Philadelphia 76ers: Time to focus on… the 2020 NBA Draft?

NBA Draft Combine (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
NBA Draft Combine (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers have a chance to strike big in the 2020 NBA Draft.

A strange Philadelphia 76ers season has been postponed indefinitely due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. As players and fans self-isolate and try to pass the time, it’s beneficial to look ahead. It’s time to look at the 2020 NBA Draft.

How the rest of the season plays out is unknown. There’s a semi-reasonable chance it gets cancelled altogether, playoffs included. It’s a strange and unheralded time, and there’s no strong precedent for the current state of NBA basketball.

As we await more details on the 2019-20 season, the NBA Draft can (and should) hold our attention. Right now, the Sixers are projected to hold either the 21st or 22nd pick, courtesy of the overachieving Oklahoma City Thunder. The Sixers owe a big thanks to Chris Paul — maybe they should trade for him next summer.

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If the pick does convey (it’s top-20 protected), it gives Philadelphia another chance to strike gold outside the lottery. The Sixers haven’t had a flawless draft record in recent seasons, but Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, and Shake Milton are all examples of reasonably successful outcomes. Philadelphia needs cheap, team-friendly contracts, and the draft is a prime source.

Regardless of how next summer plays out, the Sixers will enter 2020-21 in a dyer cap situation. Tobias Harris and Al Horford continue to eat large portions of salary, and no trade will rid Philadelphia of those financial obligations entirely. Any deal involving Horford, essentially, will involve big money coming back.

The Sixers need to hit in the draft in order to maintain a decent bench. Milton and Thybulle are long-term contributors, and Korkmaz should stay in the rotation next season. Adding another young piece to the mix, however, could help soothe concerns over a clunky and ill-fitted core five.

As for the projected 2020 rookie class, the Sixers should have serious eyes on the perimeter. This is a guard-heavy draft up front, which could mean a high-end point guard drops further than normal. If the Sixers can get someone in the Theo Maledon or Nico Mannion vein, it’s a steal.

On a broader scale, this class does have talent on the perimeter. It’s not 2018, where big men ruled the day and too much value was placed on archaic player types. The Sixers should have no problem finding a useful fit in a class that seems to forgo top-end talent for depth.

As the hiatus continues, we here at The Sixer Sense will crack into draft content on a more regular basis. We will cover different conferences, different positions, and of course, provide the monthly mocks and big boards our followers are used to. You can expect as steady a stream of NBA Draft content as any team site on the internet.

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