BY PAUL MANCANO – I initially had the intention of writing a nihilistic, “we are all just grains of sand” NBA Draft post when the Joel Embiid foot stuff sent NBA mock drafters reeling. I had about three paragraphs about how little our personal opinions matter to Sam Hinkie and how nobody really knows how good any of these prospects will be, so why do we cling to such strong opinions? But I stopped, looked over it, and realized that I was being a Debbie Mooser. And, like I’ve said before, creating a Sherlock Holmes-style web of possible selections and trades is half the fun.
So with that being said, here’s a list of some of the possible Sixers draft night moves rated on a scale of Craig Sager’s suits. In no particular order, of course.
TRADE UP, GRAB THE WIGG
Before Embiid decided to flip off the city of Philadelphia by breaking his foot, this move was talked about, but didn’t seem that necessary. It looked as if Cleveland was almost certainly going to take a chance on the Cameroonian, and Chad Ford had mocked Jabari Parker to the Bucks for weeks. We had a good shot at Andrew Wiggins if we were to just sit tight at #3.
Now, it looks like that shot is gone.
It’s not absurd to think the Cavs might still take a shot on Embiid, but it’s far from a safe bet. There’s also an outside chance that the Bucks will take Dante Exum at #2, but asking for that is like asking for Allen Iverson to sound intelligent in an interview (the president of Georgetown must cringe every time he speaks).
Therefore, this move is most likely a necessity if the Sixers’ front office covets Wiggins. The biggest question regarding this deal is the price tag for the first overall pick. Before the Great Navicular Stress Fracture of ’14, it was said to be somewhere in between the low extreme of 3+Thad and the high extreme of 3+10. I have no doubt the price has gone up since then.
Personally, I would do a deal along the lines of 3+Thad+2nd rounders, or 3+Thad+Cap Space, wherein we pick up one of Cleveland’s money hoggers like Jarrett Jack. We don’t need the cap space for another few years, when we look to bring in free agents and make a run. I might even do 3+10 because I think Wiggins is miles ahead of whoever would be left at #3.
It all comes down to whether Wiggins is really the guy Hinkie has wanted all this time, as the Philadelphia media has suspected. If he is, the Hink will likely do whatever’s necessary to get him.
This trade – and this suit – is bold, but not terribly surprising, given the reputation of the man behind it. Hink would be going all-in for one player, like Sager went all-in for one color. It’s also flashy, and has a better chance at being well-received than some of Sager’s other outfits.
TRADE DOWN, DRAFT VONLEH/GORDON/RANDLE
I could see this happening with a team like the Magic, who are in dire need of a point guard and are worried the Sixers will grab Exum at #3. But beyond that, I don’t really think the #3 pick has great value at this point, unless a team wants to move up to grab Mr. Bad Back Broken Foot. In that case, we could probably move back to take Noah Vonleh, Aaron Gordon or Julius Randle. I just don’t know what another team would offer us that would justify the move. More first round picks? That’s pretty much the only valuable thing the Sixers could get in exchange for dropping back.
This move would be kind of a cop-out, much like this Craig Sager jacket. It doesn’t have great potential, and it wouldn’t be received very well by the fanbase. You can see Sager’s hesitation in the look on his face. He knows it’s not his best option, but he’s doing the best he can with what he’s got. Everybody knows Sager looks much better in warmer tones.
STAY PUT, DRAFT EMBIID
It’s a bold move, to go after a center with a history of injury, just after this city’s heart was broken by another center with a history of injury, but Hinkie’s already done that. Would he do it again if Embiid fell? If he does and Joe-Joe turns out to be Greg Oden 2.0, we basically tanked for nothing – no, not even basically – we tanked for nothing. Undoubtedly, Brown would have him sit a year, like he did with Noel. That would probably also help us get a better pick next year as well.
Does high upside trump back and foot woes? Can he really play with Nerlens, “Twin Tower” style? All things to be considered.
This would be ballsy; and definitely Hinkie’s ballsiest move yet. Like that jacket on Sager. He’s made a move like it in the past – the jacket is not unlike some other ones we’ve seen from Sager – but it’s by far the brightest and most daring. But Sager looks like he knows what he’s doing, so we trust him.
STAY PUT, DRAFT EXUM (AND KEEP MCW)
This is the move that seems most likely, at least according to the online NBA community. But Exum is a bigger gamble than I think most people wish to acknowledge. There really is very little footage on him available, probably even for GMs. I generally distrust foreign players (the Sixers do too) (also, I’m not xenophobic, I swear). More importantly, I’ve watched a lot of his YouTube clips, and frankly, he looks just OK. He looks almost as good as MCW, except he’s playing against mediocre talent, not NBA players. He’s only 19, but so are all the other top guys. The Moose is not impressed.
Still, if it’s what Hink wants, I trust him. Like Embiid, there are questions: Can he match up against NBA talent? Can he play in a backcourt with MCW, Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic style?
This move would certainly be met with mixed reviews. This combo from Sager is also mixed: flashy on top, but bland on the bottom. It’s like he picked out the loud jacket but then shied away from making a bold decision in regards to the pants. It gives us a feeling of hesitation on Sager’s conviction.
I’ve expressed my opinion on this matter in the first ever installment of Antler Rants. I hate it. I love MCW. I don’t see any justification for the move.
This move and any of the ones above are not mutually exclusive. Adrian Wojnarowski said they were considering making this move and either replacing him with Exum at #3 or swapping Carter-Williams for another top 10 pick and drafting Marcus Smart. I hope they don’t pull the trigger on either. MCW fits this team well, he’s beloved by the fanbase, and trading him now sends a message to the locker room that every good player is just being fattened to be traded.
Please, Hinkie, don’t do it.
This move would be disastrous, much like this get-up. Bad decision, no question. I don’t know what else to say.
None of these trades or selections is a safe bet. Hinkie is sticking out his neck no matter what he does Thursday. He’s dealing with the future of the franchise. Into your hands, O Hinkie, I commit my spirit.