At least Embiid will be playing in the NBA in the upcoming season. He’s only missing part of the season anyhow.

    • DenH says:

      dont bank on it, they will likely shelve him for the whole season regardless of production, no use is risking a top prospect on a useless season.

  12. Stupidest management in the history of professional sports. The team spent their off-season marketing the two picks to get season ticket holders to re-purchase and to get new buyers of season tickets. And neither may ever play a game this season.

    Stupidest management in the history of professional sports.

    • dan says:

      Shortsighted. They want to be great, not good. I’m a sixers fan and have no problem waiting 3 or 4 years to be back in the mix.

  13. Jon says:

    Looks like another frustrating season comin up again. I understand what the GM’s trying to do, but I just don’t like it. I like watchin basketball, and I miss watchin the Sixers actually win games. I never liked the whole “Tanking” idea, and now it looks like we’ll have to sit through another season like last year. The only good thing about last year was MCW. Kid has so much potential, he played great. I hate rooting for the Sixers loss after loss until the regular seasons over, then watch all the exciting playoff games without them in it. I watch lots of teams just because I love basketball, but I don’t root for any team to win except my home town sixers. I wanna see them in the playoffs so bad. But it looks like it might be awhile. Looks like the Eagles have the best playoff chances right now. Unless the Phillies can’t turn it around, maybe make some trades before the deadline, idk.

  14. joe says:

    What’s the point in having a season as bad as last years, if you’re going to intentionally repeat it? A team with this many holes could have used more players that can make an immediate impact. Next year they’ll break the record for losses in a row, instead of just tying. Maybe that’s the goal?

  15. JK says:

    Wow! Sixers was lost.
    I just hope they will turn things around when free agency comes or hit a jackpot on Embiid and form what to be the greatest twin tower (Embiid and Noel) since David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

    I think Lakers had done a much better job. I’m not a Lakers fan but let’s see. I like that they picked Randle and traded for Jordan Clarkson possibly the biggest steal on this draft. Impressive Draft Combine stats top 10 on 5 out 8 drills “look out” I hope that Lakers give him the starting PG role.

  16. lakerslakerslakers says:

    take steve nash please. he can mentor your young guns

  17. AceRimmer says:

    The 76ers won’t have a Vazquez situation with Saric. He has been saying that playing in the NBA is his dream since he was 15.
    The only reasons he’s staying in Europe for another 2 (maybe 3) years is because he wants to further work on his game before coming over to play against such strong competition (although he would have an opportunity to develop in Philly too, since they aren’t all that against tanking another year xD), but mostly because it’s a better financial decision for him. He will get a bigger contract in Efes (the Turkish team he signed for), which will also pay the buyout to his former team (Cibona Zagreb, 1,2mil €). Had he come to an NBA team immediately he would have had to pay most of that sum himself.

    • evan says:

      if you’re not ready to play in the nba why make yourself eligible for the draft now? why not wait til youre ready? the nba use to be where men went to play in the most competitive league in the world. not so much anymore. today kids are drafted into the nba already knowing that they will rely on the team that drafts them to develop them into a better player. i thought that’s what the d-league was for? any player that wants to come out of college before completing 2 years college should be forced into the d-league and should not be allowed to be drafted until their time in the d- league is over. this way they still get paid and teams get to see how they react to getting paid to play ball. it was reported that the majority of prospects never held a job before this one.

  18. True Fact says:

    76ers are losers.. in fact all the people in Philadelphia are losers at heart

  19. Brain32 says:

    Dario actually want’s to play in the NBA, yes I know that two years sounds far away but he will polish his game even more in an euroleague powerhouse such as Efes Pilsen, don’t forget he is only 20 yrs old…so taking Dario I think was a great move…

  20. ognjenpuljak says:

    Saric is comming for sure, there s nothing that could possibly stop him, and than it will be for Philly like they got No 1 pick that year. U cant miss on a Talent like Embiid just because you are affraid he might get injured, i mean u can if u can chose Wiggings or Parker instead but after that its a no brainer. He s just too good and u have to risk with those injury problems than. Saric is a beast now, and when he wins euroleague title with efes as MVP of the tournament he will come to pjilly as a emidiate help. Make no mistake, Euroleague championship winning team would blow out NCAA champion by far or any D-League team, its not some irelevant competition. If only one of Embiid-Noel comes up completley healthy 76ers will be in great position but they have to nurse the talent they have now. Get some veterans now, some true proffesionals! I really think that time will show what a great job 76ers did on this draft. They will contend in 3-4 years!

