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Sixers Mailbag: Would you trade for Kristaps Porzingis?

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An Embiid-Porzingis frontline?!?

NBA: New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Your least favorite mailbag writer is back! Please check out my previous three mailbags here, here and here for some repeat questions that I received. On to the questions...

@Anthony_Capelli: My KIND SIR,,, who would you rather draft: 1996 Allen Iverson or 2017 Markelle Fultz

Allen Iverson was a damn good player who helped some pretty bad Sixers teams overachieve to a level they likely wouldn’t have come close to otherwise in that timeframe. Iverson would also be undersized and inefficient by NBA standards in 2017.

When answering this, I think what would happen with Iverson if he were to play in this year’s NBA Finals. A team with Iverson on the court would get pick-and-rolled to death defensively, as either the Cavaliers or the Warriors would have the player Iverson is guarding screen the ball-handler’s defender and force a switch until Iverson was one-on-one with either the likes of LeBron James or Kevin Durant. He could be getting played off the floor.

Now, Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry certainly aren’t all-world defenders, but the provide enough spacing and passing offensively to still excel in today’s game. Iverson working as a chucker on offense doesn’t really do that. Markelle Fultz, as I’ve written about previously, doesn’t really do anything poorly on the court. He’s certainly not elite at everything, but given his age it’s easy to project him steadily improving in all the facets of his game with a high baseline for those skills.

Was Allen Iverson entertaining as hell to watch? Of course. Do people in Philly, myself included, like to get drunk on nostalgia with him? All of the time. Those things can both be true while being realistic about how Iverson’s game would’ve translated to the NBA had he come around two decades later.

@SexyTimeLax: Would the #3 pick & Dario be enough for Porzingis? Would you make that trade?

I can’t imagine that’s nearly enough for Kristaps Porzingis. I see him as a multiple-time All-Star in the future with two years left on his rookie contract. I love Dario Saric like the brother I never had, but as I wrote before in regards to what I would give up for the top pick in this draft (and ultimately Fultz), I wouldn’t let my total fanboy adoration for him get in the way of a Ben Simmons-Joel Embiid-Third Star core.

I think Porzingis is a star in this league and while I think he can comfortably play the four alongside Embiid, he also in a way acts as Embiid insurance in case our worst fears with his health situation are realized. The issue with him being the third star to Simmons and Embiid is that both he and Simmons would be best suited to guard fours with Embiid guarding fives, so something has to give.

I know people were upset (rightfully so to a degree) when I said I’d trade Simmons for Fultz in my last mailbag, but I would also move him for Porzingis. There are two years of evidence out there that Porzingis can be a star while Sixers fans were unfortunately robbed of seeing Simmons potentially mesh with Embiid and the rest of the team this past season. Porzingis is only about 10 and a half months older than Simmons as well. I don’t think there’s a huge difference in terms of their developmental path.

Trading Simmons for Porzingis would allow the Sixers to keep the third pick, at least it will in this hypothetical. That frees up the Sixers to take someone else they think can star on this team regardless of their fit with Simmons’, which could be Josh Jackson, Dennis Smith Jr. or De’Aron Fox. Is an Embiid-Porzingis-Fox core better than a Embiid-Simmons-Jonathan Isaac core? I don’t really know, but I like the idea of combining two seven-footers who can both stretch the floor, defend the rim and create their own shot to combat the current wave of small-ball across the league.

As a wise man once said, “A competitive league like the NBA necessitates a zig while our competitors comfortably zag.”

@sriverfx19: Would u trade 3rd pick plus Okafor to Kings for 5th & 10th picks?

It would be great if people stopped considered Jahlil Okafor as a sweetener in potential trades. As if throwing him in this deal or some hypothetical trade to the Celtics for the draft’s top pick makes any difference. ANYWAY... Would I trade the third pick for picks five and 10?

I’m of two trains of thought with this. My first inclination is that I hate the idea of trading down in the NBA draft. This isn’t the NFL draft. The Sixers aren’t picking up valuable mid-round picks over the next two years to move down two spots the way it happens in football. There are a finite amount of franchise-changing players in a single NBA draft. That’s why the Sixers have endured this entire rebuild, in order to get the highest pick possible and therefore get the best player available.

It makes sense to just stay at three and take the best player out there in theory. The more I look at who will be available with the fifth pick, however, I’m into the idea. I’m going to assume Fultz goes first to the Celtics, the Lakers then grab Lonzo Ball and the Kings now take Fox with the third pick. I think Isaac is the second-best player in this draft behind Fultz. I would comfortably take him with the third pick, but there is a decent probability of him being available at five if it’s assumed that the Suns will take one of Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum with the fourth pick.

So the Sixers could get the guy I’d want them to take with the third pick two spots later while also picking up the 10th pick, a lottery ticket for another potential star, in the process? That sounds perfect. Grabbing Isaac and pairing him with one of Frank Ntilikina or Donovan Mitchell, two guards with three-and-D potential who’d play an ideal role next to Ben Simmons, is a hell of a haul.

The risk of not getting The Guy the Sixers truly want after trading down would make me hesitate, but I think I’d have to do the deal.

@kaitremogile: What are your thoughts on signing Paul Millsap possibly?

Who is Paul Millsap?