Last week, the Philadelphia 76ers took a major step towards the rebuilding of the franchise in the NBA’s annual player draft. The Sixers had two of the top ten picks, as well as five additional second round selections. The team made major selections, as well as a few major draft day trades.
The Sixers started the night by being the team that took a chance that nobody expected them to. With Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker being selected first and second respectively, the Sixers were on the clock and had a decision to make: who was the team going to select with the third pick to help with the rebuilding of the franchise? The draft was filled with many great talents, but who would be the one who would fit perfectly in Philadelphia? The team took a chance, and despite his injury, selected Joel Embiid with the third pick. Many expected Embiid to drop below the top three, due to having off-season foot surgery which will have him sidelined during the rest of the off season, as well as the early part of the season (recovery is expected to take five-to-eight months). In his one year at Kansas University, Embiid averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.6 blocks in 23.1 minutes per game.
The selection of Embiid, however, was the not the Sixers’ only big move on the night. With their third selection in the second round, the Sixers had selected Russ Smith out of Louisville, but immediately traded him to the New Orleans Pelicans to re-acquire Pierre Jackson. The Sixers had originally traded Jackson as part of the Nerlens Noel trade at last year’s draft, but the Pelicans chose not to sign Jackson. Jackson was then delegated to the D-League, where he made his name and talents known. He played in 41 games for the Idaho Stampede, and averaged over 29 points and 6 assists per game en route to the league’s MVP award. The team also acquired forward Jerami Grant from Syracuse, as well as K.J. McDaniels, Jordan McRae and Vasilije Mici?. The Sixers also traded for Croatian prospect Dario Šari?, but he may choose to stay overseas and continue playing in the Turkish League.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a bright future ahead. With talent such as the 2013-14 NBA Rookie of the Year in Michael Carter-Williams, the 2013-14 NBDL MVP in Pierre Jackson, and the return of Nerlens Noel, the team has much to build on and build around. Hopefully, Joel Embiid can return to the team sooner than later, and the Sixers can begin to make their rise in the Eastern conference rankings.
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