Angelo Cataldi: Is Sixers GM Sam Hinkie an idiot or savant?

GM Sam Hinkie drafted the rookie of the year, Michael Carter-Williams at No. 11 in last year's draft. Credit: Getty Images GM Sam Hinkie drafted the rookie of the year, Michael Carter-Williams at No. 11 in last year’s draft. Credit: Getty Images

Sam Hinkie’s year in hiding is about to end, whether he likes it or not. The GM of the Sixers is going to make some decisions on Thursday night that will not only determine the immediate fate of his team, but also of his image as the idiot savant of the NBA.

So far, we’ve seen a lot more of the idiot than the savant.

Hinkie has already displayed some skill at evaluating talent – his alleged gift – and absolutely none at dealing with people. His decision to bar the media from Andrew Wiggins’ visit last week was so absurd that it raises serious questions about how smart the GM really is.

The Sixers are second-to-last in NBA attendance, and the GM allowed police to bully reporters away from some desperately needed attention because of his own paranoia. Offering the reporters free doughnuts the next day as an apology was equally moronic.

Of course, this foolishness from a franchise that has mastered the art of stupidity – remember when ex-coach Doug Collins urged fans to pray for Andrew Bynum? – will all be forgotten if Hinkie actually is good at picking talent. But is he? We will all have a much more informed answer to that question in two days, but there are already some ominous signs.

Let’s start with the rumor that Hinkie is thinking about trading NBA rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams. If the GM does this, it won’t matter what other decisions he makes at the draft. It is sheer lunacy to remove from the roster the one sure thing – a young player with enormous potential and impeccable character.

The idea that Hinkie would deal his young point guard in the hopes of getting more top picks, including Marcus Smart of Oklahoma City to replace MCW, is madness. Smart is a bad act. Just check the tape of his shoving incident with a Texas Tech fan last season, a tantrum made worse by a baseless racial allegation.

And then there is this supposed love affair between Hinkie and Wiggins, a gifted athlete whose softness will be his undoing in the NBA. The team that ends up with Wiggins on Thursday night will be the biggest loser in the draft. He lacks heart. It’s really that simple.

Now the Sixers can add Joel Embiid to the list of mistakes waiting to happen. The 7-footer couldn’t survive a workout in Cleveland last week, and will be out for four to six months with two pins in his broken foot. Big men who can’t stay healthy are busts almost every time.

So here’s the best advice for Hinkie as he finally emerges from the shadows: Don’t trade MCW. Don’t draft Wiggins or Embiid. Bring in Jabari Parker of Duke – the best player in the draft, by far – and show, once and for all, that analytics is something more than a fancy word for computer nerd.

Sam Hinkie: Idiot or savant? We’re all about to learn the truth.

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