For the most part, the Orlando bubble has been quite the disaster for the Sixers. Ben Simmons suffered what’s likely to be a season-ending injury, Joel Embiid has already hurt both his ankle and his hand, and TJ Warren hung a 50-piece on Philly’s defense.
However, amidst all the chaos and lackluster performances, one tiny shimmering light has emerged. Oklahoma City’s first-round pick has conveyed.
The logistics behind the OKC pick conveying have been absolutely covered to death, but I’ll lay out a quick recap on the subject just for convenience’s sake.
- 2016: Sixers trade Jerami Grant to OK for a top-20 protected 2020 first-round pick
- 2017: Sixers trade said OKC pick to Orlando for the draft rights to “Anzejs Pasecniks”
- 2019: Sixers trade Markelle Fultz to Orlando for the OKC pick
- 2020: The OKC pick conveys to the Sixers due to the Thunder finishing outside the top-20 following win over Clippers
Considering how almost borderline traumatic Philadelphia’s season has gone thus far, this was a pretty big win for the Sixers front office. Following the handing out of massive contracts to the likes of Tobias Harris and Al Horford in free agency, the team really needs to find a way to get an influx of young talent into the roster. Guys like Matisse Thybulle have proven more than vital in 2020, and adding players who mirror his energy levels is crucial.
Outside of simply using the pick to draft an exciting young prospect, obtaining this pick also gives the Sixers a serious bargaining chip when it comes to potentially packaging away one of their players in a trade (I’m totally not referring to Horford or anything). Trying to find a team willing to take on your bad contracts is hard enough as it is, doing it without a first-round pick is borderline impossible.
In some bizarre, weird twist of fate, it was actually former 76er Mike Muscala who locked in the pick for the Sixers last night. Despite trailing by as many as 22, the Thunder saw themselves secure the victory via a catch-and-shoot three from their backup forward Muscala. It’s a completely bizarre scenario to think about, “Moose” and Fultz being the reason the Sixers will have a first-round pick in the 2020 draft, but of course things never really do make sense when it comes to Philadelphia basketball.
The Sixers got their small victory with this draft pick conveying, but they now have a daunting task ahead of him. They have been locked into a first-round matchup with the Boston Celtics, something that has always seemed inevitable ever since Elton Brand forked over $100+ million to Horford. The Sixers will be without Ben Simmons during the series, as they look to somehow stop Boston’s elite scoring trio of Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown.
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