Yesterday afternoon, rumors swirled around the Philadelphia Sixers and their desire to acquire the top pick in next week’s draft. That pick is currently owned by the Boston Celtics and the consensus top pick will be the University of Washington’s Markelle Fultz. The advanced talks seem all but imminent, pending a very thorough health evaluation from the Sixers medical staff.
Philadelphia has accumulated a boatload of assets that have been burning a hole in their pocket for years. They own two first round picks in each of the next two seasons. Philly will have their own plus the Lakers’ in 2018 and Kings’ in 2019. The team also has the third overall pick in next week’s draft. It’ll take a combination of those five picks to pry that pick from Boston.
Boston’s backcourt is pretty solid led by the trio of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart. Thomas had a breakout season but there is hesitancy to declare him the franchise player. The C’s have been linked to stars like Paul George and Jimmy Butler. They have accrued assets and could flip them in exchange for one of those stars.
A three-team trade could happen. The Sixers could get the top pick. The Celtics could get Jimmy Butler. And the Bulls could wind up with the 3rd overall pick, the Lakers’ pick, Philly’s 2019 first round pick, Avery Bradley, and Jahlil Okafor.
This trade would benefit every team involved. Thie Sixers would get the perfect backcourt player to pair with last year’s top pick, Ben Simmons. The C’s would get the star that could lead their team past the Cavaliers in the next couple seasons. Chicago would receive three unprotected first round picks, plus a quality backcourt player, which would both start and expedite their rebuilding process.
Barring a red flag during Fultz’ medical exams, the Sixers should pull the trigger on this trade as soon as possible. Fultz has a skill set that is unparalleled to any player who has come out of the draft in recent years. The most important asset in his game for Philly, is his scoring ability, and his ability to create his own shot.
When Philadelphia was under Sam Hinkie’s tutelage, they stockpiled future picks for this exact reason. Hinkie knew that the more picks they accumulated, the more likely they’d be able to utilize them either by using them or flipping them for other assets. Two relatively mundane trades that involved players like Nik Stauskas and Michael Carter-Williams could allow Philadelphia to acquire the top overall pick two years later. Hinkie was a visionary. While Bryan Colangelo hopefully will pull the trigger on this trade, he has the ability to do so because of his predecessor.
The Sixers core of Fultz, Simmons and Embiid would set up a foundation unlike anything this city has seen in years. Simmons, a pass-first, point forward is most effective in transition. His biggest flaw is the lack of a jump shot. To fully utilize his skill set, Simmons’ backcourt partner needs to be a scorer, like Fultz. Fultz is the perfect guard for this NBA. He has the explosiveness to turn the corner and get to the rim. At the same time, Fultz is a great shooter and can score from anywhere on the court. He also has the size to guard both guard positions. This could be the backcourt that brings Philadelphia back to the playoffs.
Bryan Colangelo, make this happen.
Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports