Philadelphia 76ers: The Kings are ruining Boston’s Fultz trade haul

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Initially viewed as the crown jewel of the Philadelphia 76ers war chest, the surging Sacramento Kings are spoiling Boston’s Markelle Fultz trade haul.

Sixth months ago, which scenario seemed more unlikely: The Philadelphia 76ers fielding a starting five featuring Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid, or the Sacramento Kings making the playoffs?

Well, guess what? This is the modern-day NBA.

Somehow, in one of the more left-field developments of the season, the Kings aren’t just good, but, like really good, and are within two games of securing their first playoff berth since 2006.

More from Philadelphia 76ers

That’s right, Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox, and Marvin Bagley could be headed to the postseason at the expense of a LeBron James-led team.

What a world.

And the best part of these new renaissance Kings? Their first-round pick is owed to the Boston Celtics.

Now granted, giving additional draft capital to an exec like Danny Ainge is never fun, as he’s among the best talent evaluators in the entire league, but when Bryan Colangelo shipped Sacramento’s first round pick, along with the third overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft to Boston in exchange for the privilege to select Markelle Fultz first overall, it could have been a whole lot worse.

For years now, the Kings have been bad, like really bad, but when you pick in the top 10 for 10 straight years, eventually, you are going to have a roster loaded with talent, even when some of those picks were used on current NBA stars like Nik Stauskas, Marquese Chriss, Ben McLemore, Thomas Robinson, and Bismack Biyombo.

However, the team’s current young corp of Bagley, Fox, Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Willie Cauley-Stein have far exceeded fans expectations.

Currently sitting at a 30-27 record, the Kings are all-in on a postseason run, going so far as to be buyers at the playoffs for the first time in god knows how long, flipping underperforming 2017 first round pick Justin Jackson, and literally never used big man Zach Randolph for the crown jewel of the Dallas Mavericks‘ 2016 free agent class Harrison Barnes.

Now granted, Barnes has never quite lived up to his four-year, $94 million max contract, but it’s still incredibly encouraging to see the team procure the piece they’ve been pining after all season, a big option on the wings, without having to give up a pick to make it happen.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Tobias Harris, but it’s hard not to be jealous that the Kings made a similar move and didn’t have to give up their best rookie scorer and two future first round picks.

But hey, any move that makes the better should be lauded by Philly fans, as it directly hurts the Celtics moving forward.

With the 2019 NBA Draft already considered one of the weaker classes in recent memory, Sacramento’s pick dropping from the middle of the teens to the middle of the 20s could seriously diminish the chances of the Celtics selecting the next Terry Rozier, Gerald Green, or Al Jefferson.

And hey, if lightning doesn’t strike in Sacramento, and the Kings fail to earn a postseason berth in the loaded West, there’s still a chance the Philadelphia 76ers could be big winners after all.

As highlighted on a recent episode of the Zach Lowe podcast, if the Kings pick were to land first overall, it would remain in Philly.

That’s right; the Philadelphia 76ers could end up representing the East in the NBA finals AND receive the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.


I mean the chances would be astronomically low, but as highlighted by the 1993 draft, where the Orlando Magic received the first overall pick with only one ping-pong ball in play, anything is possible in the NBA, and a lucky pull could all but guarantee Philly a loaded roster for the foreseeable future.

Who would you rather see in a Sixers uniform next season, Zion Williamson, or R.J. Barrett, a graduate of Ben Simmons alma mater Monteverde Academy? Or who knows, maybe Philly can package the pick with… something and land Anthony Davis in a monster trade?

Next. T.J. McConnell has become a deceptively good scorer. dark

Only time will tell, but needless to say, fans in the 215 should adopt the Kings as their second favorite team for the remainder of the season, as no matter where they finish out the season in the Western Conferences, be that eighth or ninth, it will help the Philadelphia 76ers, and hurt the Celtics’ draft capital, a great move no matter how you slice it.