Four-for-Four: The “I’m Feeling a Draft” Edition

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Mar 14, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel (4) during the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Pacers defeated the Sixers 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports


The other storyline that the 76ers will be paying close attention to, in addition to their own fortunes in the lottery, is the slotting of the lottery-bound New Orleans Pelicans. In addition to Nerlens Noel, the 76ers acquired a top-5 protected 1st round pick from New Orleans in last year’s draft night trade for Jrue Holiday. Currently, the Pelicans own the 10th worst record in the NBA. They sit half a game ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and have one game in hand. New Orleans has already shut down the likes of Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon in the latter stages of a season that was doomed by injuries from the beginning. All indications are that the Pelicans are set to close the book on 2014 and shift focus toward next season.

As long as the Pelicans don’t essentially win the lottery, the Sixers should possess a pair of lottery picks by the end of the night on May 20th. In addition to probably being in a position to draft a franchise-altering talent, Philadelphia should find themselves with the opportunity to add yet another special talent with a pick that looks like it will be somewhere in the 9-12 range. For the most part, every college player expected to declare for the draft has already tossed his name in the mix. Sam Hinkie and company should, for the second straight year, have the ammunition to control the narrative of the draft. They possess seven picks over the two rounds and the flexibility to move up and down as they see fit. Last year’s draft was one of the most entertaining sporting events of the season, and there was no games being played. Here’s to hoping that happens again.


One downside to the end of the 2013-2014 season is the very real possibility that Thaddeus Young will have played his final games as a Sixers. The former first round draft pick seems to have a strong grasp on what direction the organization is going and his postgame comments following a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies only strengthened the notion that he could be suiting up for a different squad come next season.

"“One thing I’ve always said: Just like upstairs, they put their GM hats on. I put mine on also. It’s not just about basketball. It’s about me as a player. This is a business, and it’s about doing what’s best for my family. It may be here, or it may not be here…We all know the situation at hand. There’s a rebuilding process and restructuring. We have a lot of guys in this room. Some won’t be here [next year], some will. We know we have a lot of second-round draft picks and two first-round picks. This is a big draft, and personally I think the future is big for this organization and this team for what we’re trying to accomplish right now.”"

Regardless of what the organization decides to do with the team’s elder statesman, it will be easy to see the reasoning behind it. If they decide to hang on to Young, they will be retaining an extremely hard worker with unquestioned value in the locker room. He has been a consummate professional over the course of a very trying season and, while the team has piled up losses, Young’s impact on some of the young players has been evident. On the other hand, cutting ties with Thaddeus Young will complete the entire roster overhaul and allow Sam Hinkie and Brett Brown to construct the team exactly as they wish. Though an asset on and off the court, Young’s limitations would probably see him reserved to a bench role in lieu of starting minutes. With the price tag he will be carrying for the rest of his career, it would be understandable if the 76ers tried to move Young to give him a chance to contend and free up even more cap space. Either way, Thaddeus was a class-act all season and he has been a tremendous member of the organization to this point.


Mar 26, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Evan Turner (12) and Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers (15) go after a loose ball during the second quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

If nothing positive comes out of the rest of the 2013-2014 season from the 76ers point of view, they can rest easy knowing they were able to unload the poison pill that is Evan Turner. Since moving Turner to the Pacers, with Indiana comfortably in first place in the conference at the time, all they have done is struggle through a late-season swoon capped by the Heat overtaking them for the top spot Friday night.

Indiana was 42-12 at the time of the NBA trade deadline, when they traded away Danny Granger for Turner. Since then, they have gone 12-14 and appear to be coming apart at the seams. All Star center Roy Hibbert, who is dealing with his own issues, recently blasted some of the ‘selfish’ presences within the locker room and how they are affecting the team on the court.

"“Some selfish dudes in here. Some selfish dudes. I’m tired of talking about it. We’ve been talking about it for a month.”"

To think that the former 2nd overall pick could almost single-handedly thwart a title run from one of the most well-constructed teams in the league is poetic justice for the fact that he was on the 76ers in the first place.