  21. ognjenpuljak says:

    Saric is comming for sure, there s nothing that could possibly stop him, and than it will be for Philly like they got No 1 pick that year. U cant miss on a Talent like Embiid just because you are affraid he might get injured, i mean u can if u can chose Wiggings or Parker but after that its a no brainer. He s just too good and u have to risk with that injury problems than. Saric is a beast now, and when he wins euroleague title with efes as MVP of the tournament he will come to pjilly as a emidiate help. Make no mistake, Euroleague championship team would blow out NCAA champion by far or any D-League team, its not some irelevant competition. If only one of Embiid-Noel comes up completley 76ers will be in great position but they have to nurse the talent they have now. I really think that time will show what a great job 76ers did on this draft. They will contend in 3-4 years!

  22. Disappointed Fan says:

    As a life long Sixers fan, I have to say that I am gravely disappointed in the way this draft turned out. Last night was a night I have been looking forward to all year and the result was the same: wait two more years and MAYBE the team will be in the playoffs. I don’t want to wait two more years, with the players that were available, the team could have chosen someone to make an immediate impact (Vonleh, Exum, Randle).

    The Sixers are swinging for The Dream with the Emiid pick but I fear that this is a repeat of Greg Oden, or worse, Andrew Bynum. I really want to like him and I must say that if he ever becomes healthy, Emiid at the 5 and Noel at the 4 will be deadly. I’m just not optimistic about the result and the same can be said about Saric.

  23. Kenny says:

    Disgraceful…. It’s becoming very arduous to call myself a Sixers fan in which I’ve been my entire life. Mark my words… You cannot build a true WINNING team if your pretense is always “next year”. I want to be a successful human being in everything I do starting today, not next week, next month, or next year. The practice and preparation comes today through strategic planning and a little luck. If we continue to put (no disrespect intended) garbage out on the floor against teams like Miami, OKC, San Antonio, etc. it becomes demoralizing and counter productive to what we are trying to do as a franchise and that is create a WINNING culture in Philadelphia. I believe our picks are talented players, no doubt about it, but we run the risk of never seeing them on an NBA floor. Take a look at teams that actually win championships and you will notice a trend that shows what I am saying is true. Create a winning team and build from there, not the other way around. Don’t be counter productive by saying we will start winning in 2 years when the 2014-2015 season starts Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

  24. JIMBO says:

    why do the sixers need to sell tickets? its not like they have any players making money where its really an issue..

    Embiid seems worth the risk when you see who the next two picks were- Aaron Gordon- a great athlete but not a great basketball player, and Dante Exum, who nobody has seen play and we don’t know what his NBA position is.

    with Stauskas gone at #10, you were picking from the likes of McDermott, Harris, Young…why not take a chance on a player who could be a much better player by the time your team actually starts to develop…and he also got their 2017 first round pick back in the deal…

    i liked the first 2 picks of round 2…wished he had used the rest of the picks on guy who might actually be able to fill out the roster…

    the Sixers were going to stink next year no matter who they drafted, but yes, it would have been much more fun with say parker/wiggins and stauskas, along with Noel and MCW starting to form the nucleus of a future good team…fans who got fooled into buying season tix for next year will likely be cancelling..

  25. Jon says:

    Hinkie is taking a huge risk that even one of these guys will be a contributor to the 76ers in a few years… as a 76ers fan, i’ll save my money and use it wisely elsewhere. I would not waste a dollar on this organization. I understand their thought process, however, I have a feeling this will be Hinkie’s model moving forward and it’s a disgrace for a professional sports organization to work in this way. They have $37m under the cap and could sign 2-3 very good players…. if Hinkie does bring in some talented free agents, then they could be competitive, however, if he sits on it for another few years, waiting for that special player, then i’m out.

  26. LukaN says:

    Why is everyone so shortsighted? 76ers picked three great players last and this year and it will pay off. Better that then to get two mediocre pics just because they ”want to play in the NBA right away”. Dario Saric was pronounced the Europe’s best 17 year old player and he will be a superstar. He is extremely wise and showed great maturity by choosing to augment his game and strength a bit more before coming into the best league in the world. And btw. true fans don’t buy tickets to watch their team play only when winning…the band-wagon fans are not need anyway!

  27. ELISEO SORIANO OLDPATH says:

    Clearing Cap-Space for LBJ and MELO for Sixers??..MAX deal for both…

  28. crophantom says:

    Who said Dario don’t what to play in the NBA??
    You guys are so arrogant!
    He just want to continue to develop, he will be playing for one of the best coaches in the world in Efes (Ivkovic) and he said he is 100% sure that he will be in NBA by 2016, and there is a chance that he comes next year! And Dario doesn’t lie!!

  29. baldur says:

    Saric wants to play in NBA. It’s just that he thinks he should develop his game (his shooting and his body especially), and two years in a wealthy Euroleague contender should be perfect to achieve that. He’s not Fran Vasquez #2 ;)

  30. KaBoom says:

    There is something wrong with Philly76. How can you draft an injured player over and over again.

  31. rskinzluva says:

    Maybe, if the fans stopped accepting an inferior product, the Sixers would try to field a real team. Having to wait, every yr, for a team means you never will have one. So, until someone’s job is on the line nothing will change. For all the haters of Mia’s “Big 3″, at least ownership did what was needed, to satisfy fans of team.

