3 Reasons to Get Excited for the Sixers Draft

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It’s officially June, which means the NBA draft is less than a month away. While you’re waiting for that long-awaited day to finally roll around, biding your time with play-by-play updates of Eagles quarterbacks throwing in shorts, let me lay out the top 3 reasons why the draft should make you as excited as a female tween would be for Zayn to rejoin One Direction.

1. Trades – You Know You Love ‘Em

Remember the weeks leading up to the NFL draft when all anyone in Philadelphia could talk about was Chip Kelly trading up for Marcus Mariota? Then, when the Eagles stood pat with their pick (and almost the entirety of the first round was chalk), it was like the air was let out of the overinflated hype balloon all at once, leaving fans looking as deflated as Jon Snow sailing away from Hardhome. Sure, Nelson Agholor should do just fine, but we wanted excitement! Trades are fun not only because of their inherent surprise nature, but because they open up countless analyses both in the moment and down the road, while also creating a slew of always popular ‘what-if’ scenarios.

Well, Sam Hinkie is here to satiate your hunger for trades. In each of his two years helming the draft, Hinkie has made a deal in the first round. First in 2013, he traded All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and the 42nd overall pick to New Orleans for Nerlens Noel and a top-5 protected first-round pick in 2014. Never satisfied, the following year, Hinkie used that New Orleans pick to draft Elfrid Payton at 10th overall, and immediately flipped him for Orlando’s 12th pick, a future 1st-round pick (coincidentally one the Sixers’ prior regime had traded away), and a future 2nd-rounder.

Hinkie might slide down a spot or two from #3 to collect some more assets, he may try to trade back into the late lottery with some combination of the future Lakers, Heat, and Thunder first-rounders, or he might simply attempt to get a late 1st-round pick for a bushel of 2nd-round picks. Whatever happens on draft night, one thing is (almost) certain: there will be trades.

2. Hinkie Has a Great Draft Resume So Far

Let’s revisit those draft day trades and see how they worked out for the Sixers’ man behind the curtain. After leaving the Sixers, Jrue Holiday has been beset by injuries, playing a total of just 74 regular season games across two seasons in New Orleans. Meanwhile, Nerlens Noel looked fully recovered from the ACL injury that caused him to slide down the draft board, was the only player in the NBA to finish top-10 in both blocks and steals, and had a legitimate case to be the NBA Rookie of the Year. Meanwhile, the other player the Sixers eventually picked up as part of the trade, Dario Saric, was just the FIBA Europe Young Men’s Player of the Year Award winner for the second season in a row.

The next year, the Sixers somehow knew the Magic wanted Elfrid Payton (or possibly made the Magic want him via inception) and took Payton just to be able to get back the 1st-rounder Doug Collins and crew had foolishly given away for Arnett Moultrie, while still drafting the guy they wanted (Saric). But wait, there’s more. With their own first-round picks, the Sixers have selected Joel Embiid, who hasn’t taken the court yet but was widely considered the best talent in the trade, and Michael Carter-Williams, who went on to win Rookie of the Year. Regardless of what you think of the subsequent trade of MCW for the Lakers’ future 1st-rounder (a highly valued commodity in league circles for what it’s worth), that was great value for the 11th overall pick in the draft.

3. Hope for a Better Tomorrow

For a Sixers organization that is, at the very least, a year away from making a run at the playoffs and a few seasons away from being taken seriously as a contender, this month’s draft is their NBA Finals, their Super Bowl, their a cappella World Championship. Whatever transpires on draft night will play a major role in the next decade of basketball in Philadelphia. So whether the team ends up with D’Angelo Russell, Mario Hezonja, or an entire 2016 draft worth of future lottery picks, get pumped for draft night. In this mixed-up, crazy tanking world of ours, it’s the closest we Sixers fans get to the sweet smell of victory.

You can check out more of my basketball coverage at Philly Fast Break.


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