76ers

Don't give Lonzo Ball to Lakers just yet; he's perfect fit for Sixers

Don't give Lonzo Ball to Lakers just yet; he's perfect fit for Sixers

So you think Lonzo Ball is going to the Lakers, right?

Search for a mock draft, and chances are Ball is going second.

You're not even picturing Ball in a Sixers uniform. You're thinking about De'Aaron Fox and Josh Jackson and Malik Monk. Maybe Jayson Tatum or Jonathan Isaac.

You've been dreaming about getting Markelle Fultz in a stunning trade with the Celtics that somehow involves Jahlil Okafor. 

Anybody but Ball. That's certainly what Ben Simmons' sister is thinking.

But it's not even June yet.

So for a minute, consider that maybe Ball won't remain in L.A. 

Per The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, who has talked to a bunch of basketball people (i.e. executives, scouts and video coordinators), "not everyone is on the same page" and now "the Lakers have wandering eyes."

They should have wondering eyes. Especially with the No. 2 pick. There's no LeBron in this draft, so nothing is certain. Magic Johnson said he won't commit to Ball.

Per Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, the Lakers also will take "a long hard look at De'Aaron Fox too."

Why?

Because, as The Ringer's Jonathan Tjarks asserts, Ball's fit with D'Angelo Russell is questionable. The Lakers' backcourt would "get killed" on D, and Russell might have to go.

Which brings us to the 76ers.

Ball's fit on the Sixers is "perfect," says Tjarks. 

The combination of Ball, Simmons and Joel Embiid?

"That team would be amazing," Tjarks writes.

"If I was Philly, I'd be moving heaven and earth to acquire Lonzo because he's a much better fit with the team's core than anyone it could get at No. 3."

Simmons is slated to play the point, but with Ball, would he have to? Either one of them seemingly could run the offense. Then again, maybe Ball can fill the Sixers' need for a shooting guard. Tjarks also asserts Ball "is more of a shooting guard who can stretch a defense out to 28-plus feet, grab boards, push the pace himself, and then take advantage of ball movement created by another point guard."

Or point forward.

Regardless, Sixers at times moved the ball extremely well last season, and imagine how entertaining their offense would be with Ball and Simmons on the court. 

And maybe even J.J. Redick.

Drafting Ball would give Brett Brown tremendous flexibility. Of course, LaVar could give Brown tremendous headaches.  

Ball to the Sixers? Eh, probably not.

Remember, Magic isn't worried about those headaches.

Report: Sixers thought about packaging Markelle Fultz and picks to go top 5

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USA Today Images

Report: Sixers thought about packaging Markelle Fultz and picks to go top 5

As you buckle in for what might end up being a pretty wild NBA draft night, there’s already a bit of news that’s bubbled to the surface. 

This possible trade might be dead, but according to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto, the Sixers internally batted around the idea of packing last year’s No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz, along with No. 10 and 26 to move up into the top five.

That would qualify as a pretty huge move. And it’s interesting, considering the Sixers are reportedly reluctant to include Robert Covington or Dario Saric in a deal.

The target of this possible move to the top five? 

“The target was (Michael) Porter during these discussions,” Scotto writes.” However, that thinking dampened with Porter’s back remaining a major question mark. If JJ Redick leaves in free agency, Fultz is the favorite to start at shooting guard.”

That’s certainly interesting. 

Porter is a pretty big question mark heading into draft night. He’s talented and the Sixers’ obviously really like him as a player, but it seems like no one is sure what to make of his back, which needed surgery in November. 

The top of Scotto’s mock draft is full of juicy nuggets like that involving possible trades. 

Eventually, Scotto has the Sixers taking Villanova’s Mikal Bridges at No. 10, a move that would make plenty people very happy. He then has them taking Grayson Allen at 26 before going back to Nova to draft Jalen Brunson at 38. 

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Haughton's 2018 Sixers mock draft 2.0: Kevin Knox now at No. 10

Haughton's 2018 Sixers mock draft 2.0: Kevin Knox now at No. 10

Now that NBA draft night is officially upon us, we take one final crack at what the Sixers might do with their selections. Here is Matt Haughton’s final Sixers mock draft.

First round (10th overall): Kevin Knox, SF/PF, 6-9/215, Kentucky
Brett Brown is new to this whole front office thing, so forgive him if the typical draft smoke screen scenario isn’t yet his forte. 

That means while reports keep circulating about the Sixers looking to move up for a top-five prospect, their actions have shown they’ve zeroed in on Knox. After all, Knox worked out in a group setting for the Sixers last Friday and was already back at their training facility for an individual session on Tuesday.

Knox made his mark during his lone season at Kentucky by averaging 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 32.4 minutes per game. The versatile forward proved he could contribute while at the same time just scratching the surface of his ability.

It’s that potential that I believe will make the Sixers pull the trigger on Knox. While there could certainly be more established commodities on the board at No. 10 such as Mikal Bridges or Miles Bridges, the fact that Knox is still just 18 years old and possesses a sky-high upside will be too much for the development-minded Brown to pass up.

First round (26th overall): Gary Trent Jr., SG, 6-6/209, Duke
With 11 players currently under contract and plans to chase big-name players in free agency, this pick could certainly be on its way out of town or devoted to a draft-and-stash prospect. 

If they do hang onto it, the Sixers obviously have eyes for Texas Tech high-flyer Zhaire Smith, who also worked out twice for the team. But he’s unlikely to make it to No. 26.

Instead, the Sixers opt for a Duke guard here, but perhaps not the one you were thinking (Grayson Allen). Trent has arguably the best shooting stroke in the entire 2018 class and has been trending up draft boards.

Trent, who averaged 14.5 points per game for the Blue Devils as a freshman, hit 40.2 percent of his shots from long range on a healthy 6.5 attempts per game.

With another former Duke guard potentially walking in free agency in JJ Redick, the Sixers could slip Trent in to help take on some of those dead-eye shooting duties.

Second round (38th overall): Elie Okobo, PG/SG, 6-2/180, France
The Sixers already started dealing off their stockpile of second-round picks on Wednesday when they reportedly shipped No. 39 to the Los Angeles Lakers for a 2019 second-rounder and cash.

Look for them to find a way to keep their final roster options open by selecting Okobo, who has even been getting some first-round consideration as of late. The Sixers hosted him for a workout a season ago before he removed his name from draft consideration and again during this pre-draft process.

The French combo guard increased his production virtually across for France Pro A squad Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez this past season as he recorded 12.9 points on 47.6 percent field goal shooting and 39.4 three-point shooting to go along with 4.7 assists and 2.7 boards a game.

Second round (56th overall): Arnoldas Kulboka, SF, 6-10/220, Lithuania​
In another decision to keep roster slots fluid, the Sixers go the international route again with Kulboka.

The wing has tremendous size for the position and is just beginning to see his potential. Kulboka made his first foray into Italy’s second division league, Serie A2 Basket, this past season. He played for Orlandina Basket and posted 9.0 points on 39.0 percent field goal shooting and 37.4 percent from distance. He added 4.0 rebounds in 26.7 minutes a contest.

Kulboka definitely needs to bulk up and add some more seasoning against a higher level of competition, but if he develops, he could be a steal at this point in the draft.

Second round (60th overall): Trade
There are always teams that jump up with a trade offer at the last minute in an attempt to get a coveted player in those final few slots. Expect that to happen here and the Sixers to oblige.

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