With the Sixers on the clock at #24 of the 2019 SB Nation mock draft, I let it be known that Philly was open to trading out of the pick, as our targets Matisse Thybulle and Grant Williams were no longer available. It did not take very long for an offer to come in: the Phoenix Suns wanted to pick again in the 1st round and ultimately were willing to part with two picks to do so. Their offer was pick #32 and the rights to the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2020 1st round pick (protected 1-7), and I happily accepted.
More on my thought process from the post on Ridiculous Upside:
After Matisse Thybulle was taken by the Cavaliers at 21st overall, the Sixers saw their targeted player pool shrink down to “guys we like” without any “guys we love”. Furthermore, of these players we like, we feel very confident that quite a few of them will be available when our handful of 2nd round picks hit the clock. Trading back while landing an (albeit likely late) 1st round pick was a no-brainer given the lack of certainty we previously had that we would even have an opportunity to draft in 2020’s 1st round.
About those handful of 2nd round picks in this (mock) draft: we (speaking as the Sixers) now have five — or nearly 20% of all 2nd round selections, which just sounds funny as I type it. While the 2019 NBA Draft class appears to be relatively thin on talent, we like our chances of finding value when we make three straight picks at 32, 33 and 34. With the 1st round nearing conclusion and only one 2nd round selection before our run, we’re interested in Talen Horton-Tucker, Shamorie Ponds, Carsen Edwards, Daniel Gafford, Keldon Johnson, and Dylan Windler should they remain on the board. If a few of those players are taken over the final picks of the 1st, this plan could backfire as the Sixers could really use immediate contributors. But we are decently skeptical any player in the 24+ range could fulfill such a role, and ultimately feel our aforementioned confidence will be vindicated leaving us multiple options from 32 to 34.
If free agency goes the way we hope it does, i.e. running it back, we likely won’t be able to take in too many rookies as we’ll hope to make the most of our available roster space using exceptions/veteran minimum contracts. This makes the picks at 42 and 54 expendable if there aren’t any high-upside or euro stash prospects left on the board, possibly giving us more ammo to add to our 2020 NBA Draft picks (or even further down the line) which now include the Milwaukee Bucks’ 1st round pick (protected 1-7, unprotected 2021+) along with the rights to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 1st round pick (top-20 protected) which softens some of the blow of trading the Sixers’ own to the L.A. Clippers in the Tobias Harris trade.
I’m far from alone on this but I’m not exactly blown away by the 2019 NBA Draft class, so quite frankly, I’m very satisfied with this outcome. I wanted to find a way to work either Elie Okobo or De’Anthony Melton into this trade but I did not want to end up surrendering any assets outside of pick #24 and I was up against the clock, so I was motivated to jump on the offer even without one of the two players. While I think many would agree that the 2019 class isn’t the most tantalizing offering of talent, I’m sure to have bugged a few who might view this as a kick-the-can transaction given the Sixers’ need for immediate contributors. But as I stated above, I didn’t view any of the available players as a lock to be a positive in a playoff environment as soon as next season.
For those keeping track at home, the Sixers’ 2020 draft stash, if this trade really occurred, would look like so:
- 2020 1st round pick from Oklahoma City (top-20 protected)
- 2020 1st round pick from Milwaukee (1-7 protected)
- 2020 2nd round pick from Brooklyn or New York (more favorable of the two)
- 2020 2nd round pick from Dallas
You can follow along with the SB Nation mock draft stream to check out each selection.