For 82 games, Sixers fans have to sit through the season already knowing the outcome of the season: that they’re going to be one of the worst teams in the league. Two days of the entire calendar year, though, Sixers fans can come together and have something real to be excited about: the lottery selection and the NBA draft.
Everyone prayed to the lottery gods for #OneSixEleven to happen, but only one of their first round picks worked out, as they ended up with the third overall pick, as projected by their third worst record in the NBA in 2014-15. They’ll have to wait till next year for the other first round picks to convey, but as for now, they’re still in a great situation.
As usual, draft day trade rumors are flying all over the place. I re-read my pre-draft predictions and rumor post from last year, and the Sixers were rumored to be connected to many other picks all over the first round. The same seems to be true for this year. They don’t seem to be rumored to trade up at all this time, but as always with Sam Hinkie, never rule anything out.
Here are some players who the Sixers might be interested in selecting with the third overall pick:
D’Angelo Russell (Guard/Ohio State)
It seems like the majority of people have the Sixers taking Russell at No. 3 overall. It makes the most sense because a) they need a starting point guard, b) they need a scorer who can create his own shot, and c) he’s great from the perimeter. This seems like a great combo of skills for the leader of the Sixers’ offense. There seems to be a small chance the Lakers draft him at No. 2, although I have a hard time believing that. If the Sixers decide to make no trades in the first round, I’d be more than happy with Russell as their guy.
Emmanuel Mudiay (Guard/Guangdong Southern Tigers)
There’s still a very real chance the Sixers decide to go with the other top point guard in the draft, Mudiay. He never played in college and went straight to play in China after graduating high school, but he is another excellent talent. He doesn’t appear to fit as well as Russell, but style of play doesn’t always mean one player is better than another. Mudiay is less proven than Russell and is a bigger risk in my opinion, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they got him.
Jahlil Okafor (Center/Duke)
It seems less likely that they’d end up with him, and need-wise it seems the least satisfying knowing they already have Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid on the roster, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they went with him if Russell was off the board at No. 2. He’s obviously a dominant talent and should be great in the NBA. If Embiid becomes fully healthy, it would create quite the crowded center position, but drafting best available is usually the best option.
Kristaps Porzingis (Forward/Latvia)
I think deep down, I’m secretly hoping the Sixers get Porzingis just because of how awesome his name is. Also, imagine Porzingis and Dario Saric on the court at the same time. That’s a scary duo of tall perimeter scorers. He seems more primed to be selected fourth or fifth overall, but if the Sixers were to trade down a couple picks, he would be a great pickup. Beyond his name, he’s a very talented wing player.
Mario Hezonja (Forward/Croatia)
Hezonja is another excellent scorer who could fill in well for the Sixers. He’s a very tall shooting guard/small forward who could work from the wing as well as a great shooter. He’s not as talented as any of the other guys I mentioned before and is likely going to be picked lower in the top 10. Still, I wouldn’t mind at all if he ended up with the team. He has a beautiful release on his shot. I know I wouldn’t get tired of watching that. Plus, then they’d have TWO Croatian players. That would also create a cool duo.
There’s a rumor going around that if Jahlil Okafor drops to No. 3, the Celtics would offer the Sixers a large trade package to acquire him. After taking a look at the Celtics’ roster, they don’t have much to offer player-wise. Marcus Smart could be an interesting piece, but that’s about it. Other guys have expiring contracts after next year that the Sixers could pick up such as Gerald Wallace and Evan Turner (although re-acquiring Turner would make no sense). The Sixers only have $24.1 million on the books right now, so they’re surely to acquire players at some point to relieve teams of financial burdens. In the end, the Celtics will probably have to send lots of picks to Philly for this trade to even have a chance. They have two first rounders and two second rounders this year, as well as tons of picks in the future. I expect lots of picks to be involved if this is even considered.
Some interesting news about that though:
Continue hearing Lakers decided on Jahlil Okafor ever since his 2nd visit w/ LA. Russell rumors apparent attempts to get Sixers to trade up.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 25, 2015
The Celtics will certainly need to offer that "monster deal" to acquire No. 3. The Sixers weren't near interested in their initial offer.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 25, 2015
Trading with the Celtics would involve moving far down into the first round though, something they probably don’t want to do. They could always make a trade with someone like the Knicks or Magic, but as with most rumors around this time of year, it’s hard to believe anyone.
Important to remember that this time last year, the Sixers were said to be offering 3/10/32/39/Thad/future 1st for Wiggins. Trust no one.
— Wesley Share (@wshareNBA) June 25, 2015
One thing is for sure though:
After today, we will have more Sixers.
— Michael Levin (@Michael_Levin) June 25, 2015