Who should the Sixers take with the third pick?

June 26th, 2015 by Sam Shipley | Filed under General, NBA, Sixers.

With the NBA Draft just three hours away there is a lot of anxiousness in the city of Philadelphia. The Sixers, as everyone knows, are in the midst of the craziest rebuild in NBA history.

It all started by trading away a point guard in Jrue Holiday, who was coming off of his first All Star appearance, for Nerlens Noel and a future first round pick. In that same night the Sixers drafted Michael Carter-Williams.

In last years NBA Draft the Sixers selected Joel Embiid, who some believe has the chance to be the best player in that draft class when all is said and done. They also selected Dario Saric, who we may not see for another two years.

As we all know, Carter-Williams would go on to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award, and was traded in February of this year for a future first round pick. The move shocked many around the NBA for obvious reasons, “Why would the Sixers trade away the Rookie of the Year, especially when they are rebuilding?”.

The answer is simple: Sam Hinkie does not think like the rest of the world.

Sam Hinkie is either a pure genius who will one day rule the universe, or he will go down as one of the biggest jokes in sports history. But no matter the outcome, he is hitting either of those extremes by doing things his way.

Tomorrow night will be Hinkie’s third draft as the Sixers General Manager, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that Hinkie will be as active as anyone in the NBA tomorrow night. The question is, what will the Sixers walk away tomorrow night with for the future?

Sitting with the third pick in the draft, the Sixers are in prime position to take an immediate impact player who has the potential to be a cornerstone for the franchise for years to come.

The players who have been linked to the Sixers at number three are Jahlil Okafor, D’Angelo Russell, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Kristaps Porzingis. Ironically, there is a chance that these players could go off the board in that order from picks two through five tomorrow night.

Out of the four players, the general feeling is that D’Angelo Russell will be a member of the Sixers. However, that is far from a sure thing for a few reasons. Number one, there is a chance that the Los Angeles Lakers select Russell with the second pick in the draft. The Lakers and Russell have been linked for over a week now as a real possibility.

The second scenario is Sam Hinkie decides that despite what the consensus about Russell being the best fit for the Sixers at three, one of the remaining four players is a better fit for the teams future, as there is a legitimate case for each player to be selected by the Sixers.

The third scenario is that the Sixers trade down from the third pick in the draft and acquire assets and a player not named here like Justise Winslow, Mario Hezenoja, or even Cameron Payne.

In my personal opinion, I want the Sixers to land D’Angelo Russell.

Russell will give the Sixers something that they have not had in a very long time, a point guard who can fill it up. While he may not be a “true point guard”, Russell is considered the best point guard in the draft and has a very unique skill set.

In his lone season at Ohio State, Russell showed he can score the basketball at a high rate, create his own shot, and has range to step out and knock down the three as he averaged 19.3 ppg while shooting 45% from the floor and 41% from deep. Along with his scoring, he is a unbelievable passer, and if you don’t want to take my word for it here is a quote from Louisville head coach Rick Pitino in an interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm on Wednesday:

“In the last 30 some-odd years, outside of Magic Johnson he’s the best passer I’ve seen come along,” Pitino said. “[He] has great instincts [and] really understands the game very well.”

“Anytime you have that type of passing skills and that offensive mind for the game I think you’re going to be something special.”

The biggest knock on Russell is his inability to be a great defender against athletic point guards. Many feel that he will struggle against the likes of Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. But then again, how many point guards are actually successful against two of the top point guards in the game?

The beauty to the whole operation is this, the player that the Sixers select tomorrow night will not have to come in right away and be thrown into the fire from a standpoint of having to play well every night. With the Sixers still in rebuilding mode, a player like Russell can come in work with the coaching staff and develop his game and gain amazing experience in his first year. He will be the sure fire starting point guard come game one, and will get to learn how to play point guard a the NBA level by Brett Brown, an outstanding teacher and coach.

Russell will no doubt solidify a position that the Sixers have been unable to solidify for close to a decade. And when paired with Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel, will give the Sixers a trio that have the capability to grow together in hopes of one day forming their own “Big 3”.


Follow Sam Shipley on Twitter: @samshipley5

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.