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May 22, 2017

Sixers draft scenario du jour: The price of moving up to No. 1 overall

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There's a month left until the Sixers are on the clock with the third-overall pick, and that means we need something to kill time during the weeks leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft. 

Every 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.

If you want to take a look back at our first one, you can do that here. Otherwise, let's get right into it:


76ERS RECEIVE: No. 1 overall pick in 2017 NBA Draft
CELTICS RECEIVE: No. 3 overall pick in 2017, Sixers' own first-round pick in 2018, Jahlil Okafor


Rich Hofmann

So, let’s get this one out of the way: No-brainer for the Sixers, but there is a 99.9 percent chance (if certainty freaks you out!) that Boston wouldn't do this trade. 

I will be interesting to see what Okafor’s trade value is this summer, as it sure seems like Bryan Colangelo wouldn’t mind moving the former No. 3 overall pick. Unfortunately, because of the Duke product’s underwhelming on-court play the last two seasons, his value is almost assuredly nowhere near this high. 

There is a chance we are on the right track, though. Replace the Sixers pick with next year’s Lakers pick and Okafor with Dario Saric and… well, I still don’t think Boston makes the deal but it’s a competitive offer at least. I believe Bill Simmons floated that idea on a recent podcast.

Of the two picks, I believe the Lakers unprotected first-rounder is going to be more valuable, while Saric looks like he belongs in most NBA rotations and is making relative peanuts for the next few years. Seems like a lot, right? Well, if you’re confident in pairing Markelle Fultz with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons for the next decade (*knocks on wood*), then the Sixers would be set with a juicy Kings first-round pick still coming a few years down the road. 

Problem is, I think Boston is just going to draft Fultz.

Matt Mullin

At first glance, this doesn't seem like it's going to be enough to move up to No. 1. But like the Sixers, who with the third pick would likely have to decide between best available (Josh Jackson) and best fit (someone else), the Celtics probably view a guy like Josh Jackson as a better fit, while Fultz is widely regarded as the best player available.

Unlike the Sixers, however, Boston is much closer to winning a title and likely at a point where it can afford to draft for need rather than BPA. But if the Celtics truly believe the Lakers are going to take Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick, the Celtics can trade back with the Sixers and still get Jackson, in addition to an extra 2018 first-rounder and a big man they were previously interested in acquiring in Jah.

But the Sixers aren't simply going to be negotiating with Danny Ainge and the Celtics, they're also going to be bidding against several other teams who also desire Fultz and the No. 1 pick. So they might have to sweeten the pot a little bit. But I'd stop short of making this deal that Derek Bodner suggested as an alternative:

Luckily, they have options. The Sixers could offer the Lakers' 2018 pick (if Boston believes they'll have a worse record this season). They could also throw in one of their 300 second-round picks over the next few years. But Bodner believes none of that will be enough as long as Okafor is the player involved.

As currently constructed, I would make this deal if I were Colangelo. I'd even be willing to swap out the Sixers' 2018 pick with the Lakers' pick (and throw in a second-rounder). Will it be enough to get it done? Maybe. Don't forget that while other teams may have a better overall package, the immediate cost for the Celtics – moving back two spots and still getting the player who best fits your roster – is less than with any of their competition, so that should give them an edge.

Still, two firsts and Jah is like not likely going to lure No. 1 away from Ainge. And giving up too much more than this would be foolish for the Sixers.


And don't forget to leave your feedback in the comments section below.


•  Swapping picks with the Kings ... again

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