The Sixers are approaching (arguably) the biggest offseason in franchise history.
The NBA offseason has two main events: free agency and the NBA draft. Much of the team’s focus will be in retaining stars Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris.
Retraining both of their stars would be a massive success, but it will come with a cost outside of paying their two stars. The team will likely be limited in what they can do in free agency and how they can fill out the rest of their roster with limited cap space.
This is where the 2019 Draft will prove to be very important to the team’s future success.
You may be wondering, how is this case considering the highest pick they currently own is number 24? Let me explain.
The NBA Draft is the main aspect that makes a championship team. It allows teams to add young talent in which they can develop with little salary early on.
While it’s very unlikely they’ll get a franchise changing talent, hitting on a late first rounder can help a team in many ways.
You can get a solid role player (such as Josh Hart on the Lakers) who will be on an incredibly team friendly contract for at least four years. If you’re especially lucky, you can get a draft steal (such as Pascal Siakam with the Raptors), which can benefit your franchise for years to come.
The Sixers can get young talent that can help the team’s depth at a low cost for the foreseeable future. Hitting on draft picks right now will prove to be important, as they can grow with their young stars’ Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. After all, Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick won’t be playing at a high level forever.
The Sixers will also be missing their pick in next year’s draft as it was shipped off in the deal to acquire Tobias Harris. There is a chance that they will be without a first rounder completely in the 2020 NBA Draft, depending on where the Oklahoma City Thunder end up (as they own their protected pick).
It’s very important that they get a player that can help them win now and provide some much needed depth to the roster.
How can they hit on a pick?
Luckily, the Sixers have a ton of flexibility with draft picks for the 2019 Draft (shoutout to Sam Hinkie).
Here’s the list of picks they currently own:
- Round 1, Pick 24
- Round 2, Pick 33
- Round 2, Pick 34
- Round 2, Pick 42
- Round 2, Pick 54
Quite the haul of picks for a contending NBA team.
Don’t expect the Sixers to keep all of those picks, however. The chances of this are incredibly unlikely as most of the talent in the late second round will be raw players who won’t contribute to a win-now team.
It’s very likely we will see the Sixers ship off their late draft picks or simply use them on “draft-and-stash” players.
Realistically, I would expect the Sixers to keep their top three picks (24, 33, 34), or package them in a deal to move up in the draft. PFO’s own Brian Jacobs recently reported on the possibility of the team doing so:
A league source told me that they expect Philadelphia to package picks 33 and 34 for a first rounder, or at least try and do so. The 76ers currently have the 24th pick. Once upon a time, a former GM had 24 and 26.— Brian Michael Jacobs (@BrianMikeJacobs) May 15, 2019
The team has options in what they can do to have a successful NBA Draft. Last year proved to be a good draft for the Sixers; Zhaire Smith has looked solid in small minutes, Landry Shamet proved to be a draft steal, and Shake Milton looks like he can develop into a solid rotation player.
Hopefully, Elton Brand and company can pull off another successful draft. Their bench depth will likely depend heavily on them succeeding in that area.