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031517_Hink_AP Matt Slocum/AP

Sam Hinkie and Brett Brown, in old times.

March 15, 2017

Sam Hinkie saw the shorthanded Sixers play the Warriors tough

Once Sam Hinkie took to Twitter last September, we learned that he had relocated to the Bay Area. A few months later, a Sports Illustrated profile gave a look into his year off. And as the team he helped build made a pit stop in Oakland to play the Golden State Warriors, the Sixers former president of basketball operations was at Oracle Arena to catch the game in person:

Without Kevin Durant, the Warriors are going through their fair share of problems. For example, once Steph Curry showed in Philly a few weeks ago, it seems like he forgot how to make open three-pointers. That’s a problem for them. For some reason that I just can’t shake, though, I don’t believe it will continue for much longer.

And while Brett Brown’s team struggled offensively down the stretch —Draymond Green is pretty good at the whole defense thing — they battled hard but ultimately came up short, 106-104. But whether it was attacking JaVale McGee on mismatches, finding teammates in transition, or simply making the extra pass, Dario Saric was again really, really good:

And if you’ll recall, Hinkie wrote about Saric in his famous 13-page letter. His words look prescient:

Dario is a 6-10 forward with a guard’s skills and a big’s toughness. Twice voted as FIBA European Young Player of the Year, we were in position to draft him in part because he required something you’ve had in ample supply: one part courage, two parts patience. He will look great in Sixers blue.

One more thing: I have written two “The Sixers are going to get smoked” pieces in the last couple of months and have been proven spectacularly wrong both times. The Sixers finished 1-3 on this tough West Coast swing, but they were competitive in all four games. Credit goes to Brett Brown and the players.


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann