With the NBA draft being this Thursday, anxiousness and excitement is building among Sixers fans. The team had the 3rd overall pick, but reached an agreement with the Celtics to swap picks, giving the Sixers the number 1 pick in this years draft as well as 4 second round picks (numbers 36,39,46 and 50). There are many different directions that the team can go on draft night. When the Sixers were selecting number 3, there were a lot of possibilities and different directions that they could go, but now that they are drafting 1st, there seems to be a clear cut favorite in regards to who they will select and we will discuss that below. Nick and Zack are going to highlight some scenarios to help make sense of things and get you excited for Thursday night.
Trade Between the Sixers and Celtics
Sixers receive 2017 1st overall pick
Celtics receive 2017 3rd overall pick, 2018 LA Lakers pick if it falls between picks 2 and 5, if it does not fall between picks 2 and 5 then the Celtics receive whichever pick is higher in the draft between the 2019 Kings pick and the 2019 Sixers pick (unless one of these picks turns out to be number 1 overall, in which case the Sixers would keep that pick and the Celtics would receive the other pick)
Select Markelle Fultz With The First Pick
Upon working on this article, we felt that the Sixers had multiple directions they could go in regards to who they would draft with the third pick and why they would fit. Zack also had a few trade scenarios in which the Sixers could move down in the draft and possibly get multiple picks in the lottery. With the real life trade between the Celtics and Sixers that just became official, both of us agree that Markelle Fultz is the Sixers best option and should be the Sixers only realistic option now that the number 1 pick is their pick. Fultz is regarded by many as the best player in this draft and also the best fit for the Sixers out of all the possible draft prospects that they could select. Fultz is a versatile player who can use his athleticism to get to the hoop and can shoot the ball as well. Fultz has potential to be a good perimeter defender and has good size for the point guard position. His ability to play with the ball in his hands and to play off the ball should be intriguing to the Sixers. The only way the Sixers wouldn’t select Fultz would be if they feel that a player like Josh Jackson’s potential and fit would be better. With that said, if they did like Jackson better, it could be argued that he would still be available at three for the Sixers to select him and the Sixers wouldn’t have had to give up any additional future picks in return. The team most likely felt that Fultz wouldn’t be available at number three and he was the player that the team most desired. The Celtics on the other hand probably felt that they could move down to the Sixers third pick, draft Jackson who they seem to really like, and also acquire another future asset from the Sixers in regards to another future draft pick or picks. The Celtics could very well use the third pick and the other future pick that they acquire from the Sixers as part of a package to land an established superstar such as Jimmy Butler.
Package Picks in a trade- Having multiple draft picks in the second round is a good problem to have. If you want to keep all of the picks you can. 2nd rounders have non-guaranteed contracts. Teams can find a lot of diamonds in the rough and players that are being overlooked. Richaun Holmes is a current Sixer who was a second round steal that has played great and seems like a true professional, even though he has only been in the league for a few years. Holmes has been better than Okafor by far and plays with tremendous energy. With that said, it is tough bringing multiple rookies onto a team at once which is often why second rounders are either cut before the season starts or are sent down to the NBA D-League or soon to be called NBA G-League in partnership with Gatorade. The possibility of trading some picks in a trade package is an important asset to have in regards to possibly moving up in the draft and getting a more desirable player.
Draft and Stash- The draft and stash option is a very good one, especially later in the draft. The draft and stash is utilized by teams to draft an international prospect with talent, but one who might not be a finished product. These players typically stay with their current international teams or play for other international teams for a few seasons before coming over to play for the team that has their draft rights. The nice thing for teams in regards to the draft and stash is that they can have control over a particular player’s rights, but not feel the hit on their salary cap since the player isn’t officially signed by the team. Dario Saric is the perfect example of a draft and stash player. Most draft and stash players aren’t as talented or don’t have as much NBA readiness as Saric, so the Sixers really hit a homerun with that selection! (Elfrid Payton was originally drafted by the Sixers but was traded to the Magic for Dario Saric.)
Prospects to keep an eye on
Josh Hart– Josh Hart is a very intriguing prospect in my opinion. Although I am biased towards Nova being a huge fan of the team and the program, there is no denying how good of a player Josh Hart is and a versatile one at that. Josh can help his team in various ways. Josh is a jack of all trades type of player that would be a good role player off of any team’s bench. Josh plays the game with heart (no pun intended). He is a tenacious rebounder for his size and is willing to make the hustle plays. Hart has continued to improve his jump shot and that will be a huge part of his success in the league. He has good potential as a defender as well. I could see Hart being this draft’s Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon was a player that many people overlooked and he ended up being arguably the best rookie this past season and one of the top candidates for Rookie of The Year. I was one of the few that felt that Brogdon would be one of the best from the 2016 NBA Draft before the NBA season even started and I was right! I think Hart has the chance to do something similar to what Brogdon did in his rookie campaign. If Hart is still available with one of the Sixers early second round picks (36 or 39), I think that they would be smart to select him. The Sixers could use a player that is ready to contribute right away and Hart fits that description quite well in my opinion.
Frank Mason– Frank Mason is an intriguing option for the Sixers in the second round. Mason showed that he was a leader and a very poised player while at Kansas. He comes into the league more experienced than most prospects in this draft and seems to be a good guy based on the way his interviews went after the game. Second round picks are important because they could end up being diamonds in the rough and players that can really benefit a team. Mason is undersized and that can be a concern, but Mason more than likely is a back up in the NBA and seems like he would be a good one. I think that the Sixers should consider him, but don’t be surprised if a playoff contender selects him.
Monte Morris– Monte Morris had a great career as the point guard at Iowa State. He can score, get his teammates involved and even crashes the glass. At 6’3” he is not really undersized for an NBA point guard but I wouldn’t expect him to rebound the ball as much in the NBA as he did in college. Morris is a smart efficient player offensively and because he takes care of the ball, he can be a solid point guard if he is put in the right system. I’d consider him if I were the Sixers even though he’ll probably be nothing more than a back up in this league. Lets remember Isiah Thomas was the last pick in the draft and now he’s an all star for the Celtics so taking a chance on a point guard like a Frank Mason or Monte Morris in the second round may be worthwhile.
Tyler Dorsey– Dorsey established himself as a knock down three point shooter while at Oregon. He also has athleticism to go along with his shooting ability which will allow his game to transition to the NBA. He is a good scorer who can be a role player off the bench.
Dillon Brooks– I thought that Brooks was a good player while at Oregon, but I never really felt that his game stood out. He is definitely good enough to get drafted and play in the NBA, but a role player that can shoot the ball is probably his ceiling. A good player that can play a role on a playoff or championship contender.
Jordan Bell– Another Oregon Duck, Bell is an athletic specimen with a real motor. He is a little undersized for a power forward but runs the floor extremely well and uses his strength, athleticism, and hustle to be a beast on the glass. He can score the ball inside and outside but could use improvement in both areas. Nonetheless Bell will bring energy off the bench and can be a serviceable roll player in the NBA.
Jaron Blossomgame– Blossomgame stayed all 4 years at Clemson and put together a nice collegiate career. He averaged about 18 points and 6 rebounds per game last year as a senior earning him 3rd team all ACC honors. A hard worker on the glass who plays with a toughness, he could be a serviceable wing player off the bench in the NBA.
Jawun Evans– At 6’1”, Evans is undersized for an NBA point guard which is a cause for concern especially on the defensive end. What is not a concern though is his offensive game. Evans is lightning quick and can flat out score the basketball. Almost every way you can think of when it comes to scoring, he can do it. (Inside, outside, catch and shoot, off the bounce, get to the foul line and finish over taller defenders) If a team is looking for a scorer to add to their mix of role players then this is probably the guy to target.
Frank Jackson– Jackson came into Duke last year as part of a stellar recruiting class with lofty expectation. He had a solid but less than spectacular campaign. A solid player with potential nonetheless, he is a guard that some NBA team will give a shot come draft night.
Sindarious Thornwell– Thornwell was unknown to many fans, but really jumped onto NBA teams radars with his tremendous play in the NCAA Tournament, leading underdog South Carolina to the 2017 Final Four. Thornwell showed that he could take over games with his scoring. I don’t really see Thornwell having that type of impact at the professional level. If he gets drafted, it will be as a late second round pick. Thornwell seems like one of those players that would have a chance of making a roster after training camp, but would be best served improving upon his game in the G-League and impressing scouts with the chance of getting called up to an NBA team.
Nigel Williams-Goss– Williams-Goss will provide leadership to whatever team he joins. He seems to fit the description in regards to a solid back up or role player on a contender. I think that he can fit and fill a role and be a productive player in this league.
Jonathan Motley– Motley has a unique skill set for a guy his size as he is a long, lean 6’9” power forward/center. A power forward and undersized for a center in a traditional lineup but he could be a nice center for a small ball lineup. He is skilled and can impact the game on both ends of the floor and I could see him being a solid rotation player in the NBA especially in small ball lineups.
Thomas Bryant– Bryant had two good years at Indiana and is a very intriguing big man prospect. He is big, long and athletic to go along with a good skill set. He is a very efficient offensive player and also not bad on the glass. I think Bryant is good enough to be a first round pick so any team that selects him in the second round may be getting themselves a steal.
Caleb Swanigan– The big fella from Purdue can impose his will on the game. Swanigan was a double-double machine and a force to be reckoned with defensively. Good big men are hard to find, but Swanigan should be a good and safe selection in the second round. Teams looking to add frontcourt depth could use a player like Swanigan on their roster.