Sixers drop the ball with 2018 draft class

Sixers NBA Draft

Zhaire Smith, Landry Shamet, and Shake Milton.

Not much to get excited about.

The Philadelphia 76ers completed their 2018 draft last Thursday by wheeling and dealing and ultimately selecting three players. But when it was over, the roster wasn’t a whole lot better.

Out of the three players, Shamet – taken at No. 26 from Wichita State – may be able to contribute immediately with his ability to score.

The Sixers could have had Villanova’s Mikal Bridges at No. 10. Actually, they did draft him and later traded him to the Phoenix Suns for the rights to Smith at No. 16 and an unprotected first-round draft pick in 2021 from the Miami Heat via the Suns.

Much of the Sixers’ fan base on social media went from euphoric to shocked once the deal was completed.

The draft was just the first step this offseason in improving this franchise. They did not get a whole lot better with these three players. Certainly not good enough to now beat the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs.

However, bigger deals could be on the horizon. They could sign LeBron James or Paul George. They could acquire Kawhi Leonard.

For now, the roster features three new players. None of them are as talented as Bridges.

“There’s a human side to this that is kind of really hard to explain,” said Sixers head coach Brett Brown, who is also serving on an interim basis as the general manager. “And we all, I’m assuming, go from this level of excitement and coincidence, you can’t make this up, to something as a group, we sit there and we feel off this and again one we knocked back, it was a great opportunity, really a great opportunity and then there it is.”

Brown fully understood the ramifications after seeing Bridges complete a series of interviews with the Philadelphia media about playing for his hometown team only to push through with the trade to the Suns.

It happened and it was a bad look. The franchise is still suffering from the dismissal of Bryan Colangelo for being linked to numerous Twitter “burner” accounts. Now comes this image of losing Bridges.

“That could be the thing that flips it with us having more assets to enhance a realistic trade for a star. We are star hunting or we are star developing that’s how you win a championship and the emotion of what we have all been through is painful,” Brown said.

“But as I said at the start, what’s best for the organization and how do you win a championship and since I’ve looked at you all I haven’t pivoted out of that once.”

This all sounds a bit silly. It has been five years since Brown arrived in Philadelphia. The team is finally trending in the right way. Waiting three or four more seasons is not necessary. The time to win is now.

Go make every inquiry possible to get Leonard, James or George. Build on the momentum of a 52-win season and a playoff series win. It also not of the realm of possibility that Joel Embiid’s body may not hold up for 10 years.

Let’s see what transpires the rest of the summer. As of now, the Sixers don’t seem to be much improved.

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