The weirdest season in NBA history has finally come to a close. The Philadelphia 76ers flamed out of the playoffs in spectacular fashion and now they have an entire offseason to make major decisions that could shape this team for the foreseeable future. With no major news on the reshaping of the front office like fans were promised (the team has only just parted ways with VP of Strategy Sergi Oliva), things aren’t looking too hot. Changes need to be made both throughout the front office and the roster. If the Sixers are ever going to reach their full potential, they are going to need to do much more than just handing out massive contracts to players not worth them.
Over the past few years the Sixers have gone all in on trying to bring big names to the City of Brotherly Love to pair up with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Because of this it feels like the team has begun to neglect the draft process, and while they have found some nice players in the draft recently it could have been much better.
The Sixers have done a great job late in the first round in recent years, bringing in talent like Furkan Korkmaz, Landry Shamet and Matisse Thybulle, but very rarely have they used their plethora of second-round picks to their advantage. As we see throughout the rest of the NBA, teams who take chances on players in the second round and allow them the time to develop are often rewarded for their efforts. The Sixers have had to rely on cheap veterans in free agency, and while they can’t just rely on draftees to fill their roster either there needs to be more of a balance.
With the way the roster is currently constructed the Sixers desperately need to be able to work the margins of the team. It feels like they have gone away from that way of thinking in the last few years, but with huge contracts already on the payroll they really don’t have much other choice. Last year was especially upsetting. The Sixers had the 33rd, 34th and 42nd picks in the second round, and while the 33rd pick was used to move up to acquire Matisse Thybulle, the only things they received for the other two picks were cash considerations.
Something as small as trading second-round picks was looked at as such a slap in the face to fans because everyone knew that move came from ownership as a way to line their pockets even further. Instead of easily improving the team, the Sixers came out of the draft with only Thybulle and Marial Shayok. This isn’t a knock on either player, but the draft could have gone a lot better if the Sixers just held on to their picks. With players like Shake Milton and Norvel Pelle already on the roster, they have proof that investing in second-round picks and G-League talent still works.
Thanks to several trades over the years the Sixers once again find themselves with several second-round picks. This year the team has control of the 34th, 36th and 58th picks in the second round, as well as the 21st pick in the first round. These late picks could be looked at as trade ammo to get rid of some of the bloated contracts on the payroll, but if nothing comes of that the Sixers need to be willing to turn back the clock and at least attempt to develop these young players like they used to.
Sure, nothing could come of the players these second-round picks are used on, but the Sixers need to take the chance instead of never finding out at all. Philadelphia has the chance to line the roster with young, cheap talent that they can control for years. It seems like a no brainer to take a shot.