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March 15, 2017

Sam Hinkie saw the shorthanded Sixers play the Warriors tough

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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