Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie is a master of dealmaking, a guy who eats cost-benefit analysis for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While a traditionally minded basketball fan might ask why he chose to trade away Michael Carter-Williams and K.J. McDaniels, the Sixers' two most impressive players and only real draws for fans, for draft picks and related magic beans, those in the know understand that it's always better to sacrifice minor gains for the potential of a greater tomorrow. Hinkie is setting his team up for domination down the road, even if it's unclear if or when he will ever choose to alchemize assets into a championship-level squad.
The problem for everyone, even the true Hinkiemaniacs out there, is that the hope of a better tomorrow cannot take the floor in place of an actual, real-life NBA team. The athletes occupying Sixers uniforms until the franchise's saviors arrive still have to play out the season (or three!), and anyone curious to see if the team has developed anyone who may stick around has to watch them go through it all. Now that Carter-Williams and McDaniels are no longer around, these devoted few may wonder which players Hinkie and his lieutenants have entrusted to build their culture and take the team into the next phase of their neverending story. Who are these unknown foot soldiers in the war against irrationality?
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We are here to help. Please read on for a guide to the current Sixers roster (as seen on the night of February 19, in case there are any changes to be made in the next few days). These fine young men deserve your attention.
Nerlens Noel: The team's power forward of the future, maybe, unless he's a center, in which case the coaching staff and front office need to figure out if he can play together with Joel Embiid, which we won't find out until Embiid is cleared to play, which might not happen this season, but Hinkie could draft another promising in June's draft, which would mean that they'd have to trade one of the trio for more players or picks, except the team seems perfectly fine with drafting guys who don't play for a full season anyway, so let's wait to decide on Noel's fit for the future when the Sixers are done with the draft, which may not ever happen because Hinkie never stops trading.
Joel Embiid: A potential superstar who could justify the Sixers' entire waiting game. He is unfortunately not allowed to play this year and mostly only pops up when he tweets something ridiculous.
Tony Wroten: A thoroughly bizarre playmaker who will miss the rest of the season due to a torn ACL.
Jerami Grant: The successor to McDaniels as the team's super-fun second-round pick, except Grant is under team control for three more seasons at reasonable costs. He could actually stick around!
JaKarr Sampson: A journeyman rookie shooting guard with the name of a journeyman center.
Franklin the Dog: Exists only to distract children from the horrors of Sixers basketball.
Andrei Kirilenko: Literally refuses to play for this team.
Robert Covington: The only passable shooter on the team.
Tim Frazier: Recently signed to a second 10-day contract. He seems to have a firm hold on the starting point guard spot.
Henry Sims: A tall guy.
Hollis Thompson: Likes to drink soda.
Malcolm Thomas: Will not answer to "Mac" no matter how many times you try.
Furkan Aldemir: Just wants to go home.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute: A prince living in squalor.
JaVale McGee: The clown prince of basketball.
Isaiah Canaan: A point guard with a first name that refers to the book of the Bible interpreted by Christians as related to the coming of Christ and a last name that refers to the biblical land that became the dominion of the Israelites. His acquisition is the clearest sign yet that Hinkie will bring about a basketball paradise in Philadelphia.
A Rat King of Second-Round Picks: When a staffer stuffed all the franchise's future second-round picks in the same cabinet, they became tangled in the tight quarters, creating a giant mess that currently cannot be separated back into its component parts. Hinkie has attempted to exchange the ball of increasingly ornery draft picks for two first-round picks, but league bylaws prevent such trades. Commissioner Adam Silver has informed the Sixers that it's up to him to figure it out, and the franchise has hired four Harvard Business School grads to devise a market-based solution to the problem. If unsuccessful, Hinkie may have no choice but to introduce the creature, now known as "The Round Mound of Entangled Draft Picks," at a press conference this June.
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