As both a Sixers fan and a critic of The Process, I agree with a lot of what you’ve written here. I supported Hinkie’s decision to blow up the roster. We had a lot of bad contracts and had our feet firmly planted in mediocrity at that time. It was smart to start over. He took it to another level though, laying waste to the roster year after year, save for a few select players who were once believed to be the future cornerstones of the franchise. The message that communicated to me was that Hinkie had no confidence in either his ability to find talented contributors outside of the top three or four guys in any given draft or his ability to lure game-changing free agents to Philly, meaning he had no choice but to tank. If he had been as good at his job as some insist, he would have been able to acquire the players he needed without throwing multiple seasons down the drain.
That being said, I will defend him on one point; I do think that the NBA is broken. You characterize Hinkie as a Marxist because of his apparent disdain for competition, but I don’t think that’s the issue. The NBA is ridiculously top heavy, and a big reason for that is because of how the league is structured. I’m of the opinion that it’s the NBA itself, not Hinkie, that is anti-competition. The rules regarding trades in the NBA are far too restrictive and would never be tolerated in a genuine free market. The guaranteed contracts make it all the more difficult to move players who aren’t living up to expectations. Then you have these “superteams” like Golden State and LeBron’s Miami teams, plus the outdated draft lottery. Mix it all together and you end up with a league with hardly any parity to speak of. Each and every season, there are only four or five genuine contenders. The other 20+ teams are either competing with each other for lottery picks or trying to free up space to sign potential free agents in the next offseason.
None of that means that you can’t build a dynasty without tanking, but it certainly does incentivize it. If Hinkie were as good as his fans claim, he would’ve figured out a way to do it without the tanking, just like Boston has been able to do. That being said, it was the league that made tanking the easiest and most attractive strategy for trying to rebuild, not Hinkie.
Of course, that’s just my humble opinion. In any case, interesting analysis!