The NBA Draft has become an event, and many people have always enjoyed the draft. The stories of the players, the mystery of the international prospects, the hope that it can bring when your team has a lottery pick or gets a steal late in the draft. All these things come together to create a lot of excitement around the NBA Draft for fans of all 30 NBA teams.
In recent years the draft has become an even more valuable tool for front offices looking to build a team and has gained interest and intrigue from casual fans. Two-time MVP and one of the most unique players ever, Nikola Jokic, was the 41st pick; Pascal Siakam, who played a big role in Toronto’s championship run was picked 27th; and Fred Van Vleet another key piece on that same team was not even drafted. For Sixers fans, Tyrese Maxey was a steal at pick number 21. I could keep going but the point is obvious, it’s no longer only lottery picks that can make an impact right away. By the same token, it could easily be pointed out that teams still miss on lottery picks fairly often.
So why should Sixers fans care about the draft this year with no picks?
For some fans the answer is simple, the draft is still exciting and can’t miss entertainment as the first major event of the NBA off-season. Let me make a case though for why all Sixers fans should still be tuned into the draft.
Even though it is a very light year pick-wise for the entire Atlantic Division, the Toronto Raptors do have the 13th overall pick. Hit on this pick and the Raptors can put their mini rebuild on the fast track. The Brooklyn Nets have the 21st and 22nd picks this year. Those picks have not often yielded big-impact players, but as previously mentioned Maxey was pick 21 for the Sixers a few years ago. It’s also noteworthy that the NBA Draft is when off-season trades start to take place. The Nets are a team to watch and even though the Sixers did not have draft capital, they are no stranger to draft night trades.
Finally, at the top of the draft are some teams that in recent years have continued to pick high, but if they get it right, they could find themselves in the playoffs as soon as next season. I could go on and on about what a perfect fit Victor Wembanyama is for the San Antonio Spurs and the Spurs are for Wembanyama but you can hear that in a million other places right now too.
The Charlotte Hornets had a very disappointing season but do have some young talent and if they find someone to pair with LaMelo could be a year or two away from being a problem. The Detroit Pistons with pick 5 and the Orlando Magic with picks 6 and 11 could be playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference next year too. If they get it right in the draft they could both be much closer to a Kings-like ascent than most people realize.
Hopefully, this gives you some reasons to still be interested in what happens in this year’s draft even though the 76ers have no picks.