By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo has been clear that the team is keeping all options open in regard to the third overall pick. One such option might come via our old friend Vlade Divac in Sacramento. Per Chad Ford, the Kings have their eye on De’Aaron Fox and “There’s talk inside the organization about combining picks Nos. 5 and 10 to move up in the draft to secure [him].”
While a rumor from the man who has been accused of retroactively updating old draft boards should be taken with a huge grain of salt, Colangelo may want to check what time it is on the West Coast and give Northern California a call. I believe if such a deal were actually on the table, the Sixers would be wise to trade the third overall pick for the fifth and tenth picks.
Colangelo himself has said the team is still looking at six or seven prospects. Outside of the presumed first overall pick, Markelle Fultz, there are glaring flaws with every player in the draft. Everyone else has obvious obstacles to overcome on the path to being a star.
Now, if the Sixers do their due diligence and are convinced that say, Josh Jackson, is going to be a star, don’t make the trade. They might think they see the problem in his shooting form and feel it’s a correctable issue. Then, by all means, they should stand pat and draft Jackson third. As everyone is so fond of saying, it’s a star-driven league. I agree getting stars should be a team’s top priority and the Sixers’ easiest path to obtaining one is through the draft.
However, if they don’t have a strong feeling about anyone becoming a star, thinking (hypothetically) Jackson has something like a 15% chance of reaching that level, and Dennis Smith, Malik Monk, and Jonathan Isaac all have around a 10% chance, then I would advise them to make the trade. There’s still plenty of potential to find a valuable player at tenth overall and picking up that selection shouldn’t be treated lightly. Remember that in the last 7 years alone, Paul George and CJ McCollum have both been selected in that very spot.
If there’s no surefire consensus pick to be had with the third pick, trade back two sports and pick up a valuable extra lottery pick. This feels especially fruitful given that Fox would be one of the two players taken before Philadelphia picked, the guy in the lottery considered least suited to play alongside Ben Simmons given the outside shooting concerns for both players. The Sixers would only have one player of their “target pool” taken before they would then get to draft. Is not worrying that Phoenix would take the player top on the team’s draft board worth the 10th overall pick? I would argue “no”.
Just for fun, think if the deal did go down, Sam Hinkie (with an assist from Bryan Colangelo) would have received the following for the rights to Arturas Gudaitis and Luka Mitrovic:
2017 10th overall pick
Sacramento’s 2019 1st-round pick
Talk about trusting the process. Anytime a team can deal with Sacramento, they should make it happen. Vlade is the GM that keeps on giving.