The 76ers jumped one spot from their projected 4th position on lottery night, and hold the 3rd spot in the draft that takes place 22 days from now. With the top two looking rather certain, there are many avenues that the 76ers could go down. What potential players will be suiting up for the red, white and blue for the 2017 season?
Option 1: Hope that Markelle Fultz slides to #3. The most skilled player in the draft, he is seemingly the number one pick, and a point guard that the 76ers would love to have. The Celtics, however, hold the number one pick, and have an unbelievable talent at the point guard position in Isaiah Thomas. With Lonzo Ball to the Lakers seemingly a lock (despite now mulling a pre-draft workout with the 76ers), the Celtics could surprise with taking someone else or trading the pick away. Best case scenario here.
Option 2: Trade the Pick. A package involving the #3 pick and an asset (Dario Saric, 2018 unprotected Lakers pick, 2019 unprotected Kings pick) could be enough to entice Danny Ainge to push the 76ers into the #1 spot to take Fultz. The Celtics seemed to have made it clear that they are open to making trades no matter what type of position they are in. The Sixers could also trade down, if they aren’t interested in a guy at #3 (they have shown heavy interest in Malik Monk, who would be a little reach at #3), potentially gain a pick in the process, and move down to a player that they are more inclined to see in their future plans.
Option 3: Josh Jackson (Kansas). The consensus seems to think that Josh Jackson is the 3rd most talented player in this draft. Jackson is a small forward from the University of Kansas, who averaged 16.3 points and just over 7 rebounds in his one year at Kansas. He has strange shooting stats, shooting a poor 56% from the foul line, yet shooting almost 38% from three. His athleticism is incredible, but his jumper isn’t exactly a thing of beauty. However, the impact that he made in Kansas goes beyond the stat sheet, with his fantastic defense and energy. If the first two picks are as expected, Jackson will probably be ranked as the best player available come pick #3.
Option 4: De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky). If the 76ers want to pick based on need, Fox is probably the right pick. De’Aaron Fox shot up draft boards throughout the NCAA tournament, torching Lonzo Ball in a head-to-head matchup dropping 39 points. Despite the 76ers saying they will experiment with Ben Simmons at point guard, Fox could definitely get some time at the 1, and off the ball at the 2 when Simmons is in. He’s also the fastest player end-to-end in this draft, and will complement the other young players who can run. He’s skinny and struggles with his jumper, but can slash with the best of them, and comes in with a winning attitude.
Option 5: Malik Monk (Kentucky). Find a better shooter in this 2017 draft, you can’t. Monk averaged just under 20 points, shot the 3 pointer at 40% and shot 83% at the foul line; not too shabby for the freshman. Monk is a pure shooter that the 76ers are desperate to have right now. He’s a little undersized for the shooting guard position, but if he can shoot the lights out, who cares. It’s a little bit of a reach for the 76ers at #3, but totally fits a need.
Option 6: Jayson Tatum (Duke). Despite Duke’s rough time in the NCAA tournament, Jayson Tatum was a stud down the stretch in conference play. Tatum is 6 foot 8 and built to play basketball. He is a poor man’s Carmelo Anthony with his style of offense often taking players one on one. He’s an athlete that will continue to get better and has an offensive game that will definitely translate to the NBA. His jumper isn’t a thing of beauty, but seen from this video that went viral, it looks rather effective when given space.
Option 7: Wildcards. With where the 76ers are in their process, it doesn’t seem like they would drastically reach for a player. The front office doesn’t want to make a “bold” move that totally kills the momentum they have going for them. Jonathan Isaac from Florida State would make the 76ers a lot better defensively, and Frank Ntilikina or Dennis Smith would fit the point guard role, but it doesn’t seem like the 76ers would do that in the spot they are in.