The Process Era Heads into Uncharted Waters

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Philadelphia 76ers stole the headlines across the nation this weekend with the acquisition of the top selection in the upcoming NBA draft from the Boston Celtics.

The Sixers made a deal that would allow them to draft the consensus number one player in the draft by the name of Markelle Fultz out of the University of Washington. This was a no-brainer for Philadelphia, considering that they needed a guard who could play alongside primary ball handler Ben Simmons. 

Fultz is only a 19-year-old kid, who put up monster numbers for the Huskies in his freshman campaign. He posted an average of 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds last season. The top selection is a threat from anywhere on the floor, but primarily from behind the arc. He shot 47.6 percent and 41.3 percent from three-point range. 

The Deal

Philadelphia receives Boston’s No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft. 

Boston is provided Philadelphia No. 3 selection in the 2017 NBA draft as a swap. Additionally, they have the rights to the 2018 Lakers first rounder or the 2019 Kings pick (protections). 

Incase you needed clarification on the exact details of the deal:

Philadelphia’s Perspective

Adding Fultz makes Philadelphia basketball relevant again in this town. It has been way to long! He adds much needed firepower to a position that desperately needed to be addressed. This move puts this team on the map with Simmons running the show. Fultz does not have to be the face of the franchise either, unlike Lonzo Ball. 

Staying at three in this draft meant taking another wing in Josh Jackson who struggles shooting the basketball. Jackson might be the best player down the line, but he does not help the Sixers’ backcourt problem.

Ball could be a pain with his father and will most likely be joining the Lakers. If he falls, it won’t last long with Phoenix chomping at the bit on draft night. The Sixers did do their homework with both De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk with evaluations in private workouts. Fox has speed to excel, while Monk can flat-out shoot the lights out.

Fultz at the end of the day was a perfect match for both sides. He was worth going up two spots in the long-run. The idea of a playoff run is a strong possibility. 

Boston’s Perspective

GM Danny Ainge better be right after dealing the top selection in the draft. He believes his backcourt is set with Isiah Thomas and company. That leaves Boston with Jackson in the draft, who most believe will go third after Ball. 

This squad appeared to be the only team to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, so adding another wing to guard Lebron James does not hurt. With that being said, they think they can win now. 

That means adding a superstar to go alongside Thomas. Ainge has done his best Sam Hinkie impression by hoarding first round picks. His treasure chest of picks makes people believe they are in a prime position to add one of these three superstars: 

  1. Jimmy Butler – There have been reports of a three-team deal with Butler heading to Boston. This is a strong possibility as the Bulls can rebuild with the amount of assets that would be sent its way. Think about Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, and the Philadelphia No. 3 (’17), as a start. 
  2. Paul George – On the market, already said he prefers to go to Los Angeles when he hits free agency next summer. Asking price already set for a “rental” would be one starter and a pair of first rounders (little steep.. but they do have the pieces to pull it off). 
  3. Anthony Davis – Highly unlikely, but Boston has enough ammo to make an offer that they can’t refuse. They could offer five first round picks: Philadelphia No. 3 (’17), Lakers/Kings from the trade, Nets (’18), Clippers (’19), and Memphis (’19). 

Overall 

This was a good deal on both ends. Boston can potentially scoop up a veteran superstar, while Philadelphia builds its core through the draft.

Therefore creating excitement in the air about Sixers’ basketball. Seems to only be happening in the off-season … hope that changes. A new “big three” can emerge this season with the likes of Embiid, Simmons, and potentially Fultz after the draft on Thursday night. 

Stay tuned, the fun is just getting started in Philadelphia! (Fingers crossed) 

 

Sixers are Moving in the Right Direction

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

The Philadelphia 76ers have hopefully turned a page after drafting Ben Simmons with the top selection in the NBA Draft. 

Despite only having 47 wins in the past three seasons, the city is filled with optimism as things are beginning to unfold. 

One of the Sixers’ prized assets in Joel Embiid has been cleared by doctors to officially play. However, they are being cautious and will not have him participating in summer league.

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Saric likely starts off as Philly’s 6th man 

Another pleasant surprise was Dario Saric’s announcement that he will joining Philadelphia this season. The former first round pick in 2014 provides another reliable scorer who can apparently shoot from the outside. 

Additionally, the team has Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel as twin towers in the paint. There have been several rumors surrounding both players, especially on draft night.

Most likely one of these players will be dealt, but it MUST be for fair value. Otherwise, keep all the bigs and make it work. Think about it, someone will probably be injured or need extra rest (Embiid). Head coach Brent Brown should find a way to make it work. 

The more depth the better. Cut the players who don’t belong in the league. 

