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NBA Draft 2017: Sixers "Experts" On Markelle Fultz, "The Process" & more!

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With the NBA Draft upon us, our "experts" weigh in on the Sixers' long, strange trip called "The Process," Markelle Fultz & more.

 

Joe Vallee

 

jvallee@philly2philly.com

@JoeVallee214

When I first heard the rumors that the Sixers could be trading with the Celtics for the first pick in the draft, which (to no surprise) turned out to be Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, my initial thought was the following: “Man...how badly is Danny Ainge going to fleece Bryan Colangelo?”

 

After all, this IS the Celtics, the bane of the Sixers existence for most of the 1960s, as well as some heartbreaking years in the 1980s. Yes, it was a long time ago, but by nature, and regardless of the GM, the Celtics historically don’t botch drafts (see: Joe Barry Carroll, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, 1980 Draft). Moreover, could you EVER see Red Auerbach speaking on the phone with former Sixers GMs Leo Ferris or (de facto GM) Ike Richman, in hopes of making some kind of trade? No way. Absolutely. No. Way.

 

Even though faces don’t change (after all, Ainge must’ve learned a thing or two from Auerbach, right?), time does, and at this stage, it looks like both teams (at this time) are satisfied with the deal. At first, I figured there’s no way Ainge wouldn’t take the No. 3 pick and both Sixers draft picks for the next two years. However, the stipulations are more than fair. For those of you living under a rock since Saturday, the Celtics get the Sixers pick if the Lakers land between second or fifth in next year’s NBA Lottery, and if not, they get the Sixers-Kings 2019 first-round pick instead.

 

Now to Fultz. I think it’s safe to say that not many people (outside of devoted basketball insiders) can say they’ve seen him play on a regular basis. That being said, the consensus is that the Sixers will draft a player who is the most complete player in the draft, as well as the best fit for them. A player with great ball handling and passing skills, who shoots well (despite his performance during his Sixers workout)—something this team sorely needs. Moreover, it will be interesting to see how Fultz plays with Ben Simmons, who isn’t exactly known for his jump shooting prowess. Making Simmons the primary ball handler frees up the 6-4 Fultz, who is always a factor in the game, regardless of whether he has the ball or not.

Of course, the core of Joel Embiid, Simmons, Dario Saric, Robert Covington and Fultz has to play a game together (and most importantly, stay healthy) before they’re anointed the next NBA dynasty. That being said, it’s something to be excited about at this time. We’ve earned this, Sixers fans. If all goes well, we could officially be seeing the end of “The Process” as we know it.

 

If not, nothing really changes, and we’ll still have the same crappy basketball team we’ve had over the last five years.

 

But we’re due. Really, we’re due. Don’t you think?

 

 

Matt Goldberg

matt@tipofthegoldberg.com  

@tipofgoldberg 

 

As we approach the 2017 NBA Draft, I am overwhelmed with...ambivalence. Not apathy, as I truly care, but ambivalence. As in decided mood swings. In my up moments, I envision a 76ers team with a healthy, carnivorous Joel Embiid, a healthy, motivated and creative Ben Simmons, and a dynamic top pick Markelle Fultz all meshing together and getting great support from Dario Saric, Robert Covington and perhaps a few more guys not named Jahlil Okafor. Knowing that LeBron can't dominate the East forever (for that matter, will he even stay in the East?), this team can be a BEAST in two or three years.

 

Then there are all those persistent down moments. After all the tanking and false fits of optimism over the years, all I know is that our team, our town, our 76ers have a combined record of 75-253 over the last four years. And Embiid and Simmons have played, a measly 31 combined games out of a possible 328. And, has anyone ever really seen Fultz play, other than on Youtube clips? Didn't think so.

 

The irony of all of this, to me, is that in the end, this is all kind of a referendum on Sam "Trust the Process" Hinkie, the human think tank of tanking-with-a purpose. More than a year after Hinkie was fired, after barely a public utterance during his tenure as GM, it's a coin flip as to whether he was a dunce, a genius or like many of us, a bit of both.

 

All this written, my optimistic side is strangely winning out at the moment. Which mean: Playoffs in 2018, and serious title contender status (no, really!) by 2021. And don't we need at least one title by 2022 to justify that horrendous 75-253 stretch, all the injuries, and all the failed big men and stashed assets?

 

We sure as hell do!

 

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