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June 21, 2017

2017 NBA Draft: Five trade targets for Sixers at end of first round

Bryan Colangelo was pretty tight-lipped Monday after the Sixers officially announced that they had traded for the top-overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Markelle Fultz will be known as “Number One” for a few more days, which I guess would make Lonzo Ball this guy.

However, Colangelo did go into some detail about what the Sixers could do with their FOUR second-round picks. Philadelphia currently holds the 36th, 39th, 46th, and 50th picks, which if you’re counting, is wayyyyyy too many to fit the current Sixers roster.

In fact, Colangelo even thinks the Sixers may not find a fit early in the second round.

“When you include the number-one selection it might be two or three spots that are in question,” Colangelo said. “You look at pick No. 36 and say, ‘Is anyone on the board that could possibly crack the rotation?’

"It’s unlikely, but if that presents an opportunity to select someone that we have some confidence in, sometimes players do slide through that first round and you get surprised.”

So, what can the Sixers possibly do with all of those picks? In the words of a wise man, they have some optionality. They could possibly draft and stash a player overseas (Isaiah Hartenstein, Jonah Bolden, etc.) for a couple of seasons. They could trade a pick for future value down the road. Or heck, they could simply sell the pick because they have too many.

There’s one more potential option, though, my favorite of the bunch. The Sixers could consolidate a couple of those picks to move up into the late first round or top of the second round and draft a player who they feel fits the current roster.

“You could potentially package them and move up to have a latter first-round pick that potentially is a better fit for the current fit for the current roster,” Colangelo said. “Maybe a sure fit as opposed to someone that could just be a question mark at 36.“

Even if it’s just a couple of spots, I would be all for that if the Sixers were sold on a specific player.

With that potential strategy in mind, here are five players that are projected to be drafted slightly before the Sixers pick in the second round who could make some sense in terms of a trade up.

Derrick White (6’5”, 200 lbs.), CG, Colorado

It feels like longer than this, but the Sixers brought in White for a workout two weeks ago.

“He brings a lot offensively,” Colangelo told reporters that day. “He’s got a knack for scoring the basketball, he’s got a handle. He can create shots. He does a lot of things.”

In general, I believe that the lower you get in the draft, the more you can factor fit into your evaluations. And White, who has a pretty cool story as a late bloomer who played his first three years in Division II before starring at Colorado this season, fits the mold as a combo guard who can make catch-and-shoot jumpers (.40 3P%) and play off both Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz.

Jawun Evans (6’1”, 177 lbs.), PG, Oklahoma State

I’m not as high on Evans’ fit with the Sixers because the Sixers appear set in terms of primary ball-handlers with Fultz, Simmons, and T.J. McConnell as a nice third option. But I’m still a big fan of Evans’ ability to run a pick-and-roll even if his lack of size makes it harder for him to finish once he gets into the lane.

And looking at some of the mock drafts, there is at least a small chance the Sixers wouldn’t even have to trade up for Evans:

Jordan Bell (6’9”, 227 lbs.), PF, Oregon

Also not a perfect fit for the Sixers as a versatile small-ball forward, Bell is the type of player who I would use to guard Ben Simmons.

“His spring, his sense of timing, coaches always want players that can guard pick-and-roll and guys who can switch, and he's going to give somebody a great asset in a versatile, defensive player,” Sixers VP of basketball administration Brandon Williams said after Bell’s workout.

Dario Saric, Ben Simmons, and a million centers are here. But I do think Bell has the type of skillset that translates deep into the NBA playoffs.

OG Anunoby (6’8”, 215 lbs.), SF/PF, Indiana

There’s a chance that Anunoby ends up a lottery pick, but I saw him drop to 20th in Draft Express’ latest mock draft. This could have something to do with the torn ACL that cut short his sophomore season at Indiana.

If you could start by giving Anunoby backup minutes on the wing behind Robert Covington, he has the chance to be a perfect complement to someone like Simmons. Anunoby needs to figure out the “three” part of 3-and-D, but he possesses excellent physical tools and the ability to switch everything:

Josh Hart (6’6”, 204 lbs.), SG, Villanova

What, you thought I was going to break the streak of including Hart in every single piece I write about the Sixers and the second round?

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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