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With NBA Draft approaching, Sixers await Brooklyn’s decision on their first-round pick

Brooklyn has until June 1 to decide whether to accept Philadelphia’s 23rd overall pick in this summer’s draft or defer to 2023.

Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

With the Philadelphia 76ers’ season coming to an end last week at the hands of the Miami Heat, attention now shifts to the offseason and how Daryl Morey and company can improve the roster. One of the main avenues for team-building is the NBA Draft, with the 2022 edition set to take place on June 23. Yet, the Sixers are in a strange position of not knowing whether or not they’ll even have a pick next month. As part of the trade bringing James Harden to Philadelphia, the Brooklyn Nets now own the rights to the Sixers’ 2022 first-round pick, which is set at 23rd overall. However, the trade agreement stipulates that the Nets can choose to defer the pick and instead accept the rights to the Sixers’ 2023 first-rounder. The deadline for that option is June 1.

Recent reporting holds that Brooklyn may opt to go the 2023 route.

On the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast Friday, at the 21:33 mark, guest Bobby Marks is discussing the assets the Sixers still possess and says the following, “You’re likely gonna have your first-round pick because I think Brooklyn’s going to defer that until 2023.” From Brooklyn’s perspective, there are certainly pros and cons to either path. Let’s break those down.

One downside to waiting until 2023 is that the Sixers could have a better season next year. Maybe James Harden’s hamstring heals up during the offseason and additional practice reps with Joel Embiid make that a more formidable duo. Tyrese Maxey has a full summer to put his world-class work ethic to use and returns as a true All-Star-caliber player. The Sixers wind up with something like the 28th overall pick next summer.

Now, that’s pretty much the best-case scenario for Philadelphia and dropping from 23rd to 28th isn’t that much of a loss from the Nets’ perspective. Still, the Nets would also lose out on the opportunity to draft a rookie at pick 23 who could help them in the upcoming season — with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (presumably, given Kyrie’s player option) in the fold, Brooklyn is certainly a win-now club. A potential contributor on a rookie-scale contract is potentially beneficial.

On the flip side, if Brooklyn waits until 2023, things could certainly go in the other direction for Philadelphia. Embiid might not stay nearly as healthy as he did this past season when he was the MVP runner-up. Remember how bad the Sixers looked in Games 1 and 2 of the Miami series when Joel was out? Harden could be as washed as he looked in Game 6. The Sixers don’t have a ton of avenues in which to improve the roster.

It’s not out of the question that the 2023 pick could wind up in the lottery, so deferring is certainly the higher-upside play. Plus, while Brooklyn wouldn’t have the rookie via the Sixers pick for the upcoming 2022-23 season, they might actually be able to obtain a more helpful win-now roster piece by trading away what would then be an unprotected 2023 first-round pick. Any team looking to unload a veteran at the deadline next February would certainly have eyes on that 2023 Sixers draft pick.

Breaking it down, I certainly understand why Brooklyn might choose to defer, if they do indeed opt to go in that direction. Strategically, it would make sense for the Nets to keep Philadelphia in the dark as long as possible and drag this decision out until the June 1 deadline. We’ll see what takes place in the coming weeks. But how about you, Sixers fans, would you prefer Brooklyn to accept Philadelphia’s 2022 pick or defer to 2023?

Poll

Which outcome would you prefer?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Brooklyn takes Philadelphia’s 2022 pick at 23rd overall
    (319 votes)
  • 64%
    Brooklyn defers to 2023 - Sixers pick at 23 next month
    (588 votes)
907 votes total Vote Now