Everyone has the Sixers picking 2nd in most of the mock drafts that I've seen based on their current place in the standings (next to last), and I actually agree that this is most likely where they will finish. Even if the Sixers lose every game the rest of the season, The Bucks will have to win four more in order for the Sixers to finish last (which isn't a given). The problem with these mock drafts is that they don't represent the most likely scenario, statistically.
If the Sixers stay the course and finish with the 2nd worst record, they would have an almost 20% chance of netting the first overall pick, about an 18% chance of getting the 2nd overall pick, 15% chance of getting the 3rd overall pick, 31% chance of getting 4th overall pick, and about 12% chance of getting the 5th overall pick. I considered examining the worst case scenario (picking 5th), but I determined not to let my Philly pessimism get the best of me. So, instead, I want to take a look at the most likely scenario: 4th overall.
The dilemma, as far as I'm concerned, is that there appears to be a drop off past the first three picks. This draft represents the Sixers best chance at netting a player with franchise potential. They may be bad next year too, but with two lottery picks on the roster, I find it hard to believe that they will be THIS bad. They have a point guard and (maybe) a shot-blocking big man, but they NEED a go-to option to run their offense through, regardless of what position he plays. The top 3 players: Embiid, Wiggins, and Parker COULD be that guy. Beyond that, I have my doubts. I like Julius Randle and I think he will be a good pro. But does anyone realistically expect him to score 20+ points a game in the NBA? Dante' Exum? Meh. He reminds me of Larry Hughes with an Australian accent.
Do they try to trade up into the top 3? If so, what would it take? Don't give me this nonsense of Thad Young plus 4th overall. No team picking in the top 3 is going to want to take on salary. If I'm picking 3rd, I'm asking for no less than both of Philly's firsts or, failing that, the 4th overall plus their 1st next year (top 5 protected). I just think the drop off is that great after 3.
Do they trade down and just hope that they are this bad again next year? That seems to contradict the whole purpose of tanking the roster to begin with. So what would you do: Trade up (at a steep cost), take Randle, Exum (or somebody else), or trade down?