So the Sixers now sit at 8-50, I think the risk of them missing 10 wins is actually real at this point. But that’s not really what I want to talk about, I want to talk about the biggest mistake Sam Hinkie has made in his time as GM: selecting Jahlil Okafor.
For me, I’ve been a “truster of the process” but I have become disenchanted this season and really ever since we took Jahlil Okafor. I am backing off my stance that BPA all the time is the way to go in the NBA. I think that’s wrong after considerable reflection and consideration. Just like almost everything in life, it requires a more balanced approach. Whatever the likelihood or percentage is of Jahlil Okafor’s chances of becoming a superstar in comparison with the players beneath him, that percentage wasn’t worth destroying all the Sixers had built to over the previous two seasons.
Now, you may say that the Sixers had the worst joint record in the league over the previous 2 seasons, what did they actually build? Well they couldn’t score reliably to save their life (worst offense in the league in 14-15), but they had turned into a weird fun athletic team that could switch everything on defense and challenge shots at the rim, and they ended up becoming the 13th best defense in the NBA. The Sixers are now dead last in offense and 22nd in defense, they’ve gotten considerably worse on defense and less fun to watch since they drafted Jahlil Okafor. These are all byproducts of taking someone who didn’t fit what they were trying to build.
Now, comes the question, if not Jahlil Okafor, then who? Obvious name that comes to mind is Kristaps Porzingis, who could’ve played high low with Noel and Embiid (when Embiid is ready to play). Less obvious names are Mario Hezonja and Justise Winslow, both super athletic 2 guards that can finish well above the rim and could’ve played on the perimeter for this Sixers team. But I contend that taking any of these 3 would’ve been significantly better decisions than taking Jahlil Okafor, as they would’ve allowed the Sixers to continue building what was being worked towards in previous seasons.
By taking Okafor, they took not only a bad fit, but a bad fit in a team that was forced to change their identity, and it has been a change significantly for the worse. For me, it’s no longer about BPA (unless we’re talking about a great disparity for a superstar), it’s about getting guys that fit what we’re building towards. That wouldn’t take precedence over everything every time, but it’s about finding the balance between the two. It’s probably not worth changing your team significantly for a few percentage points of a chance that someone can be a star when his chances of becoming a superstar aren’t considerably high anyway.