76ers Draft Grade: Were They Losers?
When you have the best low-post player slip to you in the draft it should be a blessing, right?
That's what happened in Thursday night's draft when the Los Angeles Lakers -- to the surprise of some --- not to tall, decided to take Ohio State freshman guard D'Angelo Russell second overall.
Many mock drafts had the Lakers (continuing their history of dominant centers) taking Duke center Jahlil Okafor, instead the National Champion winner was there for the Sixers to grab third overall.
It's tough to argue to pick, certainly, with Okafor being touted as the best offensive center in the draft being compared to the likes of Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon.
But where have we heard that before?
Oh right, with the Sixers third overall selection last year when they selected Joel Embiid who is (still) currently on the shelf with an injured foot.
The Sixers also have another center who played well last season in Nerlens Noel, but the early signs of his game are showing that he will be unable to stretch the floor and impact the game offensively.
It's with those reasons as to why ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford called the Sixers "losers" of last night's draft:
"Okafor is a talent. But once again the Sixers walk away from a season of tanking without the guy they wanted and without a clear plan forward. They may have wanted Joel Embiid last year, but an injured Embiid (and an Embiid that one year later still hasn't recovered.) This year, Russell and Towns were their targets.
Instead they settle for the guy who, while talented doesn't fit a need and doesn't have the transcendent talent they need. And for the third straight year they draft a center. At least he's not an injured one. With no guards or wings to really build around, the Sixers still seem years away from being anything more than a perennial loser in the lottery.
While it's tough to label them "losers," a lot of what Ford states is true. Okafor is a talent, no doubt, but with what you already have in place the question remains of whether or not he will fit into an already crowded front court.
The question also remains of whether or not this "plan" or "process" or "philosophy" will end up working out in the end. After three years of tanking and high lottery selections, the picture has no more clarity than it did when Jrue Holiday was traded for a few assets. NOTE: One asset picked up in that draft was later traded to Milwaukee for an asset that hasn't conveyed yet)
More on assets:
The Sixers stockpiled assets equaling five second round picks, but one or two of those players can be expected to contribute in the NBA this season, the rest will be "stashed" overseas for the time being.
The Sixers do have the potential in the 2016 NBA Draft to have four first round picks, but it's reasonable to expect that only their own will be in the top 8. So you seniors who just graduated high school last week, get ready!