It is not a huge surprise that the Sixers ended up with the third overall pick in the NBA lottery. It is a huge surprise that they got there via the “pick swap” that former GM Sam Hinkie traded for several years ago with the Kings. Without that swap right, the Kings would have had the third pick and the Sixers the fifth pick.
In other words, Sam Hinkie — that same guy whom the Sixer owners kicked out — has once again shown that he knew what he was doing. While he could not have predicted this particular outcome, he knew how to maximize the odds of the Sixers building something special over time.
So what will current GM Colangelo do? Hmmm …. the first pick went to the Celtics, who do not need the guy who most say should be selected first – Markelle Fultz. The Sixers do need a guy like Fultz. One avenue to explore – trading up in order to get the right to pick Fultz.
What is the big deal about Fultz? Next year, the ball will be in Ben Simmons hands most of the time. Ben is a great passer and can bring out the best in a guy who knows how to move without the ball – a guy who can cut. shoot from the outside and finish strong at the rim. That guy is Fultz.
But the Sixers don’t need to trade up. With the third pick, they are likely to nab a high-quality guard or swing man. In other words, they really can’t lose at this position.
And what about the Lakers pick that did not convey? The Sixers will get the Lakers top pick next year – unprotected. Where will the Lakers pick next year? My best guess – no matter who the Lakers pick, they will not gel as a team next year. So there is a good chance that their next year’s top pick will be a lottery pick.
And keep in mind that the Sixers get the Kings first round pick the year after that. The Kings are a train wreck in motion, having given up DeMarcus Cousins for practically nothing. Their fifth pick this year is not likely to change that. And even if they get the top pick next year, it is highly unlikely that a rookie will turn the team around. Their 2019 pick — that goes to the Sixers unprotected — is likely to be a lottery pick as well.
So over the next two years, the Sixers are likely to keep pulling in high-quality talent via lottery picks in addition to the picks they get on their own merit or lack thereof. So even if the Sixers make the playoffs next year — and there is a good chance that they will — they are going to keep getting great talent from the draft. Or they can use one or more of those picks as trade bait.
Thank you Sam!