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Guarding the Future

 

As March Madness has dwindled down to the four remaining teams, we have seen the emergence of Karl Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor. These two big men have stepped up on both sides of the floor to take their team deep in the NCAA tournament. Both are making strong arguments to become the top draft pick in June.

With just 6 games left in the NBA regular season, the 76ers have put themselves in position to land yet another top draft pick. The late emergence of Nerlens Noel after the struggling Carter-Williams was shipped to Milwaukee has caught the attention of the nation. Noel is leading all rookies in every statistical category other than scoring. While the big man has made his bid for Rookie of the Year, the internet has gone crazy with vines of Joel Embiid’s warm up routines.

Embiid is expected to be a more developed offensive player than Noel even though he only started playing organized basketball at the age of 16. Even still, he will provide the perfect balance to his rim-protecting cohort. With what looks to be a dominate duo protecting the lane in the future, it is now time to add a front court threat.

The Sixers currently have a 15.6% chance to land the top pick in the NBA lottery-style draft. If that were to come true, trading back and using that pick as leverage to gain one of the top guards and possible future compensation is a must.

There is no sense in drafting another big man when it looks like Embiid and Noel can both be all-star caliber players for at least a decade. In addition, drafting Okafor or Towns would most like result in a trade of a current player that has the potential to be a viable player in the NBA. The top two guard prospects are Deangelo Russell (Ohio State) and Emmanuel Mudiay (China). Both will be able to run the floor above the ark and get the ball in low with great efficiency. They also have a good-looking outside shot that still needs to be developed, but is still an upgrade from MCW’s when he first entered the league.

Moving down from say, 1 to 4 doesn’t seem like much, but the addition of 6’5” guard to facilitate the floor while also providing an outside scoring threat, in addition to a possible high first round draft pick would make this team ready to compete as soon as Dario Saric migrated from Croatia. The 76ers GM Sam Hinkie loves to stockpile his draft picks, and in a few years, a tall, athletic and talented line up could have his team competing at the highest level in just a matter of seasons.

We’ll just leave this here for your imagination

Author: Tyler Edgerton

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