A rule of thumb for teams in the lottery, if you make it to the commercial break after picks four through 14 are selected without your team's name getting called, then that's a good thing because you made it into the top three. When NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum pulled the Suns' card out of the envelope for the fourth pick, it obviously dashed the Sixers' chances of getting the Lakers' pick, but it also meant that the Sixers, thanks to the Sacramento Kings pick swap, found themselves at the very least within the top three.
The Sixers did get the number three pick (the Kings took the number five spot in the swap), while the Lakers and Celtics got the second and first picks respectively, and now that the draft order is set, the Sixers have a few interesting routes to take. The number three pick is more of a complicated spot for the team to select from because the clear top two players, Markelle Fultz (clear cut, and easy choice at number one) and Lonzo Ball, will most likely be gone.
Brett Brown said in a recent interview that he feels that the team will draft for need this time around rather than going with the "best player available" method for the fifth year in a row. The need that fans and media alike have been lamenting once the season ended is guards, guards, and more guards, and more importantly, shooting. There is a strong feeling around the basketball world that the Celtics will take Fultz with the first pick and the Lakers will take Ball and his $500 Kobe-ripoffs... er.. I mean, the ZO2s, with the second pick.
This leaves the Sixers with many options at three including the possibility of selecting the third best player in most mock drafts, Josh Jackson. Jackson is an elite athlete with elite perimeter defense and versatility, to go along with underrated playmaking. He does have question marks, however, as he lacks the wingspan that you'd want with someone of his frame and while he does have good lateral quickness, it's not elite. He also has huge doubts over his jump shot. He might have shot better from three (38 percent on the year) as his freshman year at Kansas went along, but he did shoot just 56 percent from the free throw line and has really bad mechanics in his form. I get the sense that most Sixer fans wouldn't be on board with drafting another prospect who can't shoot but his versatility and skill set makes him an intriguing pick for the Sixers, because it could give them the chance to build something really unique and special on defense with Robert Covington, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons. If that shot gets fixed, Jackson could be something special.
But do the Sixers trade back and get value for the pick to take someone to fill the shooting void like Malik Monk? Or add Jonathan Issac for shooting and defensive versatility at a pick where the value makes more sense? Trading back isn't as easy as trading back in the NFL draft considering there are only two rounds an NBA draft, but that could be a possibility as well. Other guards like De'Aaron Fox or Dennis Smith Jr don't fit what the Sixers need from their guards because of the lack of shooting. Maybe the team is looking for someone like Jayson Tatum to add some much-needed scoring. Although I'm not as high on Tatum as other scouts seem to be, go-to-scoring is something the Sixers could use other than getting shooters around Embiid and Simmons.
With the draft order set, it also affects how the team will go after one of these free agent point guards this summer. Guys like Kyle Lowry, Jeff Teague, Jrue Holiday, and George Hill will all be targets that the front office has its sights on, now that elite point guard prospects like Fultz and Ball are most likely off the table.
With all that said, the Sixers are set up pretty nicely for now and the future, and now we know for a fact that the Sixers will have two first round picks in both 2018 and 2019. The Sixers will get the Lakers 2018 first rounder unprotected, and I find it hard to believe that the Lakers will win 25 games next year with the way their roster looks right now. We also can't forget the Kings trade that keeps on giving, after swapping picks this year, the Sixers will get the Kings' first round pick in 2019, which is also unprotected. Even though the Kings will inevitability add young talent with two top-10 picks this year, and a high first round pick next year in 2018, the team isn't expected to start running off wins any time in the next three years.