It was a beautiful evening in South Philadelphia at Xfinity Live on the night of May 16th, 2017. Fans from literally all over the world gathered to support the Philadelphia 76ers and their quest to dominate the upcoming 2017 Draft. There was also a commemoration for former general manager Sam Hinkie, the originator of The Process, as fans cheered the person responsible for putting the team in this position. After an evening of fun and anticipation, the dust settled as Sixers draft representative Joel Embiid and the Sixers left the lottery obtaining the 3rd pick in the draft. So what does that mean and how does that shape the Sixers going forward?
For starters, the “pick swap” with the Sacramento Kings succeeded. No, the Sixers did not get the number one pick, but the Kings took the Sixers fifth pick and the Sixers “swapped” with the Kings taking the third (if there had been no pick swap, the Sixers would be picking 5th) All of that came from the trade of 76ers and the Sacramento Kings back in July of 2015 in which the Sixers sent the rights to Arturas Gudaitis (the 47th pick in the 2015 draft) and Luka Mitrovic (60th pick) to the Sacramento Kings for Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, the right (at the Sixers’ discretion) to swap first round picks with the Kings in both 2016 and 2017 drafts, as well as a future 1st round pick. The Kings had to finish worse in the lottery for the Sixers to swap the picks. Clearly they did, and the Sixers walked out with the higher pick. Also, the Sixers could have obtained the Los Angeles Lakers pick had they fallen out of the top three (it was top three protected) Since the Lakers did not fall out of the top three, they kept their pick, picking number two, and now the Sixers can have the Lakers 2018 1st rounder and 2019 1st rounder which are both unprotected (meaning the Lakers could bomb and get the first pick in both years, but the Sixers would automatically “steal” the picks)
Okay, now that all that has been broken down, let’s look at the options for the Sixers. The Boston Celtics are picking number one and as I said, the Lakers are at two. My guess is, the Celtics will select Washington guard Markelle Fultz at number one, since he plays very well off of the ball and could play the shooting guard position opposite point guard Isaiah Thomas. That’s a formidable guard duo without a doubt. The Lakers will almost certainly take UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball as well as his father Lavar Ball seeing as they are a package deal (no Lavar does not play in the NBA, he’s just Lonzo’s mouth, eyes and ears…it’s a weird situation) That could then give the Lakers the chance to package a few players for the likes of Indiana Pacers forward Paul George in a trade and build a core around Ball and George, again, not bad. Enter the Sixers. Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons are all first round picks in respective years taken. Neither played in their first year be it they were overseas (Saric) or shelved for the year (Embiid and Simmons, screw Okafor in any of those mentionings) I would argue the best player at three is Josh Jackson, a forward out of Kansas. He can shoot, drive, pass and play fantastic defense, something the Sixers need desperately to compliment Simmons if Simmons is indeed moved to point guard. Another option could be the Kentucky sharpshooter Malik Monk, a shooting guard, who could give the Sixers a consistent shooter and another strong defender.
The mood at Xfinity Live was dull after it was announced the Sixers would only have the 3rd pick and I’ll admit, I was at first disappointed. Looking at it now and having time to think on the drive home, the Sixers are still in a great position. Assuming Simmons and Embiid come back healthy, you’re looking at a core of Simmons, (enter rookie) Saric and Embiid with solid bench players, a plethora of cap space and still a strong number of draft picks. This team is going places and this team is going to be fun to watch. They’re also on the verge of becoming one of the youngest, most dominant forces in the East with or without LeBron James in it.
When you watch this team in 2017 and beyond, you’re going to see a core of players that were brought together by the vision of a brave, bold and genius man. His name will forever be enshrined in the hearts of Philadelphians so long as the Sixers start winning and stay at the top. Samuel Blake Hinkie “tanked” in his years as GM of the Sixers and acquired a numerous amount of draft picks and cap space to position the Sixers to select young players and chase after solid veterans in trades/free agency. Basketball is going to be fun again, and I’m damn sure Philadelphia can’t wait until the Thursday June 22nd Draft to see who will be suiting up next to Simmons, Saric and Embiid.
Long Live The Process.
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