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76ers Draft Night Sets the Stage for Exciting NBA Offseason

It’s been more than a month since 76ers basketball president Daryl Morey and coach Doc Rivers got together at the team’s practice facility in Camden to publicly express their disappointment at yet another playoff exit to the second round and reiterate their commitment to building a contender who could benefit from Joel Embiid’s prime MVP class and a spectacular mid-season acquisition of James Harden.

This week, the Sixers will go through their first round of the NBA draft on Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, in what could be an exciting off-season for roster changes.

“We’re going to sort it all out,” Maury said the day after the 66ers lost to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. “But we feel there is work to be done. … However, we know we have to get better. Elton [Brand, general manager]staff, we have work for us.

The Sixers have the 23rd overall pick in the draft, which is an asset they didn’t guarantee until a couple of weeks ago. The pick was originally part of a blockbuster trade deal that saw Harden (and seasoned big man Paul Millsap) move to Philadelphia from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond. But the Nets decided to postpone the selection until next year.

If the 66ers keep their pick on Thursday, the immediate and long-term impact of players drafted in this range could be very different.

Tyrese Maxey, who took 21st overall in the 2020 draft at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, has emerged as a rising star after a breakthrough second season. Matisse Tibull, who has been selected to the NBA All-Defensive twice but is still severely limited on offense, was selected 20th overall in 2019. Furkan Korkmaz, a substitute swingman who struggled hard with his long range shooting last season, was selected 26th in 2016.

Other league players who have recently been selected late in the first round or early in the second round include Robert Williams (27th overall in 2018), Grant Williams (22nd overall in 2019) and Payton Pritchard (26th overall). in 2020) from the Boston Celtics. who just reached the NBA Finals, Brandon Clarke (21st overall in 2019) and Desmond Bain (30th overall in 2020) of the Memphis Grizzlies, Anferny Simons (24th overall in 2018) of the Portland Trail Blazers and Delaware native Bones Highland (26th in 2021). ) Denver Nuggets.

The Sixers roster needs athleticism, defense (especially on the wing), toughness, and an instant offense that allows them to score from the bench. Among the 2022 prospects who spoke with the Sixers at last month’s NBA draft were Wisconsin-Milwaukee forward Patrick Baldwin, G League Ignite forward MaJon Beauchamp, Ohio State guard Malachy Branham, Baylor forward Kendall Brown and forward from Nebraska Bryce McGowans. Brown also trained for the Sixers on Monday in Camden as part of a group that also included St. Joseph forward Jordan Hall, Delaware defenseman Kevin Anderson, Alabama defenseman Keon Ellis and UNLV defenseman Bryce Hamilton, several sources told The Inquirer. .

Others who could fall into their 23-year-old range include Notre Dame forward Blake Wesley, Kentucky defenseman T.T. Washington, Tennessee defenseman Kennedy Chandler, Ohio State forward E. is from Embiid’s hometown of Cameroon).

The 23rd pick can also be used as part of a trade-in pack to add more immediate help instead of a young player who will likely need some time to develop. Depth was a major issue for the Sixers during the playoffs, even before veteran winger Danny Green tore two knee ligaments in their last game against Miami. And their 2021 first-round pick, quarterback Jayden Springer, has spent most of the season with the G-League Delaware Blue Pates.

Tobias Harris, who still has a solid contract but could potentially increase his value after a terrific postseason while adapting to fit Harden, could also be moved to make room in the cap to go after a star-caliber player or a few role players. to meet needs. League sources told The Inquirer that the Sixers are also evaluating other teams’ trading interest in Tibull, who is eligible for an offseason extension, Korkmaz and backup quarterback Shake Milton. Milton has a $1.9 million team option for next season, which HoopsHype revealed last week that the 66ers plan to pick him up (potentially to keep him as a post-draft trade option). And despite the serious injury, Green’s expiring $10 million contract is also an interesting trading asset because this last year of the deal is not fully guaranteed until July 1st.

The Sixers have no second-round pick this year, which was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2018 blockbuster when Jimmy Butler moved to Philadelphia. The 6ers can return to the second round, which often only requires money considerations.

Draft night will feature a free-agent table that opens at 6:00 p.m. next Thursday (June 30).

» READ MORE: The Sixers’ biggest question this offseason isn’t whether they should trade Matisse Tiboul. Can they.

Harden’s future is the most notable storyline. He has publicly stated that he will take a $47.4 million player option for next season, and last week the Bleacher Report revealed that he would also sign a short-term extension to come into play after the options season. That would have been the perfect outcome for the Sixers, as Harden would also have been eligible to sign a maximum four-year extension on August 10.

The Sixers’ unrestricted free agents are Millsap, who may retire after a 16-year career, and DeAndre Jordan, who the Sixers added via a buyout market after losing Drummond in the Harden-to-Simmons trade.

How different the Sixers’ roster will look in 2022-23 remains to be seen. But Thursday’s draft is the first benchmark for what could be an exciting summer.

“Look, we can do this,” Maury said. “We have a lot of resources. We have a lot of flexibility. [Owners] Josh [Harris] and David [Blitzer] give us every opportunity to go out and do what we have to do. … We are not afraid to talk about it. [A championship] is the goal.

“We have one of the best if not the best player on the planet. [in Embiid]and we need to do more. All of us.”

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