Past NBA Draft night mistakes put added pressure on Sixers’ offseason decisions


PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The NBA Draft tips off Thursday at 8 p.m. on ABC/ESPN, which brings to mind a question regarding the Sixers’ future: Just how much pressure is on the team to get tonight and the rest of the offseason right?

Of course, nobody has a crystal ball. But with the benefit of foresight, we can say that the team’s past draft decisions have definitely hampered its progress.

For example, imagine where the Sixers might be if, instead of taking Ben Simmons with the first overall pick in 2016, they took Brandon Ingram, who went second overall?

Or Jaylen Brown, who went third?

Or instead of trading up to take Markelle Fultz first overall, they took All-NBA forward Jayson Tatum?

That same draft also yielded All-Star Donovan Mitchell at 13 as further proof that something isn’t quite right with the Sixers’ track record for talent evaluation.

How about if the team didn’t trade Villanova’s Mikal Bridges for Zhaire Smith right after they drafted him?

Smith last played in the G-League for the Memphis Hustle.

Fultz started three games last year for Orlando and averaged 10 points.

Simmons? Well, he didn’t play at all last year and who knows if he ever will again.

Meanwhile, the Sixers remain stuck in a perpetual cycle of 2nd round-exits.

Will this be the year they finally break through and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals?

Or, an NBA Finals?

It will start with the Draft — whether they make a pick or trade it for a vet — and continue with free agency.

There’s no question, with Joel Embiid in his prime, this is probably the biggest offseason for the Sixers. Maybe ever!

And if it doesn’t pay off, heads will roll and jobs will be lost.

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