Draft Day Will Be Busy for Sixers
June 23rd will be a busy day for the Philadelphia 76ers and new GM Bryan Colangelo. The team will have three – or four, depending on how the ping pong balls bounce – first round picks in the hyped 2016 NBA Draft, as well as an arsenal of cap space and attractive young assets with which to leverage in the name of imminent improvement. What transpires on draft night will go a long way toward shaping the immediate future of the franchise.
During Sam Hinkie's tumultuous tenure with the team, the Sixers stacked picks and young players laden with potential in order to develop a wide talent base with which to build.
Without pressure to contend immediately, asset acquisition was the main objective, and Hinkie proved deft at the task. Now with a new regime in tow with a mandated emphasis on improvement, it seems as though the Sixers may be ready to act on some of those acquired assets by flipping them for tangible talent that could contribute to a rapid about-face.
“We’ll certainly be open for business and listening to whatever is there,” Colangelo stated at the NBA Draft combine.
Coming off of a 10-win season with a whole lot of lingering roster ambiguity, the idea that the Sixers are open to move-making this summer, and on draft day specifically, is the opposite of shocking. If the Sixers weren’t keeping both ears open for all potential offers they wouldn’t be doing their due diligence. One of the main objectives of Hinkie’s asset acquisitions was that the team could use the assets to acquire a star(s) if – and when – the opportunity arises. If the right opportunity were to arise, Colangelo would be amiss not to listen and potentially pursue.
This is something he seems well aware of.
"You don't want to leave anything on the table,” he stated. “If there was an opportunity to do something and you didn't know that or realize it because you didn't make a phone call then that's your fault. But I think we'll explore everything in every regard and that's the good news about having the kind of flexibility and the number of assets that we have.”
It is reassuring to hear that the new general manager understands and appreciates the bounty left to him, and that he plans to leave no stone unturned in search of overall improvement. However, there is some concern that he will be over-eager. Sometimes no move is the best move, and it is important that Colangelo does not make moves rashly in an attempt to make a splash or engineer an overly-quick turnaround. Draft picks and cap space are a luxury in the league that can almost always be utilized down the road if the present prospects aren’t impressive. Making a move just for the sake of making a move, or simply to jettison young guys in favor of veterans for experience's sake could be a quick ticket to mediocrity, which is exactly what Sam Hinkie aimed to avoid.
The Sixers roster will likely look vastly different at next season’s start than it does in mid-May. It seems largely likely that some of the organization’s ample cap space will be used on free agent acquisitions; probably to a greater degree than it was during Hinkie’s time with the team. It is also likely that one of either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor will be moved this summer, while each’s value, and ceiling, remains relatively high.
Everything seems to be on the table for the Sixers this summer, and draft day may serve as a jumping off point for the Colangelo-led climb back to contention. With a plethora of picks and a myriad of [potential] moves, it will be an extremely busy – and important – day for the Sixers.