Joel Embiid is still riding or dying with Sam Hinkie.
Though Hinkie stepped down from his position with the Philadelphia 76ers before Embiid ever made his NBA debut, the 7’2″ behemoth still feels a sense of loyalty to his former executive. He has adopted “The Process” as a nickname, a spinoff from the “Trust The Process” rallying cry that became infamous under Hinkie’s reign. And he hasn’t been shy about professing his fondness and gratitude for Hinkie in the past.
Me: Sam Hinkie drafted you. Do you keep in touch with him, call, text?
JE: Yeah, we text sometimes. We talk to each other sometimes. I mean, that’s the guy that drafted me, and he made sure he put everything in place so I could get healthy. And I got healthy and I got back on the court. And I feel like he basically kind of lost his job because of me, because I missed two years. So I feel like I owe him a lot. Yeah, we talk. We talk sometimes.
Embiid’s stance on this matter is pretty dope. He’s no doubt part of the reason why Hinkie’s demise came about. The Sixers’ tank became so blatant, the NBA essentially thrust Bryan Colangelo, now Hinkie’s successor, into the Sixers’ lap. And Hinkie, clearly feeling as if his hands were being tied too tightly, left on his own terms, rather than trying to restore Philly’s relevance by someone else’s image. But the NBA didn’t just meddle because of the Embiid pick. It was the Nerlens Noel pick. The incessant collection of draft picks. The flagrant tanking. The straight-out, blatant exploitation of a lottery system that incentivizes losing with the best odds at landing the No. 1 overall pick.
To say things worked out for everyone in the end might be a stretch. It’s also not entirely untrue. Embiid is the owner of a massive extension, the Sixers are relevant again, and Hinkie, despite being out of the NBA, has been vindicated in many respects. He not only armed the Sixers with Embiid, but put them in a position to draft Ben Simmons and make the trade for Markelle Fultz.
Enough of this serious talk, though. I really want to know what Hinkie and Embiid talk about when they chitchat via text message.