Are the Sixers already tipping their 2020 draft plans?

The Sixers ultimately got their guy in the 2019 NBA Draft, but it didn’t come without a price. While in hindsight we can all agree that trading away the 33rd overall pick to Boston in order to move up for Matisse Thybulle was well worth it, but at the time, it looked like a fairly goofy blunder.

After meeting with the Sixers during the pre-draft process, Thybulle and his camp proceeded to shut down the rest of their meetings and workouts moving forward. Revealed following the actual draft, it was discovered that Elton Brand had all but promised Thybulle that he was going to select him in the first round.

The Sixers had a plethora of second-round picks heading into the 2019 draft, so trading up a few spots in order to snag Thybulle wasn’t a hard task to accomplish, but again, it was simply unnecessary.

It wasn’t all that hard for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics to connect the dots regarding who Matisse had received a pre-draft promise from, and the savvy GM was able to hold the Sixers ransom when his team came on the clock at pick #20. While that extra second-round pick didn’t end up being all that worthwhile for Boston (Carsen Edwards), more young players is always better than less young players.

Fast forward to October of 2020 and a whole ton has changed within the Sixers organization. Brett Brown is no longer the head coach, Doc Rivers is in the building, Ben Simmons is recovering from knee surgery, and Jimmy Butler is in the NBA Finals. Times have changed, but it’s looking like Philly’s inability to mask their draft strategy has remained the same.

Stanford shooting guard Tyrell Terry has been a frequent appearer on NBA mock drafts when it comes to the Sixers pick at #21, and he didn’t hide the fact that the team has already expressed interest in him earlier last week.

“I’ve done an interview with the 76ers… I had great communication with them as well as my agent. I think it’s an organization that has a lot of pieces, a lot of talent… I’m very aware of what the organization has and what their values are.”

On paper, Terry makes an abundance of sense for Philadelphia. He’s a lights out shooter and showed plenty of ability in handling the basketball during college. The Sixers are desperate for both ball-handling and perimeter shooting, Terry checks off both boxes with ease.

Conducting pre-draft interviews and meetings is a perfectly normal part of the process, but the Sixers need to be extremely careful in what they tell prospects. Promising players you’re going to draft them at a certain spot is essentially never a good idea, and it’s already stung the inexperienced Elton Brand once before.

Landing someone like Terry in the first-round would be an absolute joy, but doing so without unnecessarily trading away yet another second-round pick would be even more fun. As much as I’d love to sign up for another year’s worth of Raul Neto and Kyle O’Quinn, I’d rather just see some rookies get the bench minutes instead.

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire