Another offseason, another clean slate for the forever fickle Sixers. This time, however the lottery balls made the start of the offseason a truly happy new year.
The Philadelphia Sixers emerged from Tuesday night’s NBA Draft lottery with the number three overall pick,. Philadelphia finished with the third-worst record in the NBA last year, so their pick neither fell more advanced from the team’s standing. According to NJ.com, there was the greatest chance (at 26.5%) that the Sixers end up with the 5 pick. Though the Sixers had a chance to obtain the Lakers’ and Heat picks, lottery protections will push those picks to next year’s draft.
With the third pick,the Sixers may have received a silver lining: with both Jahill Okafor and Karl-Anthon Towns likely to be taken with the top two spots, the Sixers will have the opportunity to address their weak backcourt situation.
What was once thought to be good guard play turned into a Michael Carter-Williams trade and K.J McDaniel sendoff. Clearly, in this upcoming draft the Sixers need a pure point guard. For that reason alone, the Sixers may look at Emmanuel Mudiay out of China over athletic combo guard D’Angelo Russell out of Ohio State. Pinkie was reportedly the only general manager to scout Mudiay in China in person, implying that he holds the prospect in high regard. Then again, the Sixers were the worst offensive team by far last year, so the 76ers have an intriguing choice to make over the next month or so leading up to the draft. Russell averaged 19.3 points per game for OSU last year, shooting 41.1% from three-point range.
The Sixers may also want to look at Duke small forward Justice Winslow, who will surely solidify the frontcourt with defensive minded bigs Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel to complement him. All three are very elite defenders.
Mario Hezonja is a “sleeper” option at the 3 with major upside due to his ability to score. However, there’s always a risk with international players due to a lack of exposure to “better” competition. The same was said about Dante Exum and Nikola Mirotic when they came over last year, and both had staggeringly different rookie seasons. Still, Hezonja is a player to keep an eye on as the draft nears.