  32. jumppong says:

    sixers never be the same again since iverson era

  33. call says:

    I think they go for all or nothing.
    A way to be a top 5 nba team is to get high value players when their “price” is low. And that goes for all Noel, Embiid and Saric. On the other way they have to conveince their fans about the above, and making some kind of compromise getting a ready to play guy instead of Saric would be a nice first hint.

    However, personally i would go with this plan too.

  34. John smart says:

    Who thinks Brett brown will still have his job when their starting line up has McW, saric, noël, embiid, hope so but no one has that much patience.

  35. Drago says:

    In theory they have like a Dunkan Robinson thing going on and Saric is a good tallent but the NBA usualy grinds players from Europe i remeber what they did to Milicic a neglected player that was later decalared a bust whitouth being given a fair chance in Detroit.There where moments when the best European gods of basketball LIke Rebraca or Jasikcevicius whre treated like rookies how moronic is that.Saric is right to be catius.

  36. TeamUSA says:

    If I’d been a Philly-fan I’d be furious. As a lover of the sport I think this is an incredible exciting experiment. I hope they win the championship in 2019 or something, simplybecuase of the guts it takes to do what they do…

  37. #30 says:

    Sixers fans, you have a problem..lols

  38. mee(a)t says:

    Playing the waiting game isn’t very fun

  39. Seriously says:

    You’d think NBA GMs would learn… Let’s all take an injured big guy instead of the better talent ahead. Deja vu really for Philly fans. Guess Hiinke didn’t get Portland’s memo on how that Greg Oden draft turned out. Fixed now, yes, but imagine Rip City with KD (who was the first freshman to win college player of the year that year). Yep, 28 or 29 out of 30 GMs said they would’ve taken Oden. I’d put my money on the 1 or 2 didn’t say so, and instead would’ve picked Durant, were probably RC Buford and Sam Presti, guys who know how to draft and scout properly.

    • qq says:

      You cant really fault them, the draft is hard, and oden looked like a shaquile onel type of player,

      The draft is a guessing game, not very often you get a lebron james on the board.

    • Rich says:

      Embiid and Oden’s scenario are nothing a like. Embiid was picked while he had the injury, but Oden din’t go in for surgery till September. You’re showing arrogance by saying you would take KD. Nobody could have forseen that Oden would be plagued with injuries and KD would become the superstar he is today. In this draft everyone knew that Embiid had the most talent and he would have gone #1 if it wasn’t for the injury. It’s not a huge risk because his main issues are in his back and not his foot.

    • aces says:

      But the philly thing is different. They were in a difficult position because they were picking 3rd. Cavs picked embiid then I can see what you’re talking about but philly had no choice. I would rather swing for the fences then take guys who are gonna be jus solid pros and don’t have that star quality.

    • Marcus says:

      Embiid was the best talent there so honestly it’s risk the worth.
      Let’s not compare him to Greg Oden yet give him a chance man
      There was no KD talent ahead so chill out

  40. steppx says:

    Its hubris. Its really actually just profound arrogance. First off, you are asking your fanbased to accept buying tickets to watch a semi pro team, not even a good D league team, and why would they do that? Second, not trying to improve suggests you never will. Oh its more years away. There are no guarentees Noel is even good if healthy. Embiid likely never is, and then you pick a guy who doesnt want to play in the NBA? Why? WHY?

    • Rich says:

      Noel was also considered the best talent in last years draft and the consensus was that he was the best center. He had an injury so he dropped. It’s really more common than you’re making it seem to be

    • Borko says:

      Noel will be top 10 NBA PF in few years, Embid will be for sure top 5 centers and Saric vill be a heck of a back up on PF = he will be the new Kukoc, so in other words the 76 are going definitely in the right direction!!! in 2 years they will be in the play-off in 4 they will be a contender in the east….

    • aces says:

      Saric pick is a trade chip plus we got our 1st Rd pick back from magics for that horrific Bynum deal. Do you really think we were gonna win with exum n payton? Or gordon n payton? saric would have been top 5 pick if he coming to the league next season. Instead, we get him, 1st and 2nd Rd picks for the 10th pick. It’s not like we had the 1st pick n choice embiid over wiggins and parker. Getting nervous n picking role players is what we’ve been doing for years. U wanna contend, u gotta take huge risks. Btw, noel is gonna be a huge defensive weapon for us. Hinkie took mcw wit 11th pick n you saw how well that turned out.

    • Marcus says:

      You are Mr.Negative
      DUDE sometimes it’s not about getting results NOW
      you can’t build a team in one year
      They didn’t pick nobody that doesn’t want to play in the NBA
      you need to do your research before you say some dumb as you just did
      He’s overseas and in a contract in a Euro league