It was no “Mission Accomplished” but the Philadelphia 76ers put together an impressive 2017-2018 NBA season that helped to justify the Trust the Process slogan started by former general manager Sam Hinkie. Although he stepped down in 2016, the analytics-forward former GM is the architect of the current team, which made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals and has the potential to continue that success in the next few years.
Perhaps inspired by his work with the Sixers, the Denver Broncos have hired Hinkie as an analytics consultant, per The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala.
Clearly, Broncos head coach Vance Joseph is a fan of Hinkie’s work. Last season, as Denver struggled and stumbled to a 5-11 finish, Joseph uttered a familiar phrase to reporters.
“Trust the process. You’re going to have some adversity during the season. You can’t simply stop doing what you believe in. Trusting the process and staying with it. Keep pushing the players and pushing the coaches and you’ll come out of it.”
According to Mitch Tanney, the Broncos’ director of analytics, the team is digging into their data in an attempt to figure out how they can maximize value during this rebuild.
“It’s a wealth of data, and it’s our job to extract insights with coordination with the strength and conditioning staff, athletic training, with the rehab group in there to be able to make sure it makes sense. Again, it’s that pragmatic part. If we just do some one-off research that doesn’t make any sense, that doesn’t do anybody any good. It needs to be applicable.”
While it might seem weird for Hinkie to go to the NFL after his NBA stint, it’s actually much more in line with his professional history. Before becoming GM of the Sixers, Hinkie interned with the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans. After graduating college, he went to work for the NBA’s Rockets as an assistant to the GM.
As for what he’ll be doing, exactly, with the Broncos, it sounds like he’s speaking with just about everyone involved. Per Jhabvala, he’s met with EVP John Elway and spent time with Mike Sullivan, the Broncos’ salary cap expert. He’s also even met with the scouting staff, athletic training staff, and the team’s strength and conditioning coach. As for what insight he’s providing to each of them and how valuable it can be, well, you’re just gonna have to trust the process, aren’t you?