Ever since the Philadelphia 76ers finished their rebuild, also known as “The Process”, the franchise has hit on their first round picks for the most part. However, there is one exception to this trend of good first round draft selections.
For sake of argument let’s establish that the Sixers rebuild ended in the offseason of 2017 as that was when the 76ers former president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo was firmly in charge of the team. From that point, Philly has made five first round picks in four drafts.
Four of the picks are becoming or are already solid NBA players. Despite being considered a bust as a number overall pick, Markelle Fultz is the starting point guard of the Orlando Magic when healthy. Landry Shamet is a solid sharp-shooting role player on the title favorite in the Brooklyn Nets. Wind defender Matisse Thybulle and point guard Tyrese Maxey are young promising players in the Sixers rotation.
However, the one player who’s not even in the NBA right now that the 76ers used a first round pick on is Zhaire Smith. The story surrounding Smith is traumatic, but the reason why he didn’t work out isn’t because of poor luck as it appears at first sight, but the front office in charge chose to go with the wrong player.
The front office at the time was thinking of the team as rebuilding, whereas they were already shifting to a contender status at the time of the selection. That paired with poor health, fit, and Smith’s inability to develop at a significant rate made this the choice to draft him a terrible one.