By Ben Sullivan
As long as you’re not into winning, the Sixers got off to a fantastic start last season. Michael Carter-Williams (photo above with coach Brett Brown) took home Rookie of the Year honors, while the player selected five spots earlier in the 2013 draft, Nerlens Noel, sat out the entire year — primarily due to injury.
With two lottery picks already on the roster, the Sixers, who finished 19-63 last season, need to add more complementary talent to begin to build a team capable of developing into a successful ongoing concern. With the third overall pick, there will be guys there capable of potentially becoming building blocks for the future. It gets more murky further down the draft board, of course, but that’s where scouting comes into play, and for a team essentially starting from scratch, player development and front office stability will be what’s most important in turning the franchise around.
The Sixers appear to have locked in on Andrew Wiggins, especially given the way they hid him from the media when they had him in for a pre-draft workout this week. There are plenty of mock drafts that have him still available at three, with Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker being selected with the first two picks. But Philly may not want to take any chances, so it has been engaged with Cleveland in discussions about trying to trade for the number one pick.
The Sixers haven’t been willing to part with picks 3 and 10 to make that happen, however, and that’s probably a wise choice, given both the probability that Wiggins will still be there, along with the fact that guys like Parker or Embiid would be available by default if Wiggins were already gone. Philly might give up the three and Thad Young in a deal, which would rid the team of its last capable veteran who also happens to be the highest paid player on the roster.
Even the Sixers, who embraced rebuilding to the point of absurdity last season, wouldn’t use all of their picks with the intent of adding seven rookies to the mix for next season. The ones in the later rounds will either be European prospects who can be stashed for the future, or players who will be glorified training camp invites that will have to prove themselves in order to be signed for next season.
If a trade agreement can’t be reached with the Cavaliers, Wiggins might still be the one the Sixers end up with, and that appears to be their wish. In the event that he’s off the board, however, ending up with Embiid, Parker, or even someone like Dante Exum wouldn’t appear to be a bad consolation prize.