Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Houston Rockets
Sam Hinkie is the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Houston Rockets, where he has served for the past eight years. After a promotion to become the youngest Vice President in the NBA in 2007, Sam was again promoted to Executive Vice President in 2010. Sam leads the Rockets considerable analytic efforts, using data to improve decision making in the draft, free agency, trades, and game strategy. Sam provides day-to-day management of basketball operations, manages the team’s salary cap, and scouts potential Rockets by evaluating prospects in person across the collegiate and professional ranks.
During his tenure with the Rockets, the team won more games (160) than in any three-year run in the 45-year history of the franchise, including a historic 22-game winning streak, the second longest winning streak in professional sports history. The Rockets have emerged as a leading franchise in any sport in the use of analytics, and Sam and his team’s efforts have been profiled by The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and in Michael Lewis’s New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story on Shane Battier (The No-Stats All-Star). Sam has lectured on analytics at Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton and is an original contributor to the leading sports analytics conference held annually at MIT.
In addition to his duties with the Rockets, Hinkie and the rest of the Houston front office recently turned their lens toward minor league basketball with the first relationship of its kind where an NBA front office managed the basketball operations of a minor league team. The Rockets’ minor league team finished their first season with the league’s 2nd best record, MVP, Coach of the Year, four All D-League players, a league record for number of NBA Call-Ups in a season, and capped off the club’s first-ever playoff appearance by winning the championship.
Sam serves on the Advisory Board of KIPP, an innovative charter school network focused on disadvantaged children in urban communities. Prior to joining the Rockets, Sam advised NFL teams on draft strategies and ways to use statistical analysis to improve decision making. Hinkie also held positions in private equity & venture capital after beginning his career as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company.
Hinkie graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA from the University of Oklahoma and was named one of the top-60 undergraduate students in the nation by USA TODAY. He also holds an MBA from Stanford, graduating with highest honors as an Arjay Miller Scholar.