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June 27, 2017

Sixers Mailbag: Why are the Sixers selling multiple draft picks?

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Over the weekend, I teased a two-part Sixers mailbag that I did not deliver over the weekend. To right this injustice, I’m going to answer every question that I received in a two-part mailbag today. Let’s not waste time and get this thing started.

The Sixers’ chances for a Christmas game are better than at any point since their last appearance back in 2001 (by the way, I don’t remember this game at all). There are five games on December 25th now and the Sixers are finally pretty attractive to a national TV audience. It’s no coincidence that their slogan is no longer a plea for people to notice them.

As long as their young guys develop, the Sixers should get a Christmas game sooner rather than later. When sizing up their chances this year, it’s hard to overstate the appeal that Joel Embiid the basketball player and personality has for the NBA. Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons are a big deal, but the Sixers figure to be on national television far more than last year mostly because of JoJo.

Let’s take a look at the teams from last year and their chances at another Christmas game: Warriors (duh), Cavs (duh again), Lakers and Clippers (yep, last game of the day), San Antonio (likely), Oklahoma City (MVP!), Minnesota (you would think so), Chicago (the equivalent of coal), Boston (ehhhh), and New York (not on merit, but they host a lot of these things).

My guess is three of those teams don’t get the call this Christmas. There are a few teams other than the Sixers with big-time stars (Harden, Wall, Giannis) that could reasonably replace them, though. After crunching the numbers, I give the Sixers a 44.7 percent chance at a Christmas game this season.

With the questionable jumper, not nearly as good. Good thing he’s not 6’3”!

Sometimes I’ve heard 6’10” Rondo as a dismissive comp for Simmons, but here’s the thing: Rajon Rondo is only 6-foot-1. Can you imagine how much more he would be capable of, how many more passing angles he could create if he was a full nine inches taller? 6’10” Rondo could be an elite NBA player for all we know.

I don’t follow every ownership group that closely — The rebuilding Bulls selling Jordan Bell to the Warriors seemed like an odd move from afar — but this current Sixers ownership certainly has a reputation of saving money in a way that might even make Lil Dicky blush.

For example, the Sixers have exploited a now-closed loophole in the CBA and paid less than the actual salary floor throughout The Process. Josh Harris is on record saying that he’s willing to pay the tax when the team is a contender, but the Sixers are likely a few years away from that again being a realistic possibility. They did amnesty Elton Brand during the ill-fated Andrew Bynum summer, if I remember correctly.

As someone who has decidedly never worked in a front office, it was interesting to read former Sixers exec Ben Falk on where that money goes:

In general, I don’t like the idea of selling picks for cash. Just yesterday, we wrote about how the Sixers roster is already pretty full heading into free agency. I totally understand that the Sixers probably like Nik Stauskas and Justin Anderson more than Sterling Brown. But if that is the case, why not load up on international prospects or try to trade the pick for a future second (or even a swap!)? If not, would it be the worst thing ever for Brown to push for a roster spot in the summer and training camp?

It’s hard to make a definitive statement when we don’t know exactly how that money is used, but I generally don’t agree with the Sixers selling multiple picks for cash. This is especially true when every other draft pick they made outside of Fultz will be used as a stash.

You’re a city of Sixers supporters, which means that an exciting move made by Colangelo was always going to be received well.

As for my opinion of Colangelo, he definitely he assuaged some fears I had about accelerating the team’s timeline with a win-now move. He still needs to avoid bad long-term money in free agency, but trading up for Fultz was excellent from a value, fit, and timeline standpoint. NBA general managers tend to make only one or two major moves per year, and I thought he nailed this one. As I wrote the other day, Colangelo is going to be right or wrong about Fultz for what I feel are the right reasons.

Jawn, my good man, is not the only the person who had this take over the weekend: Why can’t we call them, wait for it, the Sixers?

Come on, good nicknames are awesome! Do you only refer to him as Julius Erving? Do you sound out Giannis Antetokounmpo every time? Feds is a bad nickname, but I don’t understand why we want to close the door on a good one being produced organically.


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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