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The Sixers Don't Need To Draft A Point Guard

Just because it's popular to run an offense through the point guard position does not mean the Sixers need to take one on Thursday night.

Kevin Jairaj-USA Today Sports

Sam Hinkie will acquire who he believes is the best player available once the Sixers are on the clock at No. 3. Whether that will be accomplished by simply drafting the best player available at No. 3, or by trading down or trading some package involving No. 3 for an impact veteran or blue chip player, I don't know. What I do know is that the Sixers aren't suffering from a gaping hole at point guard any more than they are from a wide-open, The Eyrie-style moon door on the wing. And Sixers fans shouldn't be disappointed if Hinkie's front office chooses to correct the latter rather than the former.

I'd actually prefer Hinkie choose that second path and take Mario Hezonja. Yes, we're currently living in a basketball world dominated by the point guard position, in which the league's greatest point just piloted the league's greatest offense to a championship.

But these were also the same playoffs in which the Houston Rockets made the Conference Finals platooning 37-year-old Jason Terry and 34-year-old Pablo Prigioni at point guard alongside a playmaking wing in James Harden. The Cleveland Cavaliers won two NBA Finals games starting undrafted point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who may have shown his true colors in Games 4, 5 and 6, rather than Games 2 and 3, but showed that winning was manageable with him in the lineup.

Point guard is currently the league's deepest position, yet that doesn't necessarily mean you need an elite point guard to contend. That star perimeter player shouldn't be strictly confined by the point guard position. LeBron James (45.2 percent playoffs AST%) and James Harden (35.0 percent playoffs AST%) can create just as many, if not more, scoring opportunities for their teammates as Stephen Curry (29.9 percent playoffs AST%) can his from the point.

This ideology isn't constricted to just this season. James won two titles with the Heat as Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole manned the point guard position. Tony Parker was actually the Spurs' fourth-best creator during their title run in 2014. The Mavericks offense ran through Dirk Nowitzki at the high-post in 2011, not through 37-year-old Jason Kidd. And Kobe Bryant won all of those Lakers titles with Derek Fisher bringing the ball up court.

Elite scoring and playmaking from somewhere on the perimeter has always mattered more than elite playmaking from the point guard position. Historically, having a point guard be able to knock down wide-open corner threes has simply been a luxury. Say hello to John Paxson or Steve Kerr (as players, not as coaches or executives).

Building around elite point-guard play is certainly the sexy team construction tactic of this decade. It's breathtaking to watch Russell Westbook, John Wall, and Damian Lillard split double teams, take one or two more dribbles and put the rotating big man on a poster with a highlight jam. But it's clearly not the only way to build, and a team should not conform just for the sake of fitting in.

With the point guard position being so deep nowadays, it's incredibly easy to find a serviceable one in this current NBA. And if the entire league is concentrating on the point guard position, why not beat the curve and start the trend of re-focusing on the wings or even running offense through big men, rather than follow a format that might simply become outdated in a few seasons?

The NBA and the league's team-building strategies always move in cycles. Wouldn't you rather spin the wheel, than be left dizzy trying to figure out where it's going to stop? If the Sixers focus solely on picking a point guard, it may be an instance where the team is actually behind the curve.

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