Philadelphia 76ers enter 2018 NBA draft with six pack of picks

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers attends the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery at the New York Hilton in New York, New York. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers attends the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery at the New York Hilton in New York, New York. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

After a surprisingly successful season, the Philadelphia 76ers enter the 2018 NBA Draft with specific needs and a six pack of draft picks. But how should the team play this draft? The answer to that could be critical to achieving an NBA Championship someday

The fans of the Philadelphia 76ers know the 2018 NBA Draft is very important to the team’s future. The rebuilding process of the Philadelphia 76ers has earned enough reason to respect the methods and skills of the architects: former team exec Sam Hinke, head coach Brett Brown, and current executive Bryan Colangelo. Each contributed to the team’s current state of NBA contender. And beyond that, each also contributed to the team’s need of more to get to the next level.

Right now, the team has a bevy of holes to fill.  Not just warm bodies, but rather distinct needs for the team to find in personnel skillsets.  To this, the team must set ambitious goals for the teams existing roster. Finally, the team must manage six draft picks to spend in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Surplus suprises

The surplus of the Philadelphia 76ers draft picks is already causing buzz in teams on the first chapters of their own rebuild, like that of the Phoenix Suns. And there are teams with holes in their draft in round two, including the Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Clippers.

So from a supply and demand perspective, the Philadelphia 76ers should have plenty of options if they believe six picks and three players stashed overseas is too much to manage in one offseason. If the team wishes to trade or sell picks, surely there are teams willing to discuss transacting.  But like it or not, the Philadelphia 76ers are now at the impasse of improving or slowly fading away.  And the fork in the road runs through the 2018 NBA Draft.

Related Story: Sixers’ 2018 offseason primer

No time like the present

The 76ers now have options. Plenty of options. Much like a new patron to Baskin Robbins multitude of flavors, the number of options can paralyze an unprepared team.  We know the historic trend for the Philadelphia 76ers has been to emphasize international players.  Some valid reasons for that is the interest to draft and stash those players for the future.

But that draft and stash perspective may no longer serve the best interests of this team.  The Philadelphia 76ers were not up to the challenge of an injury-weakened Boston Celtics team, and Boston is not going anywhere.  The Sixers must analyze what didn’t go well for the team in that series, and begin the arduous task of fitting better but compatible skillsets into the roster. Much of those needs are beyond the reach of rookies.  And there is the rub.

Development or delivery?

Should this team mortgage the future for the present? Or should the patient path of developing talent within the organization continue?  We know that the team has the resources in this 2018 NBA Draft to do both.   With six picks, plenty of cap space, and a new culture of winning and attractivemess to NBA free agents, the Sixers have access to virtually all NBA talent.

Related Story: Should the Sixers pick up Richaun Holmes’ option?

But facing facts?  The development of Furkan Korkmaz, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes, and even Markelle Fultz was stunted in 2017-2018.  And the decisions of the team on their fate sets the all-important-stage for what the team can do with the rookies from the 2018 draft.  The team must refill four expiring contracts, but elect whether to pick up the option for versatile Richaun Holmes.

Next: How the Sixers can trade for Kawhi Leonard and maintain cap space

Right now, the team must aim at delivering a better team than the 2017-2018 roster. And with the season ending on such a high note, that is a tough act to follow.  The Philadelphia 76ers cannot abandon the future for immediate gratification. Nor can the team ignore their proximity to greatness for a hope to organically improve each season. The 2018 NBA Draft is, like it or not, one of the most important drafts in the franchise’s history.