In Malcolm Gladwell’s 2005 book, Blink, he tells the story of the Getty kouros, a statue brought to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Southern California. Before the purchase of the statue (said to be going for around $10 million), Thomas Hoving, a former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, blessed the statue with his presence. Hoving was known for jotting down the first word that came to his mind whenever he saw something he had never seen prior. On this day, he wrote down the word, “fresh.” As he put it, “fresh is not the right reaction to have to a 2,000-year-old statue.”
Gladwell’s book talks about the mind’s immediate reactions and split-scond decisions. It talks about how those reactions and decisions are often more reasonable than well-thought-out ones.
The most surprising thing to me about the Jrue Holiday trade, which was executed on draft night, is that nearly every Sixers fan or journalist — whose opinion I respect — was the same in terms of this trade (once the details were cleared up). All of our initial reactions were is that the trade was “necessary.” And it was.
Rumors were swirling around on the days leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft that the 76ers’ often quiet President of Basketball Operations was going to make a splash. Reports were leaked that Philadelphia’s camp was in talks with basically everybody who possessed a top-10 selection, and that every player on the Sixers roster was available for the right price (Sixers fans told themselves Holiday wasn’t one of those guys; Sam Hinkie showed us otherwise).
When the Miami Heat won the NBA Finals less than two weeks ago, LeBron James talked about how you need a little bit of luck on your side to win a championship. LeBron seemed to be speaking specifically of on-the-court instances, centering in on the Game 6 finish. But really, you need some luck in everything your organization does leading up to that moment, be it injury-related, chemistry-related, how draft picks develop or whatever.
The Sixers got their first lucky break on Thursday night when Nerlens Noel wasn’t picked in the top five. They received their second lucky break when a sixth team, the team which drafted Nerlens, didn’t desire his services either.
It was at that moment that Sam Hinkie didn’t just make a splash, it was more like Kevin James‘ cliff jump in Grown Ups 2. And perhaps the second-most interesting thing about the trade is the 76ers gave up a true franchise point guard, an All-Star, for a player and a draft pick, both of which no one knows what they’ll turn into. Seemingly almost everyone thinks the Sixers won the trade, but did they?
So far, all we really know is that Sam Hinkie has zero attachment to Philadelphia’s previous regime. His willingness to deal Jrue shows that the reports were correct: absolutely everyone on the roster is available for the right price, and that he is especially looking for draft picks and/or expiring contracts. He has demonstrated what everyone knows, but few execute properly. In most circumstances, for a mediocre team to get better, first they need to get worse. Hinkie understands that, and based on their reactions, Sixers fans do as well. Personally, I couldn’t be more proud of fellow Sixers fans and even bloggers. Giving up Jrue Holiday was an absolute punch in the stomach, but it seems “necessary.” Everyone with any attachment to the franchise understands that. Often Philadelphia fans get a bad rep because of their sometimes irrational actions. But the truth is we just sincerely care about our teams, and the reaction by our fans to this deal speaks volumes.