How long has it been since the 76ers have had this kind of buzz around them? How long has it been since your team, your town, your Philadelphia 76ers have made you genuinely happy? When was the last time that something great was going to happen for Philadelphia basketball? It has been a long and winding road, in which we’ve seen a fearless leader in Sam Hinkie implement a plan and not be around long enough to see it come into fruition, similar to the biblical story of Moses leading everyone; but never being allowed into the Promised Land. That is where we are, in the midst of a night of biblical proportions. This is a team that has not won more than 20 games in a season in the last three seasons, this is a team that has been kicked while it was down, robbed by Andrew Bynum, mocked on ESPN, and plagued by injuries. This night, will make you forget the atrocities we have seen, we will forget that Joel Embiid and Dario Saric weren’t here, we will forget that no free agents wanted to come here, we will forget the idea of “Tanking for Wiggins.” This is not the Cleveland Browns of the NBA, we are not a joke, the Philadelphia Sixers were once home to some of the greatest to ever play the game and tonight is the night in which that reality comes back and the city of Philadelphia gets a real basketball team.
Wilt Chamberlain, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley, Julius Erving, and Ben Simmons; that is how high I would like to place the bar. At the end of Ben Simmons career, I want him to fit into that list. Analysts are comparing this draft to the Greg Oden and Kevin Durant draft, that is not what this is, this is the new wave. This draft will be league altering for years to come, certainly not a two player draft, certainly filled with talent across the board, dare I compare it to the 2003 NBA Draft. The 76ers aren’t drafting a guy tonight, they are drafting “THE GUY” Ben Simmons isn’t Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, or Karl-Anthony Towns, he’s Lebron James. The size, sheer athleticism, his demeanor, even the reservations and hangups people have; shooting, mental toughness, and leadership. These were things everyone questioned about Lebron until essentially a couple days ago when he won a ring in Cleveland.
Tonight has interesting moving pieces as well, I hope that the Sixers value Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor as much as I do, they are so young with so much growth and potential ahead of them. Nerlens is a fan favorite, because he has been here the longest of any relevant player, and is a defensive force. Noel is the only player on the roster who has proven themselves for more than a year. I believe that either Jahlil or Nerlens will be traded to the Celtics, but I firmly believe that is a step in the wrong direction. Trades I would go after during this draft involve giving anyone up who isn’t Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, or Dario Saric; literally anyone else to get a veteran big and a proven point guard. The sheer magnitude of tonight is huge for Philadelphia sports, players in the draft have been saying they “want to play in Philly” when is the last time you heard an NBA player say that? Look at that list of names:
Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric
Why don’t people want to see what this looks like? Three of them will be Rookies, one of them has only played 50 games, and the other is Nerlens Noel. This can be our core, we can let them grow for a year, see what they are working with and then next year when the cap goes up we can be big spenders in the market, also remember we have the Lakers first overall pick next year, as well as the right to swap with the Kings. We are rich in resources and when you’re rich it is so much easier to stay rich. I don’t think the 76ers will make the 24th or 26th pick this year, I want to see those pieces moved to come up in the draft or acquire Ricky Rubio, Taj Gibson, D’Angelo Russell, Marcus Smart, or someone of that caliber. The drafting of Ben Simmons alone makes me think that this team can win 30 games next year. Rejoice and be happy, the 76ers are climbing into relevance! Sixers fans, let’s relax and Trust the Process.