In this years NBA Draft lottery the Philadelphia 76ers received the third overall pick. Watching the Live Draft Lottery coverage the immediate reaction of Philadelphia was indifferent at best, disappointed at worst. The attraction to the 1st overall pick is obvious, the media coverage for weeks, people saying “The Philadelphia 76ers are on the clock,” and the option to draft anyone in the Draft Pool. Although the third overall pick is not as luxurious or exciting as the first overall pick, it is perfect for the 76ers.
The 3rd pick in this draft is exactly what the 76ers needed. The Sixers ended the season with the third worst record in the NBA at 18-64, meaning that in a regular (non-lottery) draft system, similar to the NFL, they would have the 3rd overall pick. The Timberwolves rightfully have the 1st overall pick in this years draft after having the worst record in the NBA (16-66) and the Lakers (21-61) snuck up to the 2nd overall pick thanks to the lottery system. They will be deciding between the two big men, Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor. The many mock drafts that have come out since the lottery took place have these two young Centers alternating between the first and second picks. This is great for the 76ers. Joel Embiid will be starting for the Sixers next year at Center, Nerlens Noel recently named first-team all rookie, and Dario Saric two time winner of the FIBA Europe Young Men’s Player of the Year Award and future Sixer; these are the names of the young, exciting, and talented big men that the Sixers have drafted recently. Having the 3rd overall pick eliminates the temptation to draft another big man to this roster.
Hypothetically, if the Sixers had the 1st or 2nd overall pick they would be forced to “take the best player available” who are both Centers, as mentioned earlier. Following the decision to draft another big man, likely would have been a trade getting rid of Nerlens Noel in order to give the new big man a starting roster spot. This would have left us exactly where we were in the previous season, but having a new face to ultimately replace Nerlens Noel. The Sixers having the third overall pick gives the team the opportunity to draft not only “the best player available” but also improve the quality of the roster and address the problems with the team, the guards.
The Sixers now have the task of deciding who to draft once the obvious one-two punch of Towns and Okafor are off the board. The two likely picks for the 76ers are D’Angelo Russell, Point Guard out of Ohio State (much more likely) and Emmanuel Mudiay, Point Guard out of Congo. D’Angelo Russell has the potential to grow into a franchise PG in the NBA and is the man that the 76ers are expected to draft. He is only 19, which gives him time to grow, but he is NBA ready. He commanded a pro-like offense at Ohio State and will mesh well with a young 76ers team. The Sixers are in desperate need of a legitimate starting Point Guard since the trades of both Jrue Holiday and Michael Carter-Williams, this is likely how they will fill that need. I’m well aware that the NBA Draft does not take place until June 25th, but unless Sam Hinkie has some crazy elaborate scheme, I say “Welcome to Philadelphia D’Angelo Russell!”