June 12, 2017
Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday between now and the draft, Rich Hofmann and I will examine a different potential scenario for the Sixers. Some days, there will be trades. Other days, the Sixers may remain at three, but the players left on the board could be different due to another trade or a surprise pick.
And since there are only two teams ahead of them, we should be able to get through a good amount of the most likely possibilities before June 22.
After we've outlined the scenario and offered our thoughts on the likelihood it actually happens and whether or not it should happen, we'll ask you for your thoughts on it. We also encourage you to elaborate in the comments section. When it gets closer to the draft, we'll put the results together in a single post to show you which outcome fans are most hopeful to see play out.
Here's a look back at the scenarios we've already covered:
How far should they be willing to trade back?
Swapping picks, guards w/ Magic | Trading for a PG who won't cost much
What if Jackson isn't atop their board? | What if Lakers pass on Ball?
Third pick and more for Klay | Shipping Dario to Boston for top pick?
An initial offer for No. 1 | Selling 3rd pick back to Kings ... with interest
Let's get right into it:
On Friday, Rich and I tried to figure out how far the Sixers should be willing to trade back in the first round. This time, we're going to examine the exact opposite scenario. The question – How much should the Sixers be willing to give up for the first pick? – is simple enough. The answer, not so much.
Let's take a look.
Just like our last draft scenario, this question depends on how you view the current crop of prospects.
While it’s maybe not the loaded draft that we first heard about, the Top-10 players are probably better than what we see in a normal year. Markelle Fultz is clearly the top player and I think he would be excellent playing next to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. With those three players, the Sixers would have a high-upside core that should also mesh well together. Boston should take Fultz with the top overall pick, by the way.
I would trade a lot for Fultz, and the Sixers have as many assets as any team besides maybe Boston (which is why they should just draft Fultz). But the depth of the class also means that I wouldn’t necessarily sell the farm outside of Simmons and Embiid for Fultz. Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson and everyone else in that range aren’t players the Sixers should be running away from.
Let’s call my limit the third overall pick, Dario Saric (I swear I’m not trying to trade him!), and the 2019 Sacramento Kings pick.
One of the problems with doing a series of posts (like we're doing with these draft scenarios) is that I've already gone on the record and said that a deal similar to the one Rich proposed above would be a little too pricey for me. Even though that was two and a half weeks ago, which in 2017 feels more like two and a half months ago, I'm going to stand by what I said way back then – I wouldn't trade the third pick, Saric and the Sixers' own 2018 pick for the rights to Markelle Fultz.
So where would I draw the line?
That actually may be different today than it was just a few days ago. With reports that the Lakers may not be entirely sold on Lonzo Ball after some felt he was out of shape at his pre-draft workout – for what it's worth, both Rich and I are on the record as saying we'd take him if the Lakers don't – the Sixers may not be forced to pick between Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum if they remain at three. And as I've already said – again, this is all on the record – if the Sixers are going to move out of their current position, I'd rather see them move in the other direction.
Personally, I don't think I'd be willing to part with Saric, who is a finalist for Rookie of the Year along with Joel Embiid, in any deal with the Celtics. Here's how I explained it the last time Saric came up in one of these:
Unlike [Jahlil] Okafor, Saric has a role and fit on this team moving into the next stage of the rebuild. Would I give him up for Markelle Fultz? Of course. But that's not what the Sixers would be doing by making this deal. Instead, they would essentially be giving up a Rookie of the Year finalist for whatever you see as the difference between Fultz and Josh Jackson (or whichever player they're eyeing at No. 3). Either way – whether they trade The Homie or not – they'd likely still be in position to get one or the other. I hope that makes sense.
Unfortunately, Okafor isn't going to get it done, which means I'm really going to struggle to put together a package that Danny Ainge and the Celtics would approve. But I guess I still have to answer the question.
For the first-overall pick, I'd be willing to give up Jahlil Okafor, the third pick in 2017, the 39th pick in 2017, and the Sixers' top pick in 2018 (their own or the Lakers, whichever is better).
If the Celtics say no, so be it.
And don't forget to leave your feedback in the comments section below.
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