So far in the Sixers Draft Options series, we've reviewed players who could be available at 11 for the Sixers. This time, we focus not on a player, but a scenario.
In a year where many teams seems to be trying to trade down, the Sixers need to take the advantage to do the opposite and trade up. Many will say this draft class is weak. That may be true since there is no clear cut superstar in the draft. Nerlens Noel seems to be the obvious pick at 1 overall but that isn't a lock and there's talk that the Cavaliers may want to trade out of the #1 spot. Other teams near the top of the draft have also been rumored to be aiming a trade down.
Here's a few reasons why they need to move up.
1) Staying at 11 is boring.
It's possible a player that Hinkie likes falls to 11 and they end up getting the guy they wanted, but there's no guarantee. Moving up is an aggressive strategy that could net the Sixers a more talented player than they could have gotten at 11. It could also help to shed an asset that doesn't figure to be in the Sixers long term plans anyway (see: Evan Turner/Spencer Hawes/maybe even Thaddeus Young?).
Michael Levin has said it best. The Sixers don't "need" anything. They need everything. Instead of focusing on adding a certain position player (literally every mock draft you see has the Sixers taking a big guy), the Sixers should address the lack of talent on the roster by acquiring the most talented player they can.
New GM Sam Hinkie strikes me as a guy who won't be content with sitting back and maintaining the status quo as we've seen in prior years. It wouldn't surprise me to see him take a more aggressive role in the draft.
*When imagining hypothetical trade scenarios, it's important the Sixers can't trade their first unless they get a first in return.
2) "It's a weak draft"
According to reports, some teams with top selections are overvaluing their picks. If that's true, these teams won't be able to find a deal they like to move down. At that point, the team might decide they'll just keep the pick. Or maybe they'll just be desperate enough to part with the pick for a lower offer than they originally wanted. In that case it would be a nice buy-low opportunity for the Sixers.
Plus, if the draft is weak as some claim to be, then all the more reason to get what sparse of talent there is closer to the top.
3) What can the Sixers use to move up?
They don't have any great assets, but they do theoretically have some. There are no untouchable players on the roster. The closest thing to one would be Jrue Holiday. I mentioned before that Hawes/Turner could be on their way out. They're players on expiring deals who are still young and some GM might think they are worth taking a chance on. Return value on those guys likely wouldn't be great, but it could go towards moving up.
Thaddeus Young could be a player the Sixers like to move. I don't think there's a reasonable person out there who doesn't like Thad. He's a sweetheart and the effort and energy he plays with is awesome. It would legitimately sadden me to see him go. It could make sense to trade him though if the Sixers are truly committing to a rebuild and aren't trying to win games now. The problem here is that the teams ahead of the Sixers might not as much interest in Thad as a team that is closer to contending would. Who knows, though, maybe one of those teams is desperate and thinks Thad is better than the player they can take with their high pick.
There's also the two second round picks the Sixers have. I'm not sure if the picks themselves will be enough to move up, but packaging one or two with a player might be a deal someone will take.
4) Who could the Sixers target in a trade up?
As I already mentioned, the Sixers should/would will be looking for a talented player. Grabbing one of the higher rated players like Alex Len, Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo, Anthony Bennett, etc. is probably a pipe-dream and they could all be gone by pick 6. I think around picks 7-10 is the range where the Sixers could most easily move up into (kind of like how Levin got a pick there in the SBN NBA Mock Draft). It's possible a guy they like falls into that range. If the price is right, the Sixers need to be aggressive and get their guy.
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The 2013 NBA draft will mark the first basketball move we see Hinkie make. Trading up would not only be an aggressive, bold way to start off the Hinkie era, but it could also be the best decision for the Sixers.