Philadelphia 76ers: Shipping the Lakers pick to Boston would be ideal

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Though it’s statistically unlikely, it would be incredibly beneficial for the Philadelphia 76ers to send the Lakers’ 2018 first round pick to Boston.

After being blatantly trounced in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers are now in the unique position of having to further strengthen their division rivals with a premium draft pick at some point in the next year.

For those of you who have forgotten, or would honestly like to, Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo absolutely fell in love with a 6-foot-4 combo guard from Washington named Markelle Fultz in the 2017 pre-draft process, and  decided to ship the third overall selection in that year’s draft, and a future first to Boston for the chance to ensure that his man would end up in the red, white and blue.


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Regardless of how you feel about Fultz, whether you still believe he could be the second coming of James Harden, the player many compared him to during the pre-draft process, or that he’s already a total bust, the idea of having to watch Jayson Tatum and the Celtics continue to build a dynasty in Beantown using one of the picks Sam Hinkie fleeced from the Golden State is enough to make one order a second citywide special, especially if whomever the team selects with said pick develops into an All-Pro.

As the deal currently stands, Philly has to send the Los Angeles Lakers‘ unprotected first-round pick to Boston if it falls between 2-5 in this years draft, and if it doesn’t, then the 76ers have to send the Sacramento Kings‘ first-round pick to Danny Ainge and company regardless of where it falls in the draft.

And based on the Kings’ current trajectory, that pick could be first overall.

Though it would obviously be nice if the team could retain both picks moving forward and continue to stockpile a plethora of cheap, young talent to offset the impending cap hits of players like Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and whichever bigtime free agent the team decides to procure in 2018, if one has to go, the Lakers pick would be a far less dangerous pick to lose.

After finishing out the 2017-2018 NBA season with a surprisingly competent 35-47 record, the Lakers have an 87 percent chance of being awarded the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft according to, but if the ping pong balls were to fall just right it’s entirely possible that the pick could fall at either two or three.

A 2.9 percent chance to be exact.

While this is obviously incredibly unlikely, if the pick were to fall at either two or three, it would be incredibly beneficial for the 76ers both now and going forward.

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Unlike, say the 2016 NBA Draft, there really isn’t a consensus all-world recruit in this year’s draft, with about a half-dozen players currently vying for the top overall pick, and fortunately for the 76ers, none of these players fill the biggest need on Brad Stevens‘ roster. With a backcourt loaded with young playmakers like Kyrie Irving and ‘Scary’ Terry Rozier, and seemingly more wing scorers then they have minutes to accommodate, the only real deficiency on the Celtics roster is in the low post, with no young, blue-chip prospect currently on the roster.

After having to play career backup Aaron Baynes and power forward Al Horford at the five spot for the vast majority of the 2017-2018 NBA season, in a move that subsiquently forced the 6-foot-8 Tatum to play stretches a position up at power forward, one would assume that the Celtics are an All-Star center away from being virtually unbeatable in the East, but with a pair of max contract players already on the books, and few truely dominat bigs set to become free agents in 2018, that role may be almost impossible to fill outside of the draft. However, other than of Arizona center Deandre Ayton, the closest thing to a consensus top-prospect the 2018 NBA Draft has to offer, there really isn’t a truly elite center in the vein of Joel Embid or Karl-Anthony Towns in this year’s draft, which is great news for the Sixers, but awful news for Boston.

Sure, the team could a chance on a high-upside power forward prospect like either Duke forward Marvin Bagley III or Missouri big man Michael Porter Jr. and hope that their desired player develops the outside shot needed to thrive next to Horford as a modern NBA stretch four, but neither player has proven that they can knock down threes with the regularity of a player like, say Kevin Love, or even Dario Saric, and their draft stocks have fallen as a result.

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Don’t get me wrong, any player selected in the first five picks of any draft is going to be talented, and expected to become an eventual backbone for their new team, but much like the 2017 NBA Draft, it appears as though 2018 just doesn’t have an immediate All-Star caliber prospect available at the top of the board. Though Boston would still likely get a solid player at two or three, outside of Ayton there really isn’t a perfect fit in the lottery for their rosters’ construction.

But hey, if the Lakers pick does fall right around where it’s projected to at 10, all hope isn’t lost for Philly basketball fans.

Far from it in fact.

With Villanova Wildcats great Mikal Bridges, a player we here at Section 215 have called a perfect fit for the Sixers roster early this year, currently ranked the ninth best prospect in the 2018 NBA Draft by Sports Illustrated, the Sixers could still come away from draft day with a long, super athletic 3-and-D shooting guard that has already been described as the best outside defender in this years class.

A very solid consolation prize.

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Regardless of how things shake out, the 2018 NBA Draft could be paramount to the Philadelphia 76ers’ ability to eventually take over the Eastern Conference, and finally, push past the Boston Celtics in route to their first appearance in the NBA Finals since 2001, whether they pick in the lottery, or they ship the pick away.