Yes, I’m using a picture of K.J. McDaniels getting drafted for an article to sum up what was dubbed the biggest night for the 76ers in over 10 seasons. And in many senses, it’s fitting.
Besides the fact that pictures of Joel Embiid and Dario Saric wearing Sixers gear don’t yet exist because of silly NBA technicalities, grabbing someone like McDaniels, who seems to fit the team’s plan to be an elite defensive unit, gives the Sixers an immediate impact player, to go with the their two first selections, who won’t be that.
I walked away from last night’s draft with a recognition and an appreciation that Sam Hinkie and the Sixers aren’t taking any shortcuts. This is a four or five year rebuilding plan, with the Sixers not looking for any quick fixes to get to moderate success. For the next year or two, things are going to be rough, but I can get behind that if it means that by 2017 or 2018 the Sixers are going to have one of the best young cores in the NBA, with a ton of cap space to work with.
While I am hesitant to really get behind Joel Embiid, because I don’t know if he will ever consistently stay healthy enough to realize his potential, I really liked the Saric trade. Besides the fact that the Sixers got the player that they wanted in Saric (who by the way, will be a special all-around player when he actually comes to the NBA), they fleeced Orlando for another first-round pick in 2017 and a second-rounder next year. And stashing Saric will allow the Sixers to be a lottery team for another season or two, which will allow them to build a team of Spurs-esque deepness. It’s hard not to be excited at those prospects.
Overall, I give the Sixers a B for this draft, in hopes that if Embiid and Saric pan out, that grade will only raise.
But over the past 24 hours, I’ve written nearly 20 articles giving my thoughts on the Sixers’ draft, so enough of me. Let’s hear what grades the rest of our staff gave the Sixers for their draft picks.
Somers Price-Section 215 Co-Editor
I did not have a problem with the team’s selection of Joel Embiid at 3rd overall. He was the best talent available and, considering he was arguably the top player before his injury, Embiid was the only player left with the potential to be a franchise cornerstone.
The Saric pick was perplexing and a bit frustrating. Considering the Nuggets were able to move Doug McDermott to the Bulls for picks 16 & 19, one would have liked to have seen the 76ers collect that type of haul if the player they coveted with the 10th pick was off the table.
K.J. McDaniels was probably my favorite selection of the draft. In my opinion, he could end up being one of the three best defenders in the class.
To have not come away with a prolific shooter with all of the picks the team had and the players available in the second round is probably where this grade becomes a C instead of a B. Young teams need shooters to alleviate the pressure of learning a more structured offense when things are not going well. I’m really intrigued by Micic at 52. He Could end up being a solid, playmaking guard off the bench in a few seasons.
In the end, this was the ultimate win-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword draft for Philadelphia considering how the lottery shook out. Given the circumstances, things could have gone worse.
Akiem Bailum-Section 215 National Columnist
Those dastardly ping pong balls! The result of what happened at the Lottery eventually did the Sixers in with their first pick of the Draft. That pick was the injury-prone Joel Embiid out of Kansas, even though they tried their hardest to move up to the first pick so they could land Andrew Wiggins (unless you believe this report is completely true), even with Dante Exum available.
Dario Saric, who Philadelphia acquired from Orlando for Elfrid Payton, is an impressive offensive talent, but because he just signed a professional deal in Turkey, it will likely be until 2016-17 when we see Saric.
Esau Howard-Section 215 Staff Writer
After going into the draft expecting major moves by the Sixers, it ended as normal as one could expect. I have to say that Sam Hinkie played the safest hand that he could. Drafting Joel Embiid isn’t something that I was thrilled about, but it’s hard to ignore his value. If he makes a full recovery and taps into even half the potential that we saw from him at Kansas, Embiid may very well be the best pick of the night. It’s one of those weird gambles that isn’t as risky as many would like to believe.
I expected them to go after a wing player that could score, but instead they managed to acquire Daro Saric via the trade for Elfriid Payton. Again that’s an even safer move because Saric won’t be able to play in the states for two years, and will likely be in his prime when it’s time for the Sixers to start paying him. That alone decreases the chance of this being a bad pick.
With the first-round picks basically not taking the court for the team in any immediate capacity, I expect the second-rounders to have their share of minutes. K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant are players that are instant upgrades over what the Sixers played last season. Their athletic upside is something to look out for, especially in the case of Grant, who has over a seven foot wingspan.
Obviously they’ll stash a couple more picks overseas orin the D-League, but that was to be expected.
Maybe I have more faith in Hinkie than I should but I’m ok with the slow, win later approach he’s taking. All things considered they made it a good night.