Ahh the NBA Draft. As a Sixers fan, it seems like we have become more excited for the NBA Draft Lottery and the NBA Draft in June than we do the regular season.
So, with the ping-pong balls having already fallen their way, the Sixers ended up with the No. 3 pick in the Draft. The Lakers obtained the No. 2 pick and the Boston Celtics grabbed the No. 1 overall via the Brooklyn Nets.
Now, it kind of went unnoticed, but the Sixers would not have obtained the No. 3 pick in the Draft without the ability to swap picks with the Sacramento Kings. In a trade during the summer of 2015 with the Kings, the Sixers acquired some major assets, one being Nik Stauskas, the other, the pick swap.
That swap came in handy last night with the Sixers originally obtaining the No. 5 overall and the Kings having No 3. But with the mastermind Sam Hinkie obtaining the swap when he was still GM, the Sixers were able to move down two slots.
Rain drop, drop top, we be converting on the pick swap. #ThanksSac ?
— Nik Stauskas (@NStauskas11) May 17, 2017
So, now that the pick is settled, who will the Sixers be taking with the third pick? I am going to dive into some options at three with the assumption that Markell Fultz and Lonzo Ball go No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. There could be a reason why either one of them falls, but for the sake of this article, we will dive into the rest of the options.
#1 De’Aaron Fox
In the beginning of the season, it would have been weird to say Fox would be ahead of Malik Monk in most mock drafts. In Kentucky’s last 14 games of the season, the Wildcats went 13-1 and Fox played some incredible basketball, shooting 48% from the floor.
One thing that people can not get over when it comes to Fox is his speed. He has the zip of a past Kentucky great, John Wall, who has been the franchise player for a recently successful team in the Washington Wizards.
Fox is one of the best defensive guards in this draft as well. A big reason as to why his draft stock was given rise was his performance in the NCAA Tournament, most specifically his match-up with top prospect Lonzo Ball. He played Ball twice, once in the regular season, and once in the Tournament.
Fox held Ball to 14 and 10 points in both of those games. Even better, he was able to drop 39 points against Ball in the game that sent UCLA home from the Tournament.
With Fox, the Sixers will be able to push the pace with his ability to get up-and-down the floor. The Sixers would have three players who can push the ball in their line-up with Simmons, Fox, and Saric. It would be interesting to see how they would incorporate Simmons because even though Brett Brown said he will be the point guard, he will have trouble guarding the smaller guards.
That is where the point-forward comes in and Fox would be able to guard the quicker player. Fox would be a great selection for Philadelphia.
#2 Josh Jackson
Josh Jackson would be an interesting pick for the Sixers. They already have a pretty formidable small forward in Robert Covington, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go that route.
Josh Jackson improved his offense throughout the season as he finished shooting 54% from the field and 37% from three-point land. Jackson is a player who is just as impressive on the defensive end as he is on the offensive end.
As a wing, he is long and athletic and can block shots well for a guy of his size. He is someone who can guard the perimeter, which is something that the Sixers could use as they are improving on defense but still ranked 27th out of 30 this year.
For the Sixers, Jackson would add a lot of size to an already tall lineup. He could potentially become one of the teams best defenders pretty early, and although he still has to improve his jumper, Jackson would be a solid pick for Philadelphia.
#3 Jayson Tatum
This is going out on a limb here, but Jayson Tatum could be the best scorer in one-on-one situations in this draft. He has an ability to take isolation plays and create them into something special.
He can use his strength and size to overpower the smaller defenders but has the ability to get past guys who are much bigger.
Tatum has the ability to rebound better than most guys his size and can do it particularly well on the defensive end. His size, strength, and athleticism is something the Sixers really need to take a hard look at because they could be passing on one of the more athletic players we have seen in some time.
As far as weaknesses go, he has a decent mid-range game, but besides that, he lacks the outside shot. That can be scary for Sixers fans because they have seen a lack of shooting for four or more seasons now.
He is also not a great ball handler and passer, which is okay because the Sixers have that guy in Simmons. There are also questions about his lack of aggression which can scream major red flags because the last thing you need is a guy taking plays off.
Overall, Tatum has the strength and size, and the ability to drive the basketball like the Sixers need.
So, who do they take?
Well, the Sixers will have a tough choice to make with these three. Fox has the ability to be that lightning-quick guard the Sixers need and can drive and push the ball down the floor. Jackson is that lockdown defender, with the ability to score the basketball as well. Tatum is a guy who has the athleticism and ability to get to the rim and rebound at a solid rate.
With the 3rd pick in the 2017 NBA Draft the Philadelphia 76ers select….
De’Aaron Fox, from the University of Kentucky.