Projected Starting Lineup (As of Now)

  1. Jerryd Bayless
  2. Gerald Henderson
  3. Robert Covington 
  4. Ben Simmons 
  5. Jahlil Okafor 

Off the bench bigs: Nerlens Noel,  Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Jerami Grant, & Richaun Holmes 

Off the bench guards: Sergio Rodriguez, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Hollis Thompson, T.J. McConnell, & Nik Stauskas 

2017

Being patient will payoff, considering this team will not be able to sign a player like a Kevin Durant. However, this upcoming season will be huge for a variety of reasons. 

Philadelphia I say will be around 25-30 wins (Right now I’ll say 26), which is good enough to potentially use the Kings’ swap that they own to move up in the 2017 lottery. The Kings are completely dysfunctional, especially with DeMarcus Cousins on the roster for now. In my eyes, they are a lock for the lottery. 

Plus, you throw in the Lakers’ first rounder that hopefully does not fall into the top three again. Luke Walton is at the helm, but a quick fix in LA doesn’t look like it is going to happen.

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Draft Lonzo Ball in 2017 

They did improve with players like Brandon Ingram and some veteran free agents. However, they will be back in the lottery as well.

This potentially lands the Sixers with a pair of Top 5 or Top 10 picks in a pretty deep draft class.

Adding a pair of talented guards to go along with Simmons and company next year will certainly put this team back in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference. 

Here are a 5 names to keep an eye on (Highlight reels are in the link):  

FREE AGENCY

On the free agency front, the Sixers have been relatively quiet. There were rumors with Rajon Rondo and Harrison Barnes, but nothing materialized. Instead the team decided to save their money by signing three veteran guards. The patient approach is the right approach. 

First was Jerryd Bayless, who inked a 3 year, $27 million dollar contract. Bayless is a veteran at the age of 27, who has bounced around during his professional career. With the way contracts were being handed out, this was a good deal for Philadelphia. The team was in desperate need of a point guard who can shoot from the outside (36.5% career 3pt %). He’s not going to win you games, but good in terms of being a catch and shoot player when Simmons brings up the ball. Bayless can run the team for a year or two, until his replacement comes in. Overall, he’s an average player that fits a bunch of needs. 

Sergio Rodriguez is another veteran presence, who has spent time in Europe and the NBA. Signing a one year, $8 million dollar contract tells me that it is an experiment. If it doesn’t workout, then there is no harm in the matter. Rodriguez can stretch the floor, while also providing Brown with another option in the backcourt. 

Lastly is the Episcopal Academy product in Gerald Henderson. The hometown kid was brought in on a two year, $ 18 million dollar deal to play for the Sixers. The glaring weakness was the backcourt, so this makes sense. With the price being right, Henderson will help as another veteran presence who can score. 

Trade Scenarios for Okafor

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

NEWTON SQUARE, PA. – The city of Philadelphia erupted when the Sixers landed the first overall pick in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft. 

By the reaction, you would have thought they won the NBA Finals on May 17th. However, this fanbase will take anything positive at this rate. 

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Trade Okafor to Boston? 

Philadelphia (10-72) had the highest percentage to obtain the top pick and were fortunate to have the ping pong balls go their way in the lottery. 

A big thank you to Dikembe Mutumbo for letting everybody know a few hours early! 

Securing the top selection was the first order of business for Bryan Colangelo, who is the president of basketball operations and general manager for the Sixers. 

Now the focus is whether to select Ben Simmons (LSU) or Brandon Ingram (Duke). For me, Simmons is the top player in this draft class for a variety of reasons. 

Simmons was already a face of a team, in addition to being the primary focus of defenses. He also an NBA body at 6’10” and 225 pounds, whereas Ingram has to add weight by being a generous 190. The point forward will be able to run the fast break as well. People say he can’t shoot, but look at LeBron James. He seems to be perfectly fine in the league. 

Take the best player available in the draft and figure it out. Ingram is a talented player with an outside shot, but the primary player on Duke’s squad this season was Grayson Allen. Simmons I believe is more of an immediate impact, compared to Ingram who might take a few more years to develop. There are going to be several pros and cons for both players, but they will both go 1 and 2 in the draft. 

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Could possibly both Simmons & Ingram land in Philly? 

Now, after the first pick is where it gets interesting. Adding Simmons creates even more depth for a team that has stockpiled power forwards and centers. Most have Simmons playing the four or better known as power forward. Trade rumors have already spread like wildfire with Jahlil Okafor in the thick of it. 

Okafor was recently named to the 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie First Team, while also ranking second in points per game for rookies. The Duke product averaged 17.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. He has NBA All-Star written all over him, especially when it comes down to the center position. 

His footwork is absolutely tremendous for a 20-year-old that constantly dealt with double teams in the paint. Whenever he kicked the ball out, nobody on this roster could consistently knock down a perimeter shot. He’s still growing  into his body at 6’11” and 275 pounds. His shot will continue to develop farther out as well. 

