Unless we’re talking about the New York Knicks or the Washington Redskins, it’s rare for a team’s general manager to tip important information to the media. However, during a conference call that I underwent with Sixers’ GM Elton Brand on Tuesday, it seems he may have just given us an important clue…
During the call, I personally asked Brand if him and his team were preparing for a virtual draft similar to that of the NFL’s. During his answer, Brand made a specific comment that stuck with me:
“With five, potentially five picks, we think this is a deep draft. I’m excited.”
The Sixers made just two selections in last year’s draft, opting to trade away the rest of their picks. The year before that, in 2018, the Sixers technically made two selections as well. However, both picks were ultimately traded away at a later date (Mikal Bridges for Zhaire Smith, Landry Shamet for Tobias Harris). Of the 11 total picks the Sixers have had over the last two drafts, Marial Shayok is the only player the Sixers have personally drafted and not traded.
While that “five picks” comment from Brand may seem insignificant, it’s potentially conveying a new thought process that the Sixers’ front office has undertaken. In the past, the Sixers have been quick to trade away and sell draft picks, moving up and down the board in order to obtain more “value”. At times this has worked (Matisse Thybulle for example), other times it has backfired quite miserably (swapping Mikal Bridges for Zhaire Smith).
One of the biggest complaints the Sixers have faced this season is their overall lack of depth. They have a strong core consisting of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Tobias Harris, but after that the supporting pieces are bleak. Veteran role-players like Trey Burke and Kyle O’Quinn proved to be complete flops, while younger guys like Norvel Pelle and Zhaire Smith have struggled to find any sort of consistent playing time.
The Sixers need depth, and they need it at a variety of positions. The backup point guard job is far from filled, the team severely lacks floor spacing, and the backup center position has been a disaster ever since Greg Monroe had to start in a playoff game.
While the 76ers could always turn to the “veteran minimum” market again this upcoming offseason, it may finally be time to invest back into the draft process. As Brand said, the Sixers could have up to five draft picks this year. That’s quite a bit of capital for a team looking to add key role players around their expensive franchise stars.
If you’re interested in reading more about who the Sixers may be targeting in the year’s draft, go give our recent draft profile on Villanova’s Saddiq Bey a read: https://phillysportsnetwork.com/2020/05/02/sixers-draft-preview-saddiq-bey/
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports