We are one week away from the NBA Draft and rumors are flying like crazy. One of the most popular reports revolving around the Philadelphia 76ers is trading down, and gaining a first round pick in the process. Specifically, the Kings, who hold the #5 and #10 picks in this upcoming draft, packaging the two picks together to move up to #3. Why would they do this? Reports have said that the Kings front office is enamored with Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox, who will most likely be on the board after the first two selections but might not be at #5. Should the 76ers consider this as a viable option?
Why the 76ers should make this deal: This whole process has been about adding assets, so to gain another pick (another top 10 pick), to move down two spots, it seems like a decent move. The 76ers don’t seem to be sold on one specific player at the #3 spot, due to the fact that they haven’t worked out anyone yet projected in that top three range (Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox will work out this weekend). There are a lot of interesting scenarios that could go on in this draft, but Lonzo Ball would be a tough fit alongside Ben Simmons in a pass-first backcourt. Josh Jackson is another wing who can’t shoot despite his tremendous athleticism. It would make sense to drop down a couple spots, snag a Jayson Tatum, or Malik Monk to bring some shooting around Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. In addition, you have another pick very soon after, and take a guy like Donovan Mitchell, Frank Ntilikina or Luke Kennard. You’re getting two solid assets for one potentially great one whom the 76ers are unsure on who it is. To avoid the uncertainty and a potential rough fit, it would make sense to do the deal.
Why the 76ers shouldn’t make this deal: Remember the show on ESPN Numbers Never Lie? Sure, it was corny, but no matter how far out the reasoning, they always had a stat to prove their point. In this study that analyzed the first round picks taken from 1989-2008, it broke down each player in each spot into categories based on their play throughout their career. The categories are star, solid, role player, deep bench etc. The #3 pick in this time frame had the highest percentage chance of becoming a star (see Grant Hill, Chauncey Billups, Pau Gasol, Carmelo Anthony). The #5 and #10 picks don’t have close to the chance that the #3 pick offers according to the study. How many opportunities will the 76ers have at getting a top 3 pick right? They shouldn’t try to get cute and trade down, but take the best player available, have him very potentially become a star and work from there. Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson are both ballers, and although might not be the perfect fit, could potentially adjust to the team and thrive.