After the Joel Embiid injury news, ESPN’s NBA Draft guru Chad Ford rushed out his mock-draft 8.1, in which he had the Sixers passing on Embiid with the third pick and selecting Australian point-guard Dante Exum. Draft Express had the same scenario unfolding, with both saying that Exum’s addition could make Michael Carter-Williams expendable in the short or long-term.
This afternoon, Ford released what is likely his second-last mock (insider required), and still has the Sixers taking Exum with the third pick. He still did throw in that the Sixers could trade MCW in this scenario, but also thinks that it is possible that the Sixers do try running a two point-guard system with the two.
That analysis is, by itself, enough for me to write a story about. But per Ford, that type of scenario still seems to be the Sixers backup option.
The Sixers are doing what they can to move up in the draft. The news of Embiid’s injury hurt them more than anyone. Philly had become convinced that the Cavs would take Embiid and the Bucks would take Parker, giving them their No. 1 target: Wiggins.
In this mock, Ford has the Cavaliers taking Duke’s Jabari Parker with the first overall pick. So if that holds, the Sixers would only have to trade up one spot to take Wiggins, who he has being taken by the Milwaukee Bucks. He also passes along that some executives feel that Parker ‘tanked’ his workout in Cleveland, in an effort to force his way to Milwaukee. Why anyone would try to force their way to the city of Milwaukee or to their basketball team, is beyond me.
Ford did mention that Parker going number one is ‘far from a lock’, and I wonder if maybe the Cavaliers change their minds on him given that he doesn’t appear to want to go Cleveland.
As far as which team the Sixers would trade up with, I can’t see a scenario where they get to the number one spot to take Wiggins. Unless they include Carter-Williams or Nerlens Noel in a trade package, which seems highly unlikely, the third pick doesn’t really have anything to offer the Cavs. They need to hit a homerun with this pick after last season’s Anthony Bennett disaster, and trading down to the third spot, for an injured Joel Embiid, seems like a recipe for disaster. It’s possible they find a way back into the top ten if Embiid slides out of the top five, but I can all but guarantee you that if they get him, he’ll be their second selection.
As for the Bucks, Ford says that despite an impressive workout leaning the Bucks in the direction of taking Wiggins, they have ‘a strong affinity’ for Dante Exum. So moving up a spot to get Wiggins, and having the Bucks move down to take Exum, isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. The real issue is what would the Sixers give up in that situation? Would you package the third and tenth pick to move up one spot? I guess if you are 100 percent sure Wiggins will be a star. They WON’T move Carter-Williams or Noel, just to get up one spot, even if MCW could be moved later in the night. The Bucks aren’t going to take second-round picks with the third pick and give up the second overall pick to miss out on taking one of the top draft prospects of the last ten years. And they would have no use for Thaddeus Young.
So while I don’t doubt the Sixers’ interest in Wiggins, I think on Thursday night we will find out just how serious it is. If Wiggins is truly their man, will they give up both the tenth and third picks to move up just one spot? On paper it sounds stupid, but it isn’t often that you get a shot to find a superstar, and if they really believe Wiggins is that guy, then don’t be surprised if that ends up happening.