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5 reasons to stay glued to NBA draft after Sixers pick at No. 1

5 reasons to stay glued to NBA draft after Sixers pick at No. 1

It’s finally here. NBA draft night.

While you may think you know what the Sixers will do now that the team has moved up to No. 1 (select Markelle Fultz), that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of intrigue throughout the evening.

Here’s an outline of five reasons to keep your eyes glued on the Sixers and the league’s 29 other teams during the event.

Deep impact
Sure, the Sixers are likely to take Fultz. But this isn’t one of those drafts in which the talent tops out at the No. 1.

This is projected to be a very deep draft class with value well into the first round and some serious finds in the second.

“While Markelle Fultz is most experts' pick as the top player, the general consensus is there's no surefire superstar — Fultz included — in this class. Realistically, there are probably a dozen guys who could end up being All-NBA players,” CBS Sports’ Brad Botkin said.

Busted!
While there will be All-Stars and maybe even some superstars to come out of this draft, there’s also a likelihood of a few busts.

Whether it’s the wrong fit, injuries or just a lack of skills to compete at the next level, several high draft picks are bound to be misses for the teams that select them.

That has particularly been the case at No. 2, as Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Abrams recently pointed out.

“(Kevin) Durant dethroned The King — LeBron James, that is — earlier this month, claiming a Finals MVP trophy to go with that elusive championship ring. But most No. 2 picks never ascend to such heights; in fact, over the past 20 years, only four have even become All-Stars,” Abrams said.

Yikes.

Movers and shakers
The draft picks are only half of the fun. Don’t forget about the trades.

The Sixers got the pre-draft moves started by pulling off their deal with the Celtics for the No. 1 overall pick. 

Things really started heating up after that. D’Angelo Russell, Brook Lopez and Dwight Howard have all been moved. And there have been 10 times as many rumored trades thrown around.

Don’t expect that to stop on draft night.

“The NBA Finals just ended, the draft hasn't started, free agency has yet to begin, and it feels as if the landscape has shifted noticeably,” ESPN’s J.A. Adande said. “Welcome to the new swap season.”

Legacies on the line
The players aren’t the only ones that can start making a name for themselves at the draft. Executives have plenty to gain and lose as well.

The right move and you’re untouchable in your city. The wrong decision, and … let’s just say you don’t want to make an incorrect choice.

With the fate of franchises in their hands, NBA execs have the power to alter the league’s landscape with a single deal.

Those transactions will stick with front-office members forever, as Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Mannix explained will be the case with Danny Ainge for sending the draft’s top pick to the Sixers instead of snagging Fultz.

“Legacies are defined by deals like this. Ainge’s will be, too,” Mannix said. “His executive career is now intertwined with Fultz’s playing one, forever linked. The gambling executive just placed his biggest bet, against a player few around the league would bet against.”

Dress for success
Of course, the draft isn’t all high drama.

There’s guaranteed to be plenty of smiles and tears of joy as young men realize their life-long dream of making it to the NBA.

There may also be a few laughs, potentially at the expense of a draft hopeful’s fashion faux pas.

“The fun part is sitting around with your friends and coworkers and playing fashion critic as a bunch of kids shake hands with the NBA commissioner in suits and shoes that are so outlandish that we occasionally ask ourselves how anyone allowed them to leave the boutique,” CBS Sports’ Kellen Becoats said.

Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as second female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

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AP Images

Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as second female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

The Sixers have made a historic hire in their scouting department.

The team has hired former WNBA star Lindsey Harding as a full-time scout starting next season. 

"I think when you have this goal in mind, your gender shouldn't even matter," Harding told ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne. "It should be about if you can do it, if you're good, you're experienced, if you know what you're doing and what you're talking about."

Harding, a Duke product and the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 WNBA draft, is just the second woman to be hired by an NBA team as a scout after a career in the WNBA. Jenny Boucek, who is now an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, was the first former WNBA player to be hired as a scout back in 2006 by the Seattle SuperSonics. Becky Hammon, one of Harding's former opponents who urged Harding to pursue this path, was hired as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Hammon has since been interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks' GM job and been promoted to Gregg Popovich's top assistant.

Harding completed the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season after retiring in 2017. The 34-year-old guard spent nine seasons in the WNBA and represented Belarus in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

"Lindsey has quickly become one of the game's bright young minds in basketball operations," Sixers head coach and interim GM Brett Brown said to Shelbourne. "Having graduated from the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season, Lindsey is applying the same grit and basketball IQ she used as a player in her move to the front office. We look forward to the work Lindsey will do to help grow our program and further solidify a culture of winning.

"It's no secret how much I value the culture we've built in Philadelphia and how much a family-like atmosphere means to our program. Lindsey is a leader, and she is a welcomed addition to the 76ers family. I look forward to working with her."

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Metta World Peace tweets that Joel Embiid will win MVP next season

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USA Today Images/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Metta World Peace tweets that Joel Embiid will win MVP next season

Joel Embiid didn’t wait long to share his expectations for next season.

“This is my first year going into a summer healthy and I’m excited about it. I feel like next year is definitely going to be a type of MVP season for me,” Embiid said during the Sixers’ exit interviews just one day after being eliminated from the playoffs.

The summer months haven’t done much to curb the All-Star center’s enthusiasm.

“I want to win the MVP because if I play better I think the stats show that my team plays better too,” Embiid said during an interview with KweséESPN prior to this month’s NBA Africa Game. “That’s the goal. I’ve got to set the bar high if you want to go somewhere.”

You can’t blame the man for being confident in himself. And now Embiid even has the support of a former colorful NBA player in his own right.

Metta World Peace (or Tru Warier or The Panda’s Friend or Ron Artest) sent out a simple tweet earlier this week.

That’s about as cut and dry as you can get. Although World Peace did have another hot take this week that might call his crystal ball skills into question.

Whoa. You lost us on that one, World Peace.

Embiid has a much better chance at earning MVP honors than those two teams (mainly the Knicks) have of reaching the Eastern Conference finals. In Bovada's MVP odds released this week, the center came in at 16/1 (seventh best) to win the award.

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