May 18, 2017
The Sixers landing the third pick and only the third pick was maybe a slightly below average outcome on lottery night all things considered. But it’s certainly not bad, as they’re still going to get their pick of a bunch of intriguing prospects not named Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball.
Or, as Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said on Wednesday, they could do something else with the pick.
“Is there a big difference between 4 and 3 or had we moved back to 5 which was the case via The Process, I think it’s good to be at 3,” Colangelo said. “And we’re excited about the pick, we think we’re going to add a great player. Or we’re going to have some leverage in discussions with other teams about certain situations that we might entertain.”
So, like trading the pick away?
“I’m not saying I will. What we say all the time is we leave all our options open and we’ll look at all the scenarios that can play out with respect to the value of that draft asset.”
As a wise man once said, the Sixers have optionality. They can go a few different directions with this pick, and as we wrote about yesterday, the consensus third-best player in this draft doesn’t necessarily fit the Sixers’ most pressing need.
In terms of trading, this would leave a couple of options:
• Moving back: Let’s say the Sixers want Malik Monk. Maybe they’re higher on him as a prospect and love the idea of a potential elite three-point shooter playing off Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. This would not be the craziest idea in the world, and you can imagine this scenario with someone like Jonathan Isaac as well.
But maybe they also think Monk/Isaac will be available a few picks later. Would they be able to swing a trade for someone who wants to move up and get their guy?
Unfortunately, this isn’t the NFL where draft compensation almost always does the trick. “You want to move up from 5 to 3, Sacramento? Give us your pick, next year’s first, and a fourth and we’ll call the deal in.” The NBA doesn’t work that way, and it’s not too common for a team to move back in the Top-10.
(The logical trade would be 3 for 5 and 10, but the Kings likely would rebuff that offer.)
The Sixers still should want to make a pick in this lottery. It would be interesting to see what type of compensation another team could attach to their pick, which leads us to…
• Trading for established players: And maybe there could be a combination of the two, a pick and an established player the Sixers could use.
It seems like the Celtics are going to be rumored, just like they were at the trade deadline, to deal the No. 1 pick for a potential two-way star like Paul George or Jimmy Butler that matches up better with their current core. Would the Sixers be able to land a player of that caliber with the third overall pick? Probably not, but hey, we’re just running through hypotheticals here.
You do have to be careful going this route. Wizards coach Flip Saunders called the move to trade the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila and Oleksiy Pecherov to the Minnesota for Mike Miller and Randy Foye “almost a no-brainer.”
Oops. The No. 7 pick of the draft they traded out of was Steph Curry.
• Moving up: This one seems less likely to me. The Celtics don’t need any more assets and the Lakers love Lonzo.
My guess at this early point is that the Sixers will take Jackson if Fultz and Ball are off the board, imperfect fit and all. A lot of people think the Sixers “control the draft” from their position, and whatever option they take should impact everyone else directly below them.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann
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