I had a feeling this would happen. Joel Embiid at 3 followed by Dario Saric at 10 (well, I guess technically 12). I’m not upset. I’m actually quite happy with Philly’s draft. Sam Hinkie will preach patience, and it’s true. Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Saric are each 20. MCW is 22. I get that Saric won’t play this year, and maybe the year after, and that Embiid could be shelved for the season. But, Nerlens Noel will play this season, and, along with K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant, should immediately boost their defense. You’ll see a different, more competitive team this season. Philly’s drafting multi-skilled players who have legit size and elite athleticism. There’s still plenty of time to make additions for the 2013-2014 roster, including trading Thaddeus Young. Young could be dealt after all the big name free agents decide where they will play, and if a team, let’s say Houston, whiffs on Carmelo Anthony could want Young in a trade. Don’t discredit Brett Brown and his staff. Brown has a tremendous track record in developing talent (see: the San Antonio Spurs). This season will be immensely important for Noel, and his newly developed jumper. Noel alone is a reason to be excited for the 2014-2015 season. Philly will have capable wings, which was one of their many issues last season. Hollis Thompson, Tony Wroten and James Anderson played shooting guard and small forward Philadelphia last season. McDaniels is an immediate upgrade at small forward, and I’d imagine he’ll be a starter for much of this season. Pierre Jackson is another player who will immediately help Philly, but unlike McDaniels, who will help mainly on defense, Jackson is instant offense. It’s likely Philly will find itself in the lottery once again, and although next year’s draft isn’t as promising as this years, there’s one player who I desperately want Philadelphia to draft–Mario Hezonja. Hezonja is a six-foot-six shooting guard with incredible scoring and shooting ability. I won’t get ahead of myself, though. Philly still has free agency, Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues, trades, training camp, preseason and then 82 games before the next lottery and draft. Hinkie wants to build a team of not just one or two really good players. Hinkie wants a deep roster with tall, athletic and multi-facet basketball players. It’s going to take time because Hinkie wants to pick the right guys, and Brown needs time to develop those right guys. And as Embiid recovers from his injury, and Saric tears it up in Turkey, Philadelphia has to field a team to compete in actual basketball games, which means us fans will see plenty of different players this season, but it’ll be less confusing than last year for sure. Last year they blew it up on draft night once Jrue Holiday was sent to New Orleans, and then Philly decided to get worse in February when they traded Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner, and decided it would be fun to trade FOR Bryon Mullens, and then they added enough random players throughout the year that the 2013-2014 76ers are considered a joke. It won’t be like that this year. It’s unfortunate that Embiid was hurt one week before the draft because Cleveland would have certainly chose the Kansas center with the top pick, leaving Philadelphia with Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins. But the reality is that Embiid was available at three, and there was not a player selected after him that is better. A future front line of Saric, Noel and Embiid is downright terrifying. It has an ungodly amount of potential. I know there’s no such thing as a sure thing, but I’ll remain optimistic about Sam Hinkie, Brett Brown and the Philadelphia 76ers.
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