Saturday was a monumental day for Sixers fans in Philadelphia.
Hell, it was a monumental day for basketball fans in general.
We woke up wondering what to expect, and went to bed knowing that the Sixers would be drafting Markelle Fultz first overall in Thursday’s NBA Draft after completing a deal with the Boston Celtics to move up to that draft spot, which will be made official on Monday.
After we were sold on Bryan Colangelo being the next step of “The Process” in that he would lead the Sixers to where they want to be, he underwhelmed us in his first full season as Sixers’ president of basketball operations and de facto general manager. The way he handled the Jahlil Okafor-Nerlens Noel-Joel Embiid situation was pretty damn bad, and instead of trading the odd man out in Okafor, traded a fan favorite in Noel, who seemed to gel better on the court with Embiid. At that point, I was pretty sure he wasn’t the guy that was ready to built a contending program here.
But the hell if I didn’t just pull an entire 180-degree turn in the last 24 hours.
Colangelo did the damn near impossible, and will draft Markelle Fultz – a point guard that will fit perfectly with Ben Simmons and Embiid in the court, for all intents and purposes – after agreeing to a trade with the Celtics. Now, the original report was that Colangelo would be sending the third overall pick in this draft, next year’s Lakers’ first-rounder that was unprotected, and the Kings’ 2019 first-rounder that was protected.
Some thought that was too much. They’d be wrong. However, it actually was less than that, because the actual return for the Celtics is a protected 2018 LA first-rounder (if the pick is between 2 and 5, the Celtics will get it), and if they don’t, they’ll get the Kings’ first-rounder in 2019 that would be unprotected, per Derek Bodner.
So if the Celtics get that Lakers’ 2018 pick, the Sixers will keep the 2019 Kings’ pick.
That means Boston’s only getting one of those first-rounders, while the Sixers will keep one and still have their own first-rounders. Of course, unless they decide to deal those in the future.
This is the type of deal that could rewrite Colangelo’s legacy in Philadelphia. There is no “too much” when it comes to this deal. This is what “The Process” was about all along. Fultz is the guy they want and need, and they’re not pulling any punches in going after him. Because they can. Because Sam Hinkie made it possible for them to do so.
And kudos to Colangelo for pulling the trigger. And there’s always free agency to explore with that cap space.
Let’s just hope this group can stay healthy, amirite?
You can follow Nick Piccone on Twitter (@nickpiccone) and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to his podcast on iTunes here and listen live on WildfireRadio.com every Friday at 6pm. Click here to read his pro wrestling articles on PhillyVoice. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.