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Opinion: Three NBA Draft scenarios for the Sixers

By Josh Landsburg, Sports Talk Philly staff 

The Sixers have a bevy of picks coming up in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night, six to be exact.  They have the most picks of any team in the draft. Will they keep all of them? I think probably not.  They don’t need that many players to fill out their roster unless they stash the majority of the picks overseas, which is a possibility.

 The Sixers could go in many different directions here. They could package some of their picks to move up higher in the draft or to trade for a player like Kawhi Leonard.  They could stand pat and make all their picks and stash some overseas as aforementioned. They have some options.

The title of the article is “What I think…” though, so I will illustrate that for you.  I am going to give you a couple different options. I’m not sure what the Sixers are going to do, but I know what I would do if I were them. However, some of what I would do would involve another team cooperating.  Therefore, I’ll give you three scenarios in order of what I think they should do.

Scenario Number One: Trade Picks and Players to Acquire Kawhi Leonard

According to numerous reports Kawhi has requested a trade to the Lakers, but I don’t think the Spurs will acquiesce to that because not only are they in the same conference, but they are one of their rivals, even though the Lakers haven’t been good in years.

 I believe if San Antonio is going to trade him, they will trade him to an Eastern Conference foe, and why not have Gregg Popovich do business with his former protégé in Brett Brown. The Sixers have the pieces to get Leonard, but it will take a haul, but I’m willing to do it for arguably a top five player in the league.  I believe it will take some sort of package of Markelle Fultz, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and one or maybe even two draft picks.

Now, I don’t think they will have to give all of that up, I’m just saying it’s some sort of package involving most of those pieces. If the Sixers could somehow figure a way to keep Saric, I would be more than willing to give up the 10th and 26th picks, in addition to Covington and Fultz for Leonard.  Trading for Leonard increases the chances that the Sixers could sign LeBron James.  I honestly don’t know what it would take for sure, but I know it would be a haul because the Spurs asking price is high, and the Sixers have to compete with Boston, who also has the pieces to deal for a player like Leonard.  This is what I would do if I were the Sixers.

Scenario Number Two: Trade Picks to Move Up in the First Round

The Sixers have six picks as I mentioned, two in the first round and four in the second round.  

They are currently in the 10th spot, and although there are some good players that will probably still be available then, a lot of the cream of the crop will be off the board.  One player I have my eye on is Trae Young. The Sixers need shooters, and in most mock drafts, Young is off the board by 10, so I would trade up to try and get Young. There are some questions with Young, but any time you can average close to 30 points a game in college, you are okay in my book.  I’ll be honest that I don’t know for sure if Young will succeed at the NBA level, but I’m interested in the Sixers giving him a shot.

Scenario Number Three: Stand Pat, “3 and D,” and Stash Overseas

If the Sixers use all six picks in this draft, which I don’t believe they will do, here’s how I would draft.  I would focus on “3 and D” guys like Mikal Bridges, Miles Bridges and Lonnie Walker IV, who are players that can hit the 3-point shot and play defense, with both picks 10 and 26.

Then, I would draft international players in the second round that I can stash overseas.  There are a lot of good international players in this draft, and with Brett Brown coaching under “Pop” all those years, he hopefully learned a little something about finding gems in the second round.

Final Thoughts on the Draft Regarding Pick 10

There have been plenty of busts at this spot and some good ones too.  Let’s look back to 1998, and I’ll highlight only the good ones for the Sixers sake, thinking positively.

1998 was probably the best number 10 pick over the last 20 years in Paul Pierce. 1999 was a good year too with Jason Terry.

Then a bust in 2000 (Keyon Dooling), and then 2001 saw Joe Johnson picked who is still playing in the NBA.

2002 saw Caron Butler selected, also a solid pick at the time.  Then we skip to 2005 when Andrew Bynum was selected who was good for the beginning of his career and then turned out to be a bust. 2007 was Spencer Hawes who had a somewhat OK career, seeing time with the Sixers at one point.  

2008 saw Brook Lopez selected, who has had a very solid career on a bunch of teams, although often injured, to this point. 2009 was Brandon Jennings, also a good player.  2010 saw All-Star and potential “wink wink” future 76er selected in Paul George.

2013 was C.J. McCollum, who has been solid for Portland. And then we’ll stop there as the rest of the players are too recent to determine if they will be busts or not.  

So, over 16 years, 10 players turned out to be busts, and some of were even All-Stars and some of them future Hall of Famers.

There is good history at the 10th pick for the Sixers.  As the draft closes in on Thursday keep an eye out for trades as well.  In 2014, the Sixers traded Elfrid Payton to the Orlando Magic in a package that included Dario Saric, so that worked out pretty well for the Sixers too.  


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