Building an NBA Team to Lose
The 76ers Sacrificed the Present for the Future, but Was ‘the Process’ Worth the Price?
Last February, while in Boston for MIT’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, I found myself sitting at a bar table alongside Sam Hinkie, the former general manager of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. This was an exciting moment for me.
I’d spent the previous year working on a book about the Sixers that focused on Hinkie and his polarizing team-building strategy, which involved assembling a losing squad in the short term to get big wins in the future. Hinkie’s data-driven devotion to tanking had given Philadelphia a shot at greatness, and raised …