Just over a week ago, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannax suggested that while the Sixers ‘coveted’ Andrew Wiggins, they likely would end up with Duke’s Jabari Parker with the third pick, and would be relatively happy to do so.
In Mannax’s mock-draft 3.0, he still says the Sixers love Wiggins, and wouldn’t be upset to end up with Jabari, but this time, it sounds more likely that the Sixers could move up to assure that they land Wiggins.
First, Mannax says this, on the Bucks selection at number two.
2. Milwaukee Bucks — Andrew Wiggins, G/F, Kansas freshman, 6-8, 200
Could the Bucks really pass up Wiggins here? Maybe. The Bucks have had long looks at all the top prospects — including Dante Exum, who worked out for Milwaukee over the weekend — and seem impressed by each of them. Parker is viewed as the most NBA-ready but most scouts still see Wiggins as having the highest ceiling. Also, Wiggins can play two-guard, a plus for the Bucks, who already have Giannis Antetokounmpo at the three. There is no consensus on this pick. For now, expect them to lean towards Wiggins.
According to Mannax, the Bucks might not have to face that dilemma.
3. Philadelphia 76ers — Jabari Parker, F, Duke freshman, 6-8, 241
Rival executives believe the Sixers — who covet Wiggins here — will try to move up if it looks like Milwaukee is going to take him. If not, Parker’s scoring ability will help a team that desperately needs offense. Defensively, Parker needs a lot of work, but he is arguably the most NBA-ready player in the draft.
While Mannax didn’t specify whether trading up would entail a trade with the Bucks or the Cavaliers (I would assume the Cavs), it is starting to come off as almost strange that so many league executives appear to be so certain that the Sixers intend on doing whatever it takes to land Wiggins.
I am under the belief that the Sixers’ interest in Wiggins is just a poorly kept secret. Michael Levin of Liberty Ballers suggested that reports of the Sixers’ interest could be either a smokescreen or Wiggins’ camp trying to push their agenda on the rest of the NBA community.
At the risk of becoming an information ouroboros, every time I hear a report about someone Sam Hinkie likes, I assume the exact opposite. I don’t know if that’s cynicism or optimism, but I’ve spoken to Hinkie, a number of the LB writers have, and what remains consistent, even in private, is his indefatigable unwillingness to reveal any information about what players he likes. Even last year’s draft — he still won’t talk about it.
So why is it such common knowledge that the Sixers love Wiggins? Is that coming from Wiggins’ camp? Possibly, if they want him to come to Philadelphia. Is it coming from the Sixers, employing this as a disappearing magic powder so they can pull the trapdoor and turn up behind you with Andrew Wiggins dead in a tub below the stage? (sorry)
There’s no reason Sam Hinkie or the Sixers would leak honest information that they want to draft Andrew Wiggins — or anyone, for that matter. There’s nothing to gain by being truthful in that regard.
While those points are very valid, and certainly worth considering, Hinkie isn’t the only person with power in the Sixers’ front-office, and I’m sure he isn’t the only one who knows where the Sixers stand in terms of their draft plans. All it takes is one snitch in the organization to leak things, and Hinkie and the Sixers lose their element of surprise. If it is a smokescreen, then maybe Sam Hinkie is an even greater mad-genius than we have already painted him to be.