Traveling in Uncertain Times

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

Mario Hezonja is just one of many possibilities still be floated out there for the Sixers on draft night.

Tomorrow night, I fly off to Europe to spend 10 days in Italy and Greece, combing the lower levels of the Euro leagues to vet out future Sixers second-round picks. In all seriousness, during my vacation, USA’s U19 national team is playing in the FIBA World Tournament in Heraklion the two days I will be in town there, so I will try to catch in person the top incoming freshmen for Villanova, Arizona, Louisville, and more. I think I could have found a way to write off a portion of the trip as a business expense if only there was any revenue generation in the first place. Maybe next year.

Anyway, sure, trip of a lifetime. But also, it couldn’t come at a worse time given the amount of change that’s likely to take place for the Sixers over the next week and a half. My absence from the States will overlap with both the NBA draft and the beginning of free agency, events that could completely transform the Sixers roster as we know it.

There are no shortage of predictions about what Sam Hinkie and company will do with the third overall pick Thursday night (and I’ll offer my official one tomorrow). Maybe Sam was convinced that D’Angelo Russell was the point guard of the future for him over a nice rack of rabbit at Il Pittore, or perhaps he was sold on Emmanuel Mudiay’s virtues while enjoying Wagyu beef sliders at Barclay Prime.

Then, there’s always the chance the Sixers steer away from general consensus and eschew the point guard position entirely, Like many other GMs, Hinkie attended Kristaps Porzingis’ recent workout in Las Vegas, and quite a few mock drafts now have the Sixers penciled in for the sweet-shooting seven-footer. The team also had Justise Winslow in for a visit during the past week, and Mario Hezonja has also been floating on the edge of the radar while tearing things up off the bench for FC Barcelona.

The point is, there’s no shortage of theories about who the Sixers will select, and that’s even just assuming Hinkie doesn’t pull the trigger on any trades, an assumption that would make an ass of you and me more often than not. He could very well have a similar tier of players available to him and move down one or two spots to pick up some more assets, as he did with the swap with Orlando last year. Or, he could get hyper-aggressive and package some combination of the future LA, Miami, and OKC 1st-rounders to grab a second top-10 pick in this year’s draft. I wouldn’t even rule out a trade of Noel or Embiid if the right deal comes along, something that seems crazy but no one would have thought Jrue Holiday would be moved on draft night a couple years ago.

Whatever transpires, I’m sure Sixers nation will be completely rational and display the patience to allow the long-term results to play out. Just know I’ll be traipsing the back alley taverns of downtown Athens, trying to find suitable WiFi to learn just what awaits me here back home.


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