Sixers Now Have The Number One Pick
Over the weekend the Philadelphia 76ers made a trade to get the number one pick. A report said the Sixers saw Fultz medical records prior to the swap which should reassure the fanbase he will not start the season injured. This allays some of my concerns brought up here. They have multiple players on their roster with injury histories most notably Joel Embiid and it is unlikely they would draft another player with injury concerns despite them keeping their pick next year. If the Sixers are healthy they will compete for a playoff position in the Eastern conference.The buildup period of the process is now over. Soon they will learn what they really have.
How The Sixers Got Here
Sam Hinkie put the Sixers in the position they are in today. Since 2013 the Sixers have rebuilt themselves from a team that made the playoffs to a team that could win in the playoffs. Key moves during that time were the selection of Michael Carter-Williams at number 11. MCW became the Lakers pick which, if number 2 through 5, will be the second piece moved to Boston.
The second move was the trade of Jrue Holiday to get Nerlens Noel and a 2014 1st round pick. That 1st round pick later became Dario Saric and the Sixers own pick this year which they did not own until this move. This move is the primary reason the Sixers were able to trade up. Without it the they would not pick this year. Also in 2014 the Sixers chose Joel Embiid. The 2013 draft set up the 2014 draft which is when you can see the dominos begin to line up.
The following year in 2015 the pieces began to fall in line. With the selection of Jahlil Okafor, a questionable pick in retrospect and possible miss on Hinkie’s side, the Sixers signaled they were continuing to acquire assets. Instead of spending money in free agency they chose to take on salary for a playoff hungry team. The Sacramento Kings sent salary to the Sixers for what has become the other key pieces in the trade to number 1. The Sixers gave up nothing to get this pick. Without this trade they are unlikely to have been able to move up to number 1 since they would have had the number 5 pick. The Kings trade gave them the swap to 3 and a pick 2 years from now.
Hinkie turned Jrue Holiday and the 11th pick in the NBA draft into the number 1 pick. Below you can see the starting assets and what they have become. I leave out picks the Sixers owned at the start of Hinkies job.
- Jrue Holiday became the Sixers 5th overall pick, Dario Saric, and Justin Anderson
- The 11th pick in 2013 became the Lakers 1st round pick next year (2018)
- Taking on player salaries became the number 3 pick this year (compared to 5) and the Kings 2019 1st round pick
In short Hinkie turned Jrue Holiday and the 11th pick in the 2013 draft (player who ranked 44th for point guards in 2017 in real plus minus) in to the number 1 pick in 2017, Dario Saric, and Justin Anderson. With what we know now this was the focus of the process to acquire assets to get the player of need. These assets are now being cashed in on.
A Bird In the Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush
This statement rings true for the Sixers. The Lakers pick has been a mythical creature that just has not come to pass due to the protections. The bird in the hand for the Sixers would have been Josh Jackson or Lonzo Ball. High potential players that have weaknesses that Simmons and Embiid do not cover and strengths they do not benefit from. Furthermore the Lakers pick next year is not likely to be a player of need. The 2018 draft is thought to be inferior to this draft and worse be filled with big men. Something the Sixers have enough of. So the trade makes sense for the Sixers to get the bird they can have now instead of the bird they might get later. The next step is now.
The Process Continues
This moves signals the move away from the loses we have seen from the Sixers and a move toward the further development of players. Jordan did not win a playoff series until his 4th season. I expect the Sixers to compete next year, make the playoffs, and lose. I am excited to see the team develop players both on the individual level and as a unit. With the core now in place the Sixers should be fun to watch despite the pains of a young team. My hope is this team does not become the Blazers of the early 2000s and the injuries stay away. The Sixers are different however in that they gave their players time to heal instead of rushing them back, something the Blazers did not do with Brandon Roy.
I look forward to watch the Philadelphia 76ers compete for a playoff spot in the 2017/18 season.