2017 NBA Draft Preview: Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers are among the most promising young teams in the NBA today. Led by a young nucleus of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and now the #3 pick in the 2017 NBA draft. But who should they take? The safe assumption is that Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball will go one and two to the Celtics and Lakers respectively. Should one of those two fall to the Sixers, they should take them without a doubt, however if not, the Sixers have a choice to make. The top players who could be available include Josh Jackson, De'Aaron Fox, and Jayson Tatum. While all three are fantastic NBA prospects, I don't see any of them being what the Sixers need.
Fox is a point guard with great athleticism, good play making ability, but no jump-shot to go along with it. The 76ers would be silly to take Fox at 3. They already have a ball-handler with a sub-par jump shot in the form of Ben Simmons, and in the NBA there's only one ball, and I just don't see any competent offense being run with two ball dominant players who can't shoot. Josh Jackson is not a terrible fit for Philly though. Great athleticism, decent scoring, fantastic defense, however we run into the same problem, not a consistent shooter. You could argue Jackson is as good a prospect as anybody in this loaded draft, however he just doesn't fill the Sixers number one need, shooting. Tatum is the best scorer out of this bunch, however he still lacks a consistent 3 point jump shot. While he has shown signs of being able to hit from 3, he is not a pure-shooter, however he can be a great isolation scorer, and works well off ball as well. So to recap, 3 great prospects will likely be available for Philly, none of which fill their needs though. However, there is one prospect in this draft that I believe fits perfectly with the young core of Simmons and Embiid. His name is Malik Monk. Monk is one of the best pure shooters in this draft, aside from Ball and Fultz, and can certainly help Philly take the next step forward.
This seems like a great fit to me, Monk can handle the ball when he needs to, catch and shoot very well, and has the ability to create his own shot. The problem is, taking Monk at 3 is certainly a stretch in most eyes, as there are players on the board with higher ceilings who are already more NBA ready. That being said, Monk is somewhat more of a project than other prospects in the top 8, however the Sixers are still far off challenging for the title, so that should be no problem whatsoever. This is where one team who is very interested in De'Aaron Fox comes into play. This team is the Sacramento Kings who could look to shake up the league once again.
The Kings made arguably the biggest trade of the year, sending Demarcus Cousins to the Pelicans during All-Star weekend, and officially entering rebuild mode. The good thing for the Kings is that Buddy Hield, the main player received in the trade has shown signs of being a great scorer and shooter in his rookie year. The Kings also possess the #5 and #10 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. While these picks are great, it is unlikely that De'Aaron Fox will fall to #5, and the Kings are in desperate need of a creative force on the offensive end to get Hield open shots, and get Willie Cauley-Stein easy looks at the rim. De'Aaron Fox is the perfect player to help both of these young players achieve their full potentials on the court. The 76ers could certainly look to shop the #3 pick to the Kings here, as it is mutually beneficial for both teams. A hypothetical trade could look like this...
Sixers give up #3 pick to Kings for #5 pick and future draft pick/player. This way the Sixers can get Monk at #5, and the Kings can get Fox at #3. I believe the Kings would keep the #10 pick, and instead give up a future pick or a player to sweeten the deal for Philadelphia. Overall this trade makes a lot of sense for both teams, but knowing Vlade Divac, this deal probably wont happen.
The Sixers could just take Monk at #3, however I think this deal helps both, as the Kings can almost guarantee they will get their guy, and the Sixers get the best fit for them without reaching, plus another asset that could benefit them in the present or future.