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What Would Have Happened If The Sixers Drafted D’Angelo Russell

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Jul 13, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell (1) dribbles the ball during an NBA Summer League game against the Knicks at Thomas & Mack Center. The Knicks won 76-66. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

D’Angelo Russell was only a few steps away from becoming a Philadelphia 76er. With the third overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, the Sixers could get just about whoever they wanted out of the top prospects, that is, if the first two teams didn’t steal the players they had their eyes on.

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That was exactly what ended up happening to Philly. The Los Angeles Lakers had a pick right before the Sixers, and took Russell, who the Sixers really wanted to draft. While the front office would probably deny it if you asked them, it’s been reported by credible analysts that the Sixers “settled,” for Jahlil Okafor. David Aldridge had this to say:

"The Sixers were hoping to take D’Angelo Russell with the third pick, but when the Lakers scotched those plans, Philly had to “settle” for Okafor, the consenus first-team All-American as a freshman for Duke who many had pegged as the first overall pick."

Our friends over at Section 215  also brought another aspect of the situation to light — the fact that Okafor had little desire to play for Philadelphia as well. Now, it’s being reported that this was basically a mutual disagreement for Okafor to come to the Sixers. They didn’t really want him, and he didn’t really want them, but they’re together now, and have to deal with it.

To me, sounds like the Sixers got a pretty good deal there. Having to, “deal with,” a rookie who will be able to start right out of the gate that led his team to a title in his freshman year of college? Yeah, the Sixers really lost there.

We know what we’re getting with Okafor. He brings a lot to the table offensively and will likely be the focal point of most offensive plays. His ability to post up, yet be athletic and have somewhat of a mid-range jumper, will work well in the NBA. We also know the flaws we’re getting, and how incredibly lazy he was on the defensive side of the ball last year.

What hasn’t been discussed all that often is the hypothetical. What if plans went exactly according to plan? What if Russell was passed up by the Lakers, and the Sixers got him, just like they wanted?

Next: Too Good For Three