The struggle is on the defensive end. Yes, he is not the best defender in the world. However, these are areas that can be taught. Not many players possess his ability to put the ball in the basket. I will gladly trade his offense for his lack of defense any day. 

The front-court now has Okafor, Simmons, Dario Šarić, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid. It is not a given that Šarić is coming over this season. Second, Embiid has failed to prove that he can stay healthy or let alone get on the court. That leaves Okafor, Simmons, and Noel. 

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Could it really happen? Paul George to Philadelphia

Brett Brown needs to make it work. Imagine this type of rotation of bigs every single game. There would constantly be a pair of bigs on the court that could give the opposition problems. Simmons can run the floor like a guard with great size. Okafor is instant offense in the paint. Šarić apparently has an outside shot to make him a stretch-four. Noel protects the rim and grabs boards. Embiid, well he can do it all when healthy (hopefully).

Each player offers something unique to the team. Pounding the paint for easy buckets is how the Sixers would beat-up teams. Why not go big with every single team electing to play “small ball” in the NBA?  

The only way you trade Okafor is if the deal is an offer that you can’t refuse in my opinion. 

Scenario 1Rebuild, grab guards 

Boston: Jahlil Okafor & Swaps Picks (Receives No. 24 & 26)

Philadelphia: No. 3 (Kris Dunn) & Swaps Picks for No. 16 & 23

  • No. 16 (Malachi Richardson) & 23 (Tyler Ulis) 

Scenario 2Trade to win now 

Indiana:  Jahlil Okafor, 2017 1st Round pick, 2017 Lakers (Top 3 protected) 1st Round pick 

Philadelphia: Paul George

Scenario 3: Trade for the future, landing Simmons & Ingram 

Los Angeles: Jahlil Okafor

Philadelphia: No. 2 pick (Brandon Ingram) 

Trade Scenario: Jabari Parker

By: David DiPasqua, Jr. 

In the NBA today, any player is available for the right price. 

With that in mind, remember the amount of assets the Philadelphia 76ers have at their disposal. Nobody is off limits as anything is possible with the trade deadline approaching. 

The trade scenario today is centered around the Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker. It is highly unlikely the Bucks would trade such a talented player at the age of 20, especially if you saw his windmill dunk in the Rising Stars Challenge Friday night. 

However, it appears the face of the Bucks’ franchise is now entered around Giannis Antetokounmpo. The 21 year old is putting up 15.9 points to go along with 7.1 rebounds. 

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Parker’s windmill dunk Friday night 

It would take a huge haul in order to get this done, yet the Bucks may look to acquire more assets. It would not be the first time the Bucks have dealt with the Sixers.

Sam Hinkie pulled the trigger on sending Michael Carter-Williams to the Bucks in exchange for the top three protected pick from the Lakers nearly a year ago. 

Fast forward to now, Carter-Williams is coming off the bench with fellow teammate Greg Monroe. The Milwaukee Bucks are spiraling off of control, posting the third worst record in the Eastern Conference (22-32). Maybe the Bucks could rebuild quickly. 

Carter-Williams has yet to figure out how to put the ball in the rim. He simply can’t shoot. Rumors have the former Sixer possibly heading to New York with their point guard issues. 

Monroe on the other hand has been placed on the trading block after signing a three year, $50 million dollar contract this off-season. This could be where the Sixers become involved, considering the big salary number. 

Trade Scenario with Bucks 

Bucks: Nerlens Noel, Lakers Top 3 Protected Pick, & Thunder Pick 

  • Noel provides rim protection and even more athleticism in the paint 
  •  Return the high pick to add value and more depth 

Sixers: Jabari Parker

  • Parker adds another scorer and wing to go along with Okafor 

Possible 3 Team Deals 

Bulls/Rockets: Looking to possibly make a splash with Dwight Howard. Would most likely give up Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and possible draft picks. Could find a way to help push this along to add a possible veteran or pick. 

Celtics/Cavs: Only rumors right now, but it has been mentioned a blockbuster trade could go down. Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony heads to Boston. Boston has more than enough to land a star player. Don’t think the Sixers could be in play, but you never know.

The Sixers need to be patient and see how things unfold. Jerry Colangelo knows what he is doing and hopefully make the losing stop at the beginning of the 2016-2017 season. 

Parker can certainly stretch the floor for this team with Okafor in the post. There’s an obvious Duke and Chicago connection between Okafor and Parker. Both played under coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and provide qualities such as toughness and discipline to the roster. 

There are only a handful of veterans on this roster, yet Parker and Okafor could learn how to win together. 

The Sixers would still have to figure out their guard situation, but could be set for years to come if this occurs. Anything is possible for the right price. 

The combination of Okafor, Parker, Embiid, Dario Šarić, and possibly Ben Simmons has the makings of a true contender. A plethora of wings to go with a pair of big men means next season could be a shot at a playoff push. 

Currently, Parker is contributing 11. 3 points and 4.7 boards for the Bucks.