Tha Sports Junkies 101

No More Diamonds In The Rough: The End Of An Era

Roberkris31 via flickr



No More Diamonds in the Rough

Gone are the days of anger at wins and the “moral victory” for the 76ers’ faithful. A newfound desire for victories game to game has changed the make up of the team. Though exciting, this new approach has come with its share of downfalls under the Colangelo front office.

Recognizing this, it’s easy to make out some key differences between current Sixers’ GM, Bryan Colangelo, and the infamous former GM, Sam Hinkie. Namely, the way each executive filled out the bottom of their team’s roster through free agency is interesting. The recent acquisitions of former Celtics, Demetrius Jackson and James Young, are as good a reason as any to compare the former and present GMs’ moves to fill out the roster.

Key Differences

Before we can contrast the two, it’s important to shed light on the different situations. Present-day wins were not all that important to Hinkie. Because of this, 10-day contract-types were able to see the floor at a high rate during his tenure. Despite that, his success identifying talent in seemingly insignificant players was a strength.

Also, only players taken to fill out the bottom roster spots will be compared. That criteria removes NBA mainstays, like JJ Redick, Amir Johnson and Jerryd Bayless from the conversation. Some may consider this unfair, as Redick has played very well and Johnson has been a decent bench piece. However, to make this an apple to apple comparison, it is important to compare similar situations (e.g. non-vets or obvious bottom of the roster pickups).

Hinkie’s Diamonds

Current Sixers, TJ McConnell and Robert Covington, have proven themselves as legitimate NBA talent. The former has garnered a rabid, cult following, while the latter has played himself into a lucrative, multi-year contract extension. Both players were fringe NBA talents. Covington was quickly sent to the D League by the Houston Rockets after a brief and unmemorable NBA stint. His teammate, McConnell, was undrafted. Hinkie cited both players as evidence of his scouting ability in his resignation letter.

In addition, outside of the 2017-18 Sixers’ active roster, Hinkie’s eye for talent was clear. Former-Sixer Dewayne Dedmon has averaged a solid 10 points per game and 8 rebounds per game for the Atlanta Hawks this season. Although he has seen limited minutes as of late, Tim Fraizer finds his home in Washington, as he helps back up All-Star, John Wall. I could also talk about the Kings’ Jakarr Sampson playing backup center earlier in the season, but I won’t do that to the readers. Although he did grab 16 boards.

Colangelo’s Bench Warmers

Head Coach, Brett Brown, makes the on-court decisions, but it’d be naïve to assume Colangelo couldn’t ask to see more of certain players.

As mentioned above, Colangelo is in a different situation than his predecessor. The GM is trying to win and doesn’t have as many minutes to throw at players he decides are non-factors. While that’s certainly understandable, the Sixers are not a team with great depth. A strong argument can be made for playing some of the bottom of the roster types. Heck, if perennial contenders, like the Spurs, can find time for the Dewayne Dedmons and Jonathon Simmons of the world, then so can this budding Sixers team.

Colangelo has either missed on or wasted his lower roster spots, thus far. Players like Jacob Pullen, James Blackmon, James Michael McAdoo and Shawn Long were all given limited to no NBA minutes. The list of Colangelo’s misses continues, but the aforementioned is an accurate sample of the whole. With a team that has struggled to find production from its bench, minutes for those players were there for the taking. Instead, the underwhelming combination of Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot and Jerryd Bayless have continued to play heavy minutes.

Colangelo’s lone semi-successful, bottom of the roster pick up was Alex Poythress. Now playing for the Pacers, his most significant outing of the year came in a 22 minute run against Detroit. He scored four points.

Maybe Play Some Guys?

Blame is not entirely on Colangelo, as Brett Brown should get more creative with his lineups without specific directives his from higher-ups. Some of the GM’s signings could’ve been decent pieces going forward. However, without playing time, there’s no way to substantiate such an assumption.

No-one is begging the team to go back to the Hinkie days, where losses were cheered. However, during a time where the Sixers are still building and unsure of their bench, some of the free agent signings and two-way contract guys should see more minutes.

Who knows? James Young and Demetrius Jackson could end up being the next diamonds in the rough.

All statistics are courtesy of