We did it. We suffered through that hell of a season, traded nearly all of our veterans, and emerged from the lottery with a Top 3 pick in one of the Best Drafts of All Time. We've got a genius for a GM and two (hopefully) cornerstone players already in place. Everything is going according to plan. But now it's time for the next step in Hinkie's Master Plan: finding that superstar player. It's the most important step of all. Without our own LeBron, Durant, Duncan, or Paul George, there won't be a championship. Instead, we'll be another playoff team unable to make it over the hump.
Good thing we've got that top 3 pick, right? One of Wiggins, Embiid, Parker, or Exum will be donning a Sixers jersey next season, and they will do what Evan Turner never did and take our team to the next level. Yet all of these prospects have very large, very real problems, whether on the court or off it. If you've seen their DraftExpress videos you know all of them. Wiggins' ability to create offense. Parker's defense. Exum's shooting. Embiid's back injury, offensive polish, and basketball sense.
In past drafts I've been able to get excited about our picks and overlook their faults. I was sure MCW would be a very good point guard. I was sure Noel would, in time, be a shot-blocking demon with ridiculous athleticism. I knew that there was a chance neither would achieve their potential, but somehow I managed to shove those thoughts into the far back regions of my head. Because MCW and Noel didn't have to be superstars. They just had to be pieces of the puzzle.
Now, scrutinizing the top prospects of this year's draft, those faults seem overwhelmingly glaring. This scares me. I look at Wiggins and can see him reaching a Paul George level. Then I look again and see a rich man's Ben McLemore. And I think, is this really the player who's going to lead us to a championship? Same goes for Embiid (Tim Duncan or Greg Oden?) or Parker (unselfish Melo or huge defensive liability?) or Exum (MCW on steroids or regular old MCW?).
I know I'm being stupid. These prospects are some of the best we've seen in a long time. This is the best chance for us to land a superstar since Iverson. We've got a front office that is operating on an entirely different level than the previous regime. And yet I can't shake the feeling that the player we choose with our first pick in the 2014 Draft could very well fail to meet our tremendous expectations. That's the beauty of sports, I guess. Nothing is certain, not even a top 3 player in a draft like this.
Let's just hope, for our sake and theirs, that our guy can.