|Born||December 1977 (age 43)|
Samuel Blake Hinkie (born December 1977) is an American sports executive who served as the general manager of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Philadelphia 76ers from 2013 to 2016. He has also consulted for several National Football League (NFL) teams.
After working at Bain & Company and graduating from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Hinkie obtained a position with the NBA's Houston Rockets in 2005. Working under General Manager Daryl Morey, Hinkie promoted the use of advanced statistics. After joining the Sixers in 2013, Hinkie traded away several veterans, leading to accusations that the Sixers were "tanking" to obtain high picks in the NBA draft. Despite this criticism, Hinkie also attracted a devoted following among fans who adopted the mantra "trust the process," which denoted faith in the Sixers' long-term hopes to compete for a championship. As general manager, Hinkie drafted players such as Joel Embiid and Dario Šarić, and signed Robert Covington to a long-term contract. After the Sixers started the 2015-2016 season with a 1-21 record, the franchise hired Jerry Colangelo as chairman of basketball operations. Hinkie left the franchise later that season and was replaced as general manager by Bryan Colangelo.
Early life and education
Hinkie was born in the Netherlands in December 1977. Hinkie's father, Ron Hinkie, was an employee of Halliburton at the time of Hinkie's birth. His mother, Sarita Hinkie, was a stay-at-home parent. Hinkie's family moved to Easley, South Carolina when Hinkie was three. When Hinkie was ten years old, the family moved to Marlow, Oklahoma, the hometown of Ron Hinkie, although Ron continued to work overseas. Hinkie was the younger of two siblings; Hinkie's older brother, Bill, died shortly after the family moved to Oklahoma. In 1996, Hinkie graduated from Marlow High School, where he was valedictorian. Hinkie played defensive back for Marlow's football team and point guard for Marlow's basketball team.
Hinkie graduated from the University of Oklahoma, where he served as president of the student business association and chairman of the dean's roundtable, and was named one of the top 60 undergraduates in the country by USA Today. While at Oklahoma, Hinkie met and eventually married fellow student Alison Burness, proposing to her on a bench next to the Arc de Triomphe. Following graduation, Hinkie accepted a job offer from Bain & Company, before taking a job with Bain Capital in Australia. Hinkie earned an MBA from Stanford University, during which time Hinkie advised the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans on draft strategies and statistical analysis. Hinkie also began working part-time with the Houston Rockets while attending Stanford.
Following his graduation from Stanford, Hinkie joined the Houston Rockets in 2005 as a special assistant to general manager Carroll Dawson. Hinkie was promoted to vice president in 2007, becoming the youngest vice president in the NBA; in that same year, Daryl Morey became the new Rockets general manager. Hinkie was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2010. In Houston, Hinkie promoted the use of advanced statistics in professional basketball while "second-in-command" to Morey, another widely known advocate of advanced basketball analytics. While in Houston, Hinkie played a key role in acquiring future starting point guards Kyle Lowry and Patrick Beverley.
During the 2012 NBA off-season, Hinkie interviewed for the vacant position of general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, but the Sixers decided to promote Tony DiLeo to the position. The following off-season, the Sixers hired Hinkie to succeed DiLeo as general manager and Rod Thorn as president. Hinkie became the third Sixers GM since owner Josh Harris bought the Sixers in 2011. During Hinkie's tenure, the phrase "trust the process" became a mantra inside the Sixers locker room, and the phrase eventually became popular among fans as well as an expression denoting faith in the Sixers' long-term hopes to compete for a championship. In 2015, ESPN named Hinkie's Sixers as the major professional sports franchise that had most embraced analytics.
Hinkie's first major move took place during the 2013 NBA Draft, when Hinkie traded All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans for the Pelicans' top-5 protected 2014 pick and Nerlens Noel. Hinkie also selected future Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams and Arsalan Kazemi in the draft. In August 2013, Hinkie hired former Spurs assistant Brett Brown as the new Sixers coach, replacing Doug Collins, who had stepped down before Hinkie's hiring. Hinkie's first year was marked with accusations that Philadelphia was "tanking" in order to get a high pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and the Sixers tied the NBA record for longest losing streak around the time. In two trades at the 2014 NBA trade deadline, Hinkie traded veteran Sixers Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, and Lavoy Allen, acquiring five second round picks and Henry Sims. After the season, Hinkie traded long-time Sixer Thaddeus Young to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the Miami Heat's top-10 protected 2015 first round pick, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Alexey Shved.
During the 2014 NBA Draft, Hinkie selected Joel Embiid (who later nicknamed himself "the Process"), Dario Šarić (after a trade that sent Elfrid Payton to the Magic), K.J. McDaniels, Jerami Grant, Vasilije Micic, and Jordan McRae; Hinkie also traded the 47th pick in the draft for NBA Development League veteran Pierre Jackson. During the 2014-2015 season, Hinkie signed D-League veteran Robert Covington to a four-year contract; alongside Noel and Carter-Williams, Covington was selected to participate in the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge. In three separate deals at the 2015 trade deadline, Hinkie traded Carter-Williams and McDaniels for Javale McGee, Isaiah Canaan, protected 2015 first round picks originally owned by the Lakers and the Thunder, and a second round pick. In the 2015 NBA draft, Hinkie selected Jahlil Okafor with the third overall pick, along with Richaun Holmes and J. P. Tokoto in the second round. During the 2015 off-season, Hinkie traded two second round picks for Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, a 2019 first round pick, and the right to swap first round picks with Sacramento in 2016 and 2017. Because of that 2015 trade, Philadelphia would swap picks with Sacramento in the 2017 NBA Draft, moving from the 5th overall pick to the 3rd overall pick; the team would later acquire the first overall pick of the 2017 draft (Markelle Fultz) using assets acquired during Hinkie's tenure.
After starting the 2015-2016 season with a 1-21 record, the Sixers hired former Phoenix Suns General Manager Jerry Colangelo as Chairman of Basketball Operations. On April 6, 2016, mid-season, Hinkie stepped down from his positions with the 76ers.
Days after Hinkie's resignation, Jerry's son Bryan Colangelo was hired as the Sixers' general manager and president of basketball operations. Jerry Colangelo resigned from his post at the same time, but remained as a special advisor to the team. A month after Hinkie's resignation, the 10-72 76ers won the 2016 NBA Draft lottery, and the team selected Ben Simmons with the first overall pick of the 2016 NBA draft. The Sixers also selected Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot and Furkan Korkmaz with first round picks that had been acquired during Hinkie's tenure. During the 2016–17 NBA season, Embiid and Šarić both played their first games as Sixers, and both were named as finalists for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. The young players Hinkie acquired through the draft picks he had around 2014, 2016, and 2017 would later get the 76ers back into the NBA Playoffs, going as far as the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2017-18 season before losing to the Boston Celtics in 5 games.
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