For the Sixers, they don’t need to overthink their No. 3 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The only pick for the team to make is Kansas Jayhawks freshman phenom Josh Jackson.
Jackson is the athletic swingman the Sixers have been without since the departure of Andre Iguodala in the Andrew Bynum trade back in 2012. But unlike Iguodala, Jackson will serve as one of the final pieces to the Sixers’ roster puzzle, and not relied upon as the featured star.
Washinton’s Markelle Fultz should go to Boston at No. 1 and all signs point to the Lakers picking controversial talent Lonzo Ball (along with the vocal baggage of his dad, LaVar) at No. 2. This leaves the 6-foot-8 Jackson on the board at No. 3 for Philadelphia and a can’t-miss pick for general manager Bryan Colangelo.
Will the Sixers still need a starting point guard of the future? Absolutely. But reaching for point guards such as De’Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr. in the upcoming draft is not the answer. A year of Ben Simmons and Jerryd Bayless splitting time at the position on a team with low expectations is perfectly fine.
After all, the Sixers will finally receive the Lakers’ first round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, as well as their own pick, due to former general manager Sam Hinkie’s foresight. There will be more point guard options in next year’s draft and signing All-Star point guard and local product Kyle Lowry to a max contract this summer is still not out of the question.
Jackson is seen as the best wing defender in the draft, averaging 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game on the defensive side of the ball last season. His offensive game needs polishing, but he still averaged 16.3 points, and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 38 percent from the outside. He’s drawn comparisons to both Iguodala and MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard due to his two-way ability on the wing.
The defensive potential for the Sixers with Jackson and a healthy Simmons added to the Sixers’ starting lineup could make the Sixers among the best in the league in that department. Like drafting Simmons last year, the pick should be a no-brainer for Colangelo.
Drafting Jackson will bring the Sixers that much closer to contending for a championship down the road. Barring a shake-up with the first two picks of the draft (or with the Sixers own pick for that matter), look for Jackson to take the stage for the red, white and blue on draft night.