This should be taken as a recommendation for all Sixers fans that have been experiencing the post-season-pre-lottery anxiety that has stricken many of our friends and loved ones. Try to relax. I'll save the in-depth analysis of our potential draft picks for much later and maybe even for after we have been finally, mercifully, lottery slotted by the NBA. We currently need to deal with the unrestrained and unavoidable anxiousness that we're feeling while not knowing if the deliberate opportunity enhancement (or what some erroneously call: "tanking") was successful. I'm here to tell you that it was successful, already. Today, we have a better chance to win a title in the next 6 years than we had when we were watching Andrew Bynum bowl or dance instead of post-up and this is not contingent on having a top-2 pick in this year's draft.
If Andrew Wiggins is not available to the Sixers or any of Joel Embiid or Jabari Parker or Dante Exum are not available to the Sixers, we're going to need to take a deep breath, sure. But, building a team never depended on Andrew Wiggins. At least, it isn't exactly Andrew Wiggins or bust. What matters is that this is a process and the process so far is working. There is a plan where there used to be...less of a plan. The plan for Doug Collins' Sixers was to make a big trade splash with their undervalued or untested assets. I think that Iggy is/was a phenomenal player, truly. Doug knew what Iggy was and knew that other teams thought the same. He knew that teams that had the resources or were desperate were going to chase adding a player that is absolutely at the top of the league defensively, but was miscast as the primary option. For the Sixers, finding other primary options didn't work but in the end Doug Collins needed to move on from Iggy when he did and he rolled the big fuzzy dice that hang from Andrew Bynum's rearview mirror to see if he could get the sixers off of the treadmill. We know how that worked out.
Here's what we have in front of us:
1) Andrew Wiggins
2) Jabari Parker
3) Joel Embiid
4) Noah Vonleh
5) Dante Exum
6) Julius Randle
But while 1-3 are billed as potentially transcendent prospects there's a distaste for 4-6 as if we're looking at another wasted year (0 for 82 for Okafor?) if we end up with a bad ping-pong ball bounce on May 20th. For the purposes of this conversation, it's possible that Hinkie doesn't have an interest in rolling the big man dice on Joel Embiid and pulls him off the above list. Meaning, one of the above names is going to be a Sixer with the possible exception of Embiid. But, the important thing to understand is that the players in the 4, 5, 6 slot are unquestionably strong prospects.
Noah Vonleh is an efficient scoring big man that also rebounds, blocks shots and gets steals. He only played 26.5 minutes/game though so his 17.0/13.6 per 40 minutes numbers are obscured to most observers. So are his 2.1/0.9 blks/steals/40 defensive stats. He is an apparently unwilling or incapable passer, but he carries a 6'10 240 frame and sometimes carries that frame out to the 3 point line for 1.1 3FGA/game (not per 40) and he makes those shots as defenses sag off of him. So, Noah Vonleh has the exact type of potential that you want in an 18 year old, but nowhere near what is exciting to Sixers fans at the moment.
Dante Exum appears to be redundant to MCW to some analysts, but the Sixers do need a 2-guard and Exum appears to be a strong potential all-star prospect. If he's an efficient scorer some time off into the future in an NBA uniform, then it's not going to hurt MCW's feelings to run a team with Exum at the 2. We know that Brett Brown wants a high-tempo attack and if the Sixers backcourt has 2 long, quick, unselfish G's with Nerlens Noel cleaning up on defense and dunking backdoor cuts after outrunning the opposing bigs to the offensive end, i'll take that for 10 years.
Julius Randle seems like the worst case scenario for the Sixers because we know that Brett Brown wants a 4 that can stretch the defense. We know that he doesn't have freakish athleticism, but sometimes good players don't have freakish athleticism. He has an advanced low-post game for a 19 year old and there are zero questions about his desire and drive. In reality, while Julius Randle's ceiling isn't quite as high as the others in the top 6, he is the surest thing as he knows what he does well and he does it every night.
It will feel like the Sixers have a shot at every player in the draft before the lottery and even after that we will hope for particular players to drop to them. But the NBA draft is not a bunch of guys from the D-league that Hinkie can pluck and play to see what works. We only have a shot at the players's that fall to our pick. After that, we're going to have to pick one of these guys and that is OUR guy. And he will be a player that can end up winning a ring for the Sixers. Even the future of the Sixers does not rest on this player's shoulders. The Sixers future does very clearly rest on Hinkie's shoulders. Free agency and team building are something that we have a tremendous opportunity to track over the next 3-4 years. Regardless of if Wiggins/Parker/Embiid are starting for the Sixers next year, this is a process and this approach is working.