The 76ers entire organization has preached patience to its fanbase for years now, and it still appears Philadelphia has years of growth to go before constructing a championship-level roster with coach Brett Brown.
Slogans like #TrustTheProcess and #TogetherWeBuild were created to keep the Philly fans understanding of the rebuild they were about to undergo, and it finally feels like they’ve made some progress with the amount of talent they’ve accumulated (along with the hundreds of draft picks). It’s time to take a look at the moves the Sixers have made in the last five drafts to get Philly where they are today.
The 76ers 2011 draft was the only draft they haven’t had more than two picks in the last five years. Philadelphia owned picks 16 and 50, which they would use on big men Nikola Vucevic and Lavoy Allen, respectively. Well, Philadelphia gave away Vucevic in the four-team Dwight Howard trade and received Jason Richardson and Andrew Bynum(!) in August of 2012.
This is just upsetting, as Vucevic has turned into one of the most offensively skilled big men in the league today. Lavoy Allen would also be traded a couple years later to Indiana for Danny Granger who would be bought out in February 2014 – Allen remains in Indy today giving them extra bench depth. Philly drafted smart here but gave away talent for what turned out to be nothing.
Philadelphia had three picks in 2012, and in the first round they would take Maurice Harkless, who was another young asset thrown into the Howard deal to Los Angeles. Their 45th pick and a future first rounder was traded to the Heat for the 27th pick in power forward Arnett Moultrie. Moultrie was looked at as a great pick at the time but struggled at the NBA level. Moultrie would be sent up and down (and was suspended five games for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy) before being traded to the Knicks in October 2014 where he was subsequently waived. Moultrie is currently playing in China. Philly sold their 54th pick to Brooklyn, so it’s fair to say, in retrospect, this was another disappointing draft for the 76ers.
The 76ers selected the NBA’s Rookie of the Year with pick 11 in the 2013 draft, selecting Michael Carter-Williams, who, many thought would be their point guard of the future at the time. But he was traded for a future first round pick in February this past year.
However, Carter-Willaims wasn’t their biggest move on draft night in 2013. Philly sent All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans for a 2014 first round pick (which would eventually turn into Dario Saric) and, more importantly, the number six overall pick in big man Nerlens Noel.
This was the biggest move of the draft, as Noel showed the talent level at Kentucky when healthy, to warrant the number one overall pick. After a “redshirt” year in 2013-14, Noel showed the defensive dynamo he is on the frontline last year, and looks to improve upon that next season. The Sixers picked swingman Glen Rice Jr., who was traded to Washington in June of 2013, and Pierre Jackson, who was sent to New Orleans in the Holiday deal, with their second-round picks. It wasn’t a terrible draft for the 76ers, but it could have been better.
Philadelphia had seven total picks in 2014, two in the first round and five in the second. It started with center Joel Embiid at pick 3, an uber-talented center who has undergone multiple foot surgeries and has yet to set said foot on an NBA court. At pick 10, Philly traded back to 12 to take combo forward Dario Saric – another talented prospect who remains in Turkey for the 2015-16 season. At pick 32, swingman K.J. McDaniels showed promise as a 3-and-D player before a trade to Houston for Isaiah Canaan, who remains on the roster competing for the starting point guard this year. Combo forward Jerami Grant, who was chosen 39th, has shown the ability to contribute and looks to take a step forward this year.
Later in the second round, Philly traded their 47th pick to the Pelicans for Pierre Jackson (who had been traded to New Orleans the prior year in the Noel deal). Jackson should also compete for playing time at point guard this season.
Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic was taken 52nd, and he remains overseas for at least this coming season. Finally, the 76ers last pick was acquired from the Spurs where they would select Jordan McRae at 58. McRae is a lanky swingman with shooting ability, who is competing for a roster spot for this coming season.
Philadelphia’s most prominent selection of their six picks in the 2015 draft was massive center Jahlil Okafor at No. 3. Okafor looks like a solid addition alongside Noel, who most likely slides down to power forward to give the 76ers a frontcourt of the future—all while Embiid continues to recover from foot surgery.
The 76ers used their first second-round pick on Spaniard big man Guillermo Hernangomez, who they subsequently traded to the Knicks. With their 37th pick, they chose forward Richaun Holmes, a stretch four who impressed in summer league and earned a contract that’s fully guaranteed for the 2015-16 season.
The 76ers used their last three second-round picks on two internationals and an athletic swingman in Arturas Gudaitis, Luka Mitrovic and J.P. Tokoto. While Tokoto has a chance to make the roster this year, Gudaitis and Mitrovic were sent to Sacramento as part of a salary dump for the Kings, while Philly received shooting guard Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson. Stauskas and Landry have a chance to play for the 76ers this season while Thompson was traded to Golden State for Gerald Wallace, and Wallace was waived immediately.
It’s clear Sam Hinkie has done a lot of maneuvering throughout the years, and some of his moves have backfired. The wait has been a lot longer than many Philadelphia fans have imagined, but at least it’s clear that the 76ers are headed in the right direction after years of turmoil and tanking. The 76ers still have a ways to go to build a championship roster, but more positive results this year could bring promise to an eager fanbase.