Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – This Tuesday means election day for most individuals in the Philadelphia area, but for Sixers’ fans it is the date that has been circled all season.
Ping-pong balls will determine the NBA landscape for years to come as the lottery is crucial for teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, and even the highly decorated Los Angeles Lakers.
Luckily, the Cleveland Cavaliers are denied the first overall pick this year as LeBron James returned home to be the hero once again.
For the Sixers sake, they are hoping that Nerlens Noel brings them good fortune as he will be representing the squad on lottery night in New York City.The future hangs in the balance as 76ers General Manager Sam Hinkie has made the NBA draft the focal point of the rebuilding process.
Right now the Sixers have the best odds to land the third overall pick with a 15.56 percent chance, while the Timberwolves and Knicks are ahead of them.
Pay special attention as there are restrictions in regards to several of the picks, in addition to a plethora of second round picks that Hinkie can stash away.
The Lakers pick is top-five protected, which seriously hurts their odds at obtaining the pick this year. It is more likely the benefits of the Michael Carter-Williams trade will occur in 2016. Miami’s selection is top-10 protected and unless some miracle occurs the Sixers will have to wait another year for this pick as well. Lastly, the Oklahoma Thunder pick is already locked-up at No. 14 and Philadelphia will yet again wait til next season.
Basically the Sixers will be left with their own pick, but there is talent at the top of this 2015 draft class.
Is there a better fit for the Philadelphia Sixers than D’Angelo Russell? The Ohio State product can be the guard coach Brown has been seeking as Russell can do it all.
The 6’5″ silky smooth guard will be the first back-court player taken off the board, especially in a guard driven league. Stopping Russell from potentially being the top pick are a pair of franchise changing centers in Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns.
In desperate need of a guard, Russell seems like the perfect match for the Sixers. Fans would instantly fall in love with his ability to get buckets.
During his one season at Ohio State, Russell averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 boards, and 5 assists for the Buckeyes in a tough Big 10 conference.
The combo guard has unbelievable vision on the court, in addition to his leadership as a floor general. An additional bonus is Russell’s length at the guard position as it causes havoc for the opposition by being able to get his hands into the passing lanes. This could be a match-up nightmare as his versatility can help out on both ends of the court.
Russell can be the play-maker the crowd can get behind as he will find Joel Embiid and Noel for open looks.
Between these pair of big-men, there is a highly probability that the offense will run through pick-and-rolls. Noel will have the luxury of diving to the hoop, while I imagine Embiid will spot-up for his jumper. Spacing is essential, considering the offensive troubles the team had this season. Russell will be in complete control, while enjoying the twin towers controlling the paint.
Granted, the roster is still a work in progress. There were a few nice surprises this season, including Robert Covington who averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. The small forward’s ability to stretch the floor has landed him a roster position as he shot 37.4% from downtown. It is crucial to have another threat from the outside, especially on kick-outs from the paint.
The backcourt of Russell and Tony Wroten would be an interesting combination as the two players are extremely young. Wroten only played in 30 games last season, but showed vast improvement with 16.9 points and 5 assists per game. This would allow Russell to bounce between the point and shooting guard, since Wroten could show him the ropes and see where he feels most comfortable.
Transitioning to the NBA game can be difficult, but nobody is expecting the Sixers to contend next season. There will be growing pains.
Russell can be a fan favorite who can draw a crowd in Philadelphia at the age of 19!
Taking Russell makes all the sense in the world, but it will all depend on Hinkie and the ping-pong balls.
Be sure to tune into the NBA lottery on Tuesday night.