June 15, 2017
Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday between leading up to the draft, Rich Hofmann and I have examined a different potential scenario for the Sixers. Some days, there were trades. Other days, the Sixers remained at three, but the players left on the board were different due to various circumstances.
We've done 10 total so far and since there are only two teams ahead of the Sixers, we've pretty much run out of options.
But don't worry, we're not finished just yet. We'll round out the week with two slightly different takes – more on that in a minute – and then leading up to next week's draft, we'll recap the scenarios (half on Monday and half on Wednesday) with an emphasis on your feedback to each.
And now that we've got a little housekeeping out of the way, here's a reminder of the scenarios we've covered so far in case you've missed any:
How much would you give up for No. 1? | How far back is too far?
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
And now, our latest...
As previously mentioned, we're switching it up a bit today, and rather than tackling a specific scenario, we're going to try to answer a more open-ended question then we have to this point. Luckily, it's pretty straightforward:
What's your nightmare scenario?
In other words, what could the Sixers do with the third pick that would cause you to lose the most sleep at night?
If you read my Sixers BIG BOARD (if not, rectify that!) yesterday, you already know my answer. Of all the realistic scenarios at the top of the 2017 NBA Draft, the Sixers drafting De’Aaron Fox with the No. 3 overall pick is what I think they should try to avoid.
At the exit interviews, Bryan Colangelo and Brett Brown emphasized the need for shooting around Ben Simmons. They view Simmons as a point guard, even if Larry Brown thinks they’re morons.
“I think I’m going to stay with the theme that you can never have enough shooters when you have a point guard in Ben Simmons, who is a drive-and-kick, a distributor, a playmaker and he’s always looking to make a pass,” Colangelo said when talking about his team’s needs. “You want to have guys that are on the floor that can shoot shots. Catch-and-shoot, catch, fake, drive, drive-and-kick, all the things that are so important; pump-fake, step-side shot – it would be great to have more shooters on this team.”
This is why I believe the Sixers will ultimately stay away from Fox, the point guard in the top-eight prospects with the greatest questions about his perimeter shooting.
And I’m not talking about Fox’s fit with the Sixers, either, but the modern NBA. Here’s what ESPN’s Kevin Pelton recently wrote:
My recent story on the importance of the pull-up 3 for NBA point guards sharpened my concerns about Fox. Young point guards with similar difficulty shooting the 3 have tended to disappoint. Basically, a team drafting Fox in the top five is counting on him either figuring out the jumper or being an outlier on the scale of John Wall. [espn.com]
I like De’Aaron Fox and legitimately believe there is a path for him to become a really good point guard. But I’m not willing to make that bet at No. 3 with so many other good options on the board.
To me, this is an easy answer: Jayson Tatum. Allow me to explain.
I'd prefer the Sixers take a guard with the third pick, but if they're going to Josh Jackson, I'm fine with that. However, if Jackson is off the board, that means either Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball is available. And if that's the case, there's no way they should pick Tatum over either one of those guys.
If, instead, the first two picks go like many believe they will – Fultz to the Celtics and Ball to the Lakers – then the Sixers will have to decide between drafting the best player available or drafting for need. The latter means taking a guard, preferably one that can shoot from the outside. The former means Josh Jackson, not Tatum, who in my opinion is the third best small forward for the Sixers (behind Jackson and Florida State's Jonathan Isaac).
Of the eight players Rich had on his BIG BOARD – and, really, why haven't you read that already? – I have Tatum eighth. I don't necessarily think he's markedly worse than Isaac or Fox, but he checks off the fewest boxes for me when it comes to the combination of skill and fit.
Because this is an open-ended question, it doesn't really work as a poll. Therefore, just leave your nightmare scenario in the comments section and we'll include some in our wrap-up posts next week.
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