The 2014 NBA Draft is just two days away, and over the last week or so we’ve gone from excitement that it looked like we would land Andrew Wiggins as a sure thing, to utter and absolute mayhem. It could easily be argued that the 76ers are now in the toughest spot in the draft. After Wiggins and Parker likely go and numbers one and two, there’s a mix of unknown talent, injury-prone big men, big risks and big reaches. They could take Joel Embiid and wait for him to recover. They could take Dante Exum and take a risk that he is what many seem to think he is. They could grab Noah Vonleh, whose name had floated around with the Sixers for a little bit.
And then, they have another pick seven spots later.
It’s all very nerve-racking, but let’s take a look at what they could do with that first pick.
Pick at three
Of the eight mock drafts sorted on the Sixers’ draft tracker, three each have the Sixers taking Exum or Embiid, while two have them somehow still landing Wiggins at three (both of those have the top three going Parker-Exum-Wiggins). Chad Ford’s two-round mock says they’ve narrowed down their #3 pick to Exum or Vonleh. Ford’s also got the Sixers taking Nik Stauskus at 10 (or Embiid if he somehow falls that far). Here, we’d like to point out that the worst possible things the Sixers could do for their now very excited fan base is take Embiid at three and “Mr. I’m Staying in Europe” Dario Saric at 10. For what it’s worth, the latter seems a whole lot less likely than the former.
Not getting Wiggins would hurt even more since a few publications out there — including ESPN — have mentioned just how great a fit Wiggins would be in Philly. We deserve him, he wants to come here, JUST LET US TAKE HIM. Yes, I know that sounded like a deadbeat dad’s argument for taking back his child in an episode of Law and Order: SVU.
Dickie V has the Sixers taking Aaron Gordon at three, and he seems alone in that.
When you look at who the Sixers worked out, according to Liberty Ballers, certain things seem less likely. For example, would the Sixers take Nik Stauskas if they were not at his workout and he did not work out for them? They could, but it’d seem less likely. The number one pick in the hypothetical “Best Name” draft, Bogdan Bogdanovic, also never came to town. [Editor’s note: Let’s not get bogged down in Bogdanovic talk.]
And finally, if you believe Vegas oddsmakers (and why wouldn’t you), the Sixers will take Exum at number three and either Nik Stauskas or Doug McDermott at number ten. Or at least those are the spots at which those players will land.
The scenario that seems to excite most fans is the idea of trading up (trading always excites fans). By doing so, not only will the Sixers get their man in Wiggins, but they’ll likely dump off Thad Young (something certain fans have wanted for a while) and make headlines, something Sam Hinkie does not seem averse to doing.
And it seems more and more that if they want Wiggins, they must trade up. For example, one report from Dime Magazine claims Jabari Parker tanked his Cavs workout because he prefers the Bucks. If true, then there’s no way Parker slips past two, which would make Wiggins the common sense, take him or you screwed up number one pick (not that the Cavs haven’t done weird things with the top pick before).
But what could a trade up mean? If picks three and ten are enough to do it, it means Andrew Wiggins. If they aren’t, it may mean the MCW era of Sixers basketball is over before he and Nerlens Noel even share the court. Personally, I don’t hate that idea. For one, it shows that in a town where some GMs play it safe and scared (ahem, Ruben), Hinkie doesn’t know what fear is. He’s willing to look at one year of personal player success and sacrifice it for the good of the team. It also means that this team recognizes that winning is important and this franchise has gone too long without doing so. If a move like this happens it may be a huge shock, but it at least shows commitment from the front office to go for it no matter what.
No one knows. It’s easy, after years of being disappointed, to say they’ll just take injury-risk Embiid or plain old risky Exum at three and whoever at 10 and just see how it plays out. That’s not necessarily a terrible thing, but Sam Hinkie was this close to having Andrew Wiggins after tanking an entire season ostensibly just to draft him. Will Hinkie let Embiid’s injured foot screw that all up? Will the Cavs even let him make the move he wants to make? We’ll find out Thursday night.
If it’s all stressing you out though, just know that the Harlem Globetrotters held their draft and took Sim Bhullar, Landon Donovan, Andrew Wiggins’ two older brothers, and Johnny Manziel. If only it could all be that easy.