First job for Hinkie: Finding a Sixers coach

Sam Hinkie (right), with 76ers owner Joshua Harris, said, "I comein with a real bent to be methodical and diligent, to turn over every rock . . ."
Sam Hinkie (right), with 76ers owner Joshua Harris, said, "I comein with a real bent to be methodical and diligent, to turn over every rock . . ." (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: May 16, 2013

Now that 76ers majority owner Joshua Harris has gotten his man, Sam Hinkie, the team's new general manager can begin a quest for his own: a new coach.

Hinkie was introduced Tuesday as the team's new GM and president of basketball operations. Taking over for Tony DiLeo, who lasted as GM less than one year, Hinkie talked about the search for a coach to replace Doug Collins. He also talked about Andrew Bynum and about his philosophy for repairing the Sixers after their disastrous 34-48 season.

DiLeo began the search for a coach that included names such as assistants Mike Malone (Golden State) and Brian Shaw (Indiana) as the leading candidates. But Hinkie said that although they will remain possibilities, the new chief has some others in mind.

"Those names weren't my names, but I won't throw them out out of hand," said Hinkie, who spent eight seasons with the Houston Rockets, the last two as the team's assistant general manager. "That's just not the way I operate. I have a list of guys that I think are interesting. I'd like it to grow and I'd like to solicit the ideas of others. I don't believe that all the ideas come from one person. I believe the opposite, in fact.

"The way I think about the coaching search is getting the right coach for this franchise at this time period," Hinkie added. "I think everything should be focused on that. I come in with a real bent to be methodical and diligent, to turn over every rock and think about things from all angles first."

Bynum will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after he missed the entire Sixers season with knee injuries. Hinkie said that the one advantage the Sixers have regarding the center is their exclusive negotiating rights with him until he becomes a free agent on July 1.

"The advantage there is that we will have an enormous advantage over other teams in gathering information to make an informed decision," Hinkie said.

Hinkie was under consideration for the post last season. However, after the team's unexpected success - the Sixers came within one victory of reaching the Eastern Conference finals last season - Harris opted to promote DiLeo.

The subsequent collapse of the team and the debacle that resulted from the trade for Bynum allowed Harris to revisit hiring Hinkie.

"There were a number of factors that led to this decision, which I feel as the managing owner is the most important hire that we have made since taking over the team," Harris said. "He's a proven innovator. He built the Rockets' analytical efforts, which enhanced their decision-making in the draft, free agency, trades, and game strategy."

Harris acknowledged that Hinkie is steeped in statistical decision-making. But the majority owner pointed out that analytics in sports involve more than just gathering a group of guys with MBAs and having them punch numbers into a computer to create a better product.

"When we talk about analytics, we are not talking about going into a back room with a bunch of computers," Harris said. "We are talking about adding to a very strong player department and more traditional front office. He is here because his philosophy is in line with what we are trying to do, which is building a winner."


Coaches on Sixers' Radar

Here are some of the candidates who have been linked to the 76ers' head coaching position:

Kelvin Sampson   Rockets assistant

Jeff Van Gundy   Former coach; NBA TV analyst

Mike Malone   Warriors assistant

Brian Shaw   Pacers assistant

Michael Curry   76ers assistant

- John N. Mitchell


Contact John N. Mitchell at  jmitchell@philly.com. Follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer

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