The Sixers selection of Ben Simmons as the first overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft didn't take a whole lot of thought. He was far and away the most talented player in the class; his impressive skill set made him impossible to pass up on. What Colangelo wanted to do after taking Simmons required some serious consideration, and for a while he seemed close to make a questionable decision.
In as weak of a draft class as this year's was considered, the last thing you want to be doing is hiking up the draft board while everyone else is moving out. An older point guard soon to be on an expiring deal in George Hill was worth the 12th overall pick. Sacramento gave up the 8th pick for the 13th, 28th pick, and a draft and stash. That's not worth much. Teams were giving away picks like free mixtapes on street corners, yet Bryan Colangelo reportedly had his eyes set on Providence point guard Kris Dunn.
Dunn's flaws are as notable as his strengths, and although he was certainly the top point guard in this class, I think it speaks to how little competition he had more so than how good of a prospect he is. Bryan Colangelo certainly seemed to feel differently. Opposite opinions on players like Dunn are how general managers get either canned or glorified, and Colangelo seemed ready to start off his Sixers tenure by betting a lot on the 22-year-old. If the reports about the rumored deal are to be believed -- and it came from two reputable sources -- Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington and the No. 24 and No. 26 overall pick was a lot to give up for a guy a tier well below Simmons and Brandon Ingram.
All of a sudden, the fears about Colangelo came rushing back. Racing to the middle of the pack. Forcing the team into that win now mentality. This was against everything he said when he preached continuing Hinkie's path for longterm success. But by the end of the night, Kris Dunn was not in Philadelphia, and the Sixers walked away with their rim protector in Nerlens Noel, the remarkably cheap and productive Robert Covington, and two fantastic value picks in the 20s (more on them later). Maybe both Danny Ainge and Tom Thibodeau wanted to squeeze the Sixers for more, but Colangelo was smart enough not to give in. The package Philadelphia had on the table must not have been all that enticing to Boston or Minnesota, but those pieces are valuable to the team currently while still having a potential role in the makeup of this team going forward. The risk greatly outweighed the reward.
Once potential deals with Boston or Minnesota collapsed, Colangelo kicked ass the rest of the night. While teams seemed to be losing their minds reaching somewhat remarkably on guys like Thon Maker, Georgios Papagiannis, and Guerschon Yabusele, he was finally letting the draft come to him. There was no panic trade to move up to secure who they want; Colangelo let two talented prospects fall right into his lap and walked away looking like a winner.
At the very least, Timothe Luwawu and Furkan Korkmaz stand to be great value picks. We rated them very highly at Liberty Ballers, and Draft Express ranked them as the No. 12 and No. 20 prospects overall. Colangelo took advantage of Thursday's madness to select two guys so low that it made Simmons levels of sense to select them. Luwawu is an intriguing 3-and-D wing with the tools to be a talented two-way player. Korkmaz is an 18-year-old combo guard who can score extremely on one of Europe's top teams. Both players can help address certain needs of the team now, and Colangelo was able to grab them without straying from the best player available approach or trading valuable pieces. For that, he should be commended.
The night had the potential to lead the franchise off course, but Bryan Colangelo kept the ship sailing towards potential prosperity without sacrificing any part of the future. It's a step in the right direction for a Colangelo regime still looking to win over a fanbase that wants to find something to believe in.