June 16, 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.
But today, we reach our final scenario. We've now published 12 in total, and while there's still a chance something else happens, we're willing to bet that one of our scenarios plays out next Thursday night.
But don't worry, we're not finished just yet. Next week, we'll recap the all our scenarios (half on Monday and half on Wednesday) with an emphasis on your feedback to each. Remember, part of the point of this exercise was to see what Sixers fans wanted to happen on in Round 1. And now, thanks to today's scenario, you'll really get to tell us how you feel.
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:
What's the worst that could happen?
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 final scenario...
Last time, we identified our worst possible (but still slightly realistic) draft-day scenario. This time, we're going the other way and asking, "What's the ideal outcome for the Sixers in the first round of the draft?"
And, don't forget, it has to be somewhat grounded in reality...
If we go back to my big board from the other day, I believe that the best-case scenario for the Sixers is Washington guard Markelle Fultz dropping to the third-overall pick and the Sixers scooping him up. I also don’t think that will happen.
Among the more plausible scenarios for the Sixers, UCLA combo guard Lonzo Ball falling to No. 3 is what I believe is the best case. Where the Sixers need to improve is their 30th-ranked offense, and there is no prospect in this draft who makes their teammates better by simply doing little things than Lonzo.
We have talked a lot about the Sixers’ culture over the past few years, and Lonzo would bring a culture of passing. As I have written, some of the passing sequences with Ball, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric could be special. As long as everyone stayed healthy (admittedly a big ask for these guys), the Sixers could become must-see TV as early as next season.
To me, this is actually harder than identifying my worst-case scenario.
While I agree with Rich that Ball falling to three is the best realistic possibility for the Sixers if the choose to remain in their current position. But they have options, and the one I like the best is not only the first one we tackled in this series, but also one that's picked up some steam in the last week: I'd like to see the Sixers trade the third pick to the Kings for the fifth and 10th picks.
Assuming the first two picks go as expected (Fultz, then Ball) and the Kings take De'Aaron Fox with the third pick, and Josh Jackson goes to the Suns at four, that means Malik Monk, Dennis Smith Jr., Jonathan Isaac, and Jayson Tatum would all be available to the Sixers at five.
Then there are four team who have to pick before the Sixers go back on the clock at 10. Could one of those players fall to 10? Possibly, even if it's not likely. But imagine this scenario:
Sixers take Jonathan Isaac with the fifth pick. The next three picks, in whatever order, are Tatum, Monk, and Frank Ntilikina. That means there's a chance Smith is still on the board for the Mavs with the ninth pick. If that's the case, Bryan Colangelo better be on the phone with Dallas immediately trying to move up one spot to get Smith – and he's got the assets to do so.
That would be a hell of a first round in my opinion. To recap:
Sure, there are slight variations of that in which I think the Sixers would make out better, but since I'm already stretching it in terms of how realistic this one is, I'll settle for the Sixers getting an athletic wing and a guard with arguably the highest ceiling in the draft. Even if it doesn't play out exactly like that, I still think there's more than enough talent in the middle of that top 10 for the Sixers to get tremendous value there.
But, hey, a man can dream, right?
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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