76ers

5 questions facing Sixers as NBA draft approaches

5 questions facing Sixers as NBA draft approaches

The 2018 NBA draft takes place exactly four weeks from tonight — Thursday, June 21, in Brooklyn. For the first time since 2013, the 76ers do not have a top-three pick. 

But thanks to Sam Hinkie's masterful Michael Carter-Williams trade three years ago, they do have the 10th overall selection that originally belonged to the Lakers. It's a pick that carries all sorts of intrigue as draft night approaches. 

Here are five key questions surrounding the Sixers’ draft plans.

1. Will they keep the 10th pick?
I believe they will. There's been plenty of speculation that the 76ers could include the pick in a trade package to acquire a star player this offseason. Kawhi Leonard has been the most popular name. But all indications are that the Spurs will try to do everything they can to sign Leonard to a long-term max contract this summer despite the hard feelings stemming from Leonard's season-ending quad injury. 

I don't envision the Spurs changing their stance on this situation in the next four weeks. The 76ers could turn their attention elsewhere (Portland's C.J. McCollum comes to mind), but in the end, I think they hold onto the 10th pick and use it on a player they think would be a good complement to young stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. 

2. Which players are the most likely options at 10?
If Villanova's Mikal Bridges is still on the board, I'd take him in a heartbeat. He's a perfect fit for how the 76ers like to play. Bridges is a consistent threat from three-point range and would stretch the floor and create space for Simmons and Embiid to operate. Bridges is also extremely versatile defensively — able to guard point guards, shooting guards and small forwards. He'd also bring a winning mentality to the organization from his time at Villanova. 

The Sixers are plenty familiar with Bridges. He played 12 games in their home arena last season and president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo personally made the trip to Madison Square Garden to watch Bridges in the Big East Tournament in March.

If Bridges isn't available (he's been linked to the Cavaliers at No. 8 and the Knicks at 9), expect the 76ers to take a long look at Michigan State's Miles Bridges. Kentucky's Kevin Knox is another potential option. 

3. Could Trae Young fall?
The chances are better than most people think. Young was the talk of college basketball for much of last season thanks to his elite shooting and playmaking abilities at Oklahoma. The Steph Curry comparisons have been flying around for a while now. Young isn't Curry but he is a dynamic offensive player who would provide instant energy on the offensive end.

Young's small frame and defensive shortcomings have caused his stock to drop over the last few weeks. There is a real possibility that he is still on the board when the 76ers are making the 10th pick. The question then becomes — would the Sixers take him? 

Assuming Markelle Fultz eventually becomes the player the 76ers hoped he would be, there wouldn't be much of a need for Young. But that Fultz assumption is a significant one at this point. Could the Sixers draft Young and hedge their bet that either he or Fultz develops into the dynamic backcourt piece that complements Simmons for the next decade?

Young's lack of size and defensive prowess would be minimized playing with Embiid and Simmons.

4. What are the 76ers’ options at 26?
A week ago, I would have suggested Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo. But the way his stock has been sky-rocketing following the combine, chances are he'll be off the board by the time the 26th pick is made. Depending on what the 76ers do with the 10th pick, more realistic options include Duke's Grayson Allen, Oregon's Troy Brown and Creighton's Khyri Thomas.

Allen is one of the most polarizing prospects in the draft, but he's worth serious consideration. He is an elite shooter and tested very well athletically at the combine.

5. What will they do with their four second-rounders?
They'll likely trade a few of them and/or use them to select players they plan on stashing overseas for a year or two. But there's always a handful of sleepers in the second round who develop into contributors at the NBA level. 

A few names to keep an eye on this year — West Virginia's Jevon Carter, Villanova's Omari Spellman, Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo and Kansas' Malik Newman.           

Uh Oh: Stephen A. Smith is predicting HUGE things for Sixers this season

Uh Oh: Stephen A. Smith is predicting HUGE things for Sixers this season

Stephen A. Smith's track record of predicting things is suspect to say the least.

So it's with great trepidation that Philadelphia 76ers fans should watch the below clip in which he predicts an NBA Finals appearance for Brett Brown's club this coming season.

Smith made the prediction on ESPN's First Take on Friday morning while sitting alongside NBA legend Magic Johnson (the joke about tampering with Giannis may have been the highlight of the segment).

"The Philadelphia 76ers are going to the NBA Finals," Smith declares. "I'm going to defer to my man Jalen Rose when he points out that Boston arguably has the best perimeter shooting team. We can't ignore that. Toronto lost Kawhi, ain't nothing to discuss. The Greek Freak, as phenomenal as he is, the combo of not having a reliable perimeter shot combined with Malcolm Brogdon being in Indiana..."

"My attitude is, I don't like the fact that Philly lost JJ Redick, that's a big loss to me," Smith continues. "The fact that Boston no longer has Al Horford and the Sixers do, not only somebody to pair with Embiid but to spell him whenever he's out. I'm going to believe Ben Simmons has been working on his shot. I'm going to believe Tobias Harris doesn't have to worry about co-existing with Jimmy Butler and that's a plus. I'm going to believe Josh Richardson can play at both ends of the floor..."

"I'm a little suspect on their bench, but I think the Sixers are going to be playing in June."

On the bright side for Philly fans, it's not like Smith is making some bold proclamation here. FiveThirtyEight's prediction model actually gives the Sixers the best chances of making the Finals of any team in the NBA given the East's weaker make up than the West. In fact, they give the Sixers almost twice as good a chance of doing so than the next closest Eastern contender the Bucks (54% vs. 27%).

So Stephen A. isn't going out on a limb, but it never feels great when he picks your squad in anything.

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Sixers tease new red Statement jerseys that differ from last season's

76ers_red_statement_jersey.jpg
@ChrisHeck76

Sixers tease new red Statement jerseys that differ from last season's

The Sixers' Statement Edition jerseys last year were the red uniforms that said "Sixers" across the front in an interesting script. It appears those jerseys will be different for the 2019-2020 season.

Chris Heck, President of the Sixers and Mr. #OnBrand, tweeted out an image of the new jerseys that look quite similar to last season's but instead of "Sixers" across the front they have the familiar "Phila" in script.

Give it a look below:

The jerseys also have the familiar stars down the side of the jersey. The team hasn't made an official announcement just yet so it's unclear what other details may have changed from season to season.

This Statement Edition will join the two regular jerseys, Icon Edition (standard blue) and Association Edition (standard white), alongside the recently unveiled Classic Edition jerseys that feature a throwback to the 70s look with that very interesting "Seventy Sixers" across the front and Ben Simmons sitting in a dope old-school car.

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