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June 13, 2017

How the latest NBA Draft and free agency news and rumors affect the Sixers

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We’re only nine days away from the 2017 NBA Draft, and while the Sixers still have some late work to do in terms of bringing in potential No. 3 picks to Camden, there’s plenty of news and rumors circulating about Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball and others.

Let’s take a look at the latest:

Josh Jackson rumors

The Kansas swingman has been the subject of plenty of rumors over the past few days. First, there was a mysterious promise:

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman went on local radio in Boston and said that he believes the Sixers will take either Jackson or Jayson Tatum:

So I still think it’s going to be Fultz at one, Lonzo Ball at two, I think Magic [Johnson] is enamored by Lonzo Ball. and then I think three is a little bit of a tricky choice for Bryan Colangelo and the Sixers, do they go with Josh Jackson, do they go with Jayson Tatum? It’ll be one of those two, I have a feeling.

And then Goodman reported Jackson won’t work out with the Boston Celtics:

This was up by a report today that Jackson will have a second workout with the Lakers after already meeting with them in Sacramento last week:

How it affects the Sixers: The last decision is a bit of a head-scratcher, as the Celtics have the top pick. Do Jackson and his representation feel the Boston workout would be a waste of time with Markelle Fultz as the obvious pick? Do they have actually have a promise from the Sixers or Lakers and prefer to land in those situations instead of Boston? The world may never know

When it comes to Jackson's second workout in L.A., maybe the Lakers wanted to bring him to their practice facility as opposed to the meeting in Sacramento. There is so much smoke at this time of year, but the possibility of Los Angeles passing on Lonzo Ball continues to be floated.

Regardless, it’s a little strange that the Celtics haven’t been able to get Ball or Jackson in for a workout. The Sixers were involved in some trade rumors last year (specifically for Kris Dunn), but both Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown made an appearance at PCOM despite the Sixers looking pretty zeroed in on drafting Ben Simmons.

As for this year, the Sixers haven’t exactly brought in too many top prospects yet (from what we know of, anyway). That will very likely change over the next week, of course.

Ball workouts

Here are a couple of Lonzo Ball updates, via NBA.com’s David Aldridge and the L.A. Daily News’ Mark Medina:

A few sources tell me that Ball has not had great pre-Draft workouts. Now, to be fair, his game is not conducive to one on none workouts; that is, doing drills and things by himself out on the floor. Ball isn’t going to wow you with incredible athletic feats. Where he shines is with other players, when he can get them the ball in rhythm and on their hands with pinpoint passes. It’s ultimately hard to see Magic Johnson passing on such an L.A.-centric player like Ball.

How it affects the Sixers: As Aldridge wrote, the idea of the Ball struggling in individual workouts makes some sense. However, I would be shocked if an NBA team put too much stock into that workout. Basketball is still a 5-on-5 sport, and many of Ball’s best qualities (passing, deep shooting, general basketball IQ) shine through best in that setting. It’s not all that surprising Ball has been the subject of many rumors considering his celebrity status as a college player, and we’ll likely only get to see the Lakers show their cards on draft night.

Additional workout news

•    Markelle Fultz is going to meet with the Lakers, while De’Aaron Fox will work out in Los Angeles today:

The Lakers also brought in Dennis Smith Jr. for a workout “in case they trade down.”


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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