June 23, 2017
After a blockbuster trade last weekend to move up to the No. 1 spot, Thursday night’s NBA Draft got off to a predictable start, with the Sixers taking Washington guard Markelle Fultz.
The decision to select Fultz received near unanimous praise, as he was widely considered not only the best player in the class, but also the best fit for the Sixers. From there, things didn’t quite go as planned – Philly entered the night with four second-round picks in addition to No. 1 – with Bryan Colangelo trading back into the first round to grab Latvian center Anzejs Pasecniks. In the second round, they’ll keep two of the four players they selected – forwards Jonah Bolden and Mathias Lessort – with the other two already reportedly being shipped out in separate trades.
To recap, the Sixers 2017 Draft haul looks like this:
1. G Markelle Fultz, Washington
25. C Anzejs Pasecniks, Herbalife Gran Canaria (Spain)
36. PF Jonah Bolden, FMP Beograd (Serbia)
50. PF Mathias Lessort, Nanterre 92 (France)
So how did they do?
There will be plenty of grades handed out – and we’ll get to those in a minute – but first, here’s a look at what Colangelo had to say when asked to give his team a grade:
"I don’t necessarily want to give our team a grade. We’re pleased with the outcome and results. I’ll probably tune into a few websites tomorrow just to see exactly how we did, and then try to prove them wrong if it’s a bad grade. But overall I was proud of the effort put forth by everyone in the room and we were very well prepared for the Draft, which was always something that you want to feel walking out of there. You knew exactly what you had hoped to accomplish and I feel like we got a lot done today.
“I don’t really have a grade to give, but we feel like we performed well tonight."
Guess what, Bryan? You won’t have to worry about proving too many people wrong – the internet seems to agree with you. And if you need to tune into a website to see how well you did, why not make it ours?
We’ve got all your grades right here:
1. Markelle Fultz: A
The Process is complete. 76ers (potentially) now have most fearsome young trio in league.
25. Anzejs Pasecniks (via Magic): B-
Pure upside here. Long-term play. If he can develop an outside shot, this will be a nice pick.
36. Jonah Bolden: A-
From Australia, played at UCLA and in Serbia. Very interesting stretch-four prospect.
50. Mathias Lessort: B
Coming off a solid season in France. Impressive athlete and plays with a lot of energy. [cbssports.com]
1. Markelle Fultz – Value: A | Fit: B
For the third time in the last four years, the 76ers have walked away from the draft with the consensus top player available. Fultz is a do-everything guard who can run a team, score at all three levels of the floor, and (hopefully) play better defense than he did at Washington. He’s the final piece in what could be a dominant Big Three with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, although all of them are best with the ball in their hands. A pass-first guard like Lonzo Ball might have been a better fit, but Fultz provides first-option insurance in case either Simmons or Embiid goes down again. The Process faithful can bask in the #RTArmageddon tonight. They have earned it.
25. Anzejs Pasecniks (via Magic) – Value: B | Fit: C
Even with Sam Hinkie gone, the Sixers still can’t get enough big men, as they traded a future first-rounder and second-rounder to get back into the first round and grab Pasecniks. One of the biggest risers in the pre-draft process, the Latvian started moving up draft boards after an impressive pro day, when he displayed uncommon agility for a 7-foot-2 player. He will probably stay in Spain next season, which is good since there won’t be any minutes for him at center, even if Embiid can’t stay healthy next season. While he has good touch for a big man, he doesn’t block a lot of shots and he will have to continue improving defensively before he comes over. [theringer.com]
Imagining what this draft almost became for the Sixers is the best way to appreciate what they got instead. Fultz is perfect next to Simmons. He's a smooth combo guard who's got the highest floor in the draft, and arguably the highest ceiling. His game is somewhere between Brandon Roy and James Harden. The passing of Simmons should make Fultz even harder to contain off the ball, and with Fultz around to spread the floor, Simmons's weakness are mitigated and his strengths should be even more dangerous. Fultz is the No. 1 pick who makes last year's No. 1 pick even more valuable. [si.com]
1. Markelle Fultz: A+
The Sixers paid a steep price to acquire the No. 1 pick from the Boston Celtics by parting with this year's No. 3 selection and another first-rounder to be conveyed in the future (which season depends on how the complicated protections shake out). But Fultz has been the overwhelming favorite to come off the board first throughout the draft process, and they shouldn't regret giving up so much to move away from perpetual tanking with another potential superstar.
Philly trusted The Process for a long time. Now, it's ready to see some results.
25. Anzejs Pasecniks (via Magic): C+
The Philadelphia 76ers moved to acquire this pick from the Orlando Magic, but it's tough to see him getting any playing time over Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, Jahlil Okafor and the other bigs operating in the City of Brotherly Love. He's 21 years old and 7'2", but he desperately needs to add strength before he can get through an NBA season.
36. Jonah Bolden: A
Make no mistake about it: Bolden is a first-round talent, regardless of how ready he is to contribute in 2017-18. He's also paid for a buyout with Zvezda in the Adriatic League, per The Ringer's Jonathan Tjarks, which means he should be wearing a Philadelphia uniform right away.
50. Mathias Lessort: B-
Though the French small forward entered the night as one of the international prospects with a solid chance to rise from the second round into the first, he likely won't spend much time with the Philadelphia 76ers in the near future. They just don't need another oversized (6'9") forward with so many already on the roster, and it's in Mathias Lessort's best interest to develop elsewhere. [bleacherreport.com]
The Sixers turned a few spare assets and the No. 3 overall pick into Fultz, the most sure-fire prospect in the draft, rounding out what could be a fantastic young roster if everyone stays healthy.
Sam Hinkie should be proud. [foxsports.com]
1. Markelle Fultz: A
There wasn't really much doubt whom the 76ers were trading up for when they swapped picks with and gave a future first-rounder to the Boston Celtics. Fultz is a particularly great fit for Philadelphia because he can play off the ball more than many point guards, which will allow elite-passing forward Ben Simmons to run the offense and Joel Embiid to have many options in pick-and-rolls. Fultz is the most likely future star in this class, and he was the right choice at No. 1.
25. Anzejs Pasecniks (via Magic): A-
The 76ers traded a future first-rounder to the Orlando Magic for this pick, USA TODAY Sports' Jeff Zillgitt reports. Pasecniks is one of the very best foreign prospects in this foreign-light draft. He likely will stay overseas, but he could become a very good backup center or maybe even a starter. It's not a need at all for the 76ers, but they have enough second-rounders and probably would rather use two-way contracts on NBA-ready players while stashing Pasecniks for now.
36. Jonah Bolden: A
Bolden thrived in the Adriatic League, one of the best in the world, after leaving UCLA. He's been everywhere, man. And he's athletic, tough and improving in his skills. Bolden and Ben Simmons are quite an exciting combination for Australians and 76ers fans. Some had him as high as the teens on their draft board, and his potential fits in with a team that could be very good in just two years.
50. Mathias Lessort: A
Lessort could have been a first-rounder. Clint Capela's former teammate has been on NBA radars for a while and is strong and tough. He'll probably stay in Europe, which is just what the 76ers need at this point. [usatoday.com]
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