Never mind the fact that his name is “D’Angelo” and not “DeAngelo” and Mr. HoopsCritic is mostly known around these parts as being a salty Hinkie-hater: According to Brian Geltzeiler, the Lakers are open to trade talks involving this year’s second-overall draft pick, D’Angelo Russell. So here is where I ask, would you do this:
Here’s what that does for the Sixers: It clarifies their structure in the frontcourt with the semi-logjam of Noel, Embiid, and Okafor. To do this, you gotta have some REAL confidence in Embiid’s health, but if you do, pulling that trigger is easier to digest. It also gives you a great shot at pulling in this year’s golden goose, Ben Simmons. By removing the top-3 pick protection on the Lakers’ pick, you essentially end up with a 44.9% chance – in the likely event that the Sixers and Lakers end up with the two worst records in the NBA – of getting that top overall pick. The Sixers would also then get another pick – either their own or the Lakers’ – which would be, at worst, fourth overall, while sacrificing two picks likely to be from 15-25 in the process. Additionally, if you believe the pre-draft talk, Russell is who the Sixers really wanted anyway, since they need a guard.
That would mean the Sixers’ 2017 lineup could look like this: D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram (with your second draft pick), Ben Simmons (with your first draft pick), Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Joel Embiid, and whomever else they grab. The real key in the deal is drastically improving your shot at the number one pick– Simmons.
But this is just a fun little exercise, mainly. The Lakers were previously asked to remove that pick protection for Goran Dragic and those talks went nowhere. However, they’re sitting Russell because he’s literally trying to win games, while Kobe is happily flailing about in the name of HONOR. I’m driven by the fear that not only do the Lakers keep their pick this year, but it’s #1 and they get Simmons, leaving the Sixers one step short again. This fixes that.
Would you do it?