We’re less than a week away from the NBA Draft, and the Sixers’ rumor wheel is churning. As it stands now, the 76ers occupy the 10th and 26th picks in the first round. The team could use these picks, and others, to move up in the draft order. Below are a few reasons why Philadelphia will make a selection sooner than their current spot come Thursday night.
The Sixers are facing a hurdle that no other team has to worry about, the lack of a General Manager. Brian Colangelo’s twitter scandal was embarrassing and untimely. But a successful draft could negate all of the damage Colangelo has done. Brett Brown could use this opportunity to prove the team doesn’t need Colangelo or anyone else to have a successful draft. Not having a GM for the draft is not ideal, but also not an impossible situation. If anything, the team could try to win the draft to spite Colangelo. Either way this draft will shape the future of Philadelphia basketball both on and off the court.
They’ve Got Ammo
In May of 2013, Sam Hinkie traded the lone 76er All Star in Jrue Holiday, and the process was unofficially born. From that point on, any player with even an ounce of tradability was sent packing. Nerlans Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, Evan Turner, and Spencer Hawes were all traded for future picks. Because of these moves, the team is sitting on a mountain of draft picks. In addition to their two first round selections, the Sixers possess three second round picks from other teams. Philly also has an additional first and second round pick for next year. Look for acting GM Brett Brown to utilize some of these picks (and possibly a player) to make a big jump. Five years after trading Holiday on draft night, Philadelphia may once again deal their way into the top five.
Kawhi Leonard is linked to LA
One player that has been linked to the Sixers all offseason was Kawhi Leonard. The good news is that it was reported earlier this week Leonard wants out of San Antonio. The bad news is that same report has named the Lakers as his preferred team. If he does go to LA, it would be interesting to see how that would affect other free agents. Would that lure LeBron James and Paul George to the Lakers as well? In a world of teams stockpiling star players, Leonard signing with the Lakers could be devastating. If the Sixers are thinking a big offseason acquisition is now out of reach because of this, they may compensate with acquiring a top five talent.
Fultz is a Question Mark
Markelle Fultz did not have the ideal rookie season. The top selection of last year’s draft missed the majority of the season with an injured shoulder and a lack of confidence. While this is not the way a young player wants to start a career, it’s far too early to fully dismiss Fultz. The team has plenty of time to work with Fultz and develop him into a contributor. But just in case the team has any doubts, trading up could provide a bit of insurance. If Fultz does seem like he won’t turn into the player the Sixers thought he was, it would be beneficial to have another player in the mix with high draft capital. Adding talent is always a priority in the draft, but the unknown of Markelle Fultz has placed more intrigue into this year’s selection. Moving up to grab a star would add talent to the team and relieve some pressure from Fultz to rebound after his poor rookie season.
A flair for the Dramatic
This era of 76ers basketball has been a roller coaster, to say the least. After many lows, the team seems to be on the rise. But the team is always in the headlines, for good and bad reasons. It seems like this team just can’t help but make any situation more intriguing than others in the league. The team has been very bold in losing so this shouldn’t be surprising now that the team is good. This is a franchise that lost on purpose for years in hopes of collecting any and all lottery balls. They are not afraid to take a big risk in the hopes of providing a bright future. If the Sixers don’t somehow scoop a future All-Star at the draft, the tanking will be for nothing. The Sixers are all in at this point, and could prove that to the rest of the basketball world come June 21st.
A Philadelphia native who loves sports, writing, and cheesesteaks – in that order. Being retweeted by Brian Dawkins remains life’s crowning achievement.