Over the next few weeks at the Philadelphia Metro, we will be taking a look back at the Philadelphia 76ers’ draft classes from the last five years. The 2018 NBA Draft is only three weeks away, so it is a good time to check out the best and worst picks from the Sixers.
To tip-off this series, we will review the draft class that produced ‘The Process’ and helped the Sixers get to where they are today.
1. Joel Embiid (Rd. 1, Pick 3) – If it wasn’t for him getting injured a few weeks before the NBA draft, Embiid would have been the first overall pick. However, that did not happen as Embiid fell to the Sixers at third overall, giving them another big man to pair with Nerlens Noel.
Through two years of trusting the process, Embiid made his debut in the 2016-17 season and did not disappoint fans once bit. Even though a knee injury cut his rookie season short (31 games), Embiid showed flashes of potential that reminded fans of NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.
The 7-foot-2 center came back with a vengeance this season and proved his doubters wrong.
2. Dario Saric (Rd. 1, Pick 12 via Orlando) – The Sixers acquired Saric in a draft night trade with the Orlando Magic. Philadelphia held the tenth pick in the draft and picked point guard Elfrid Payton. There was no need for Payton with Michael Carter-Williams still on the roster at the time, hence the trade for Saric.
It only took Saric two years to come over to the U.S., but it was worth the wait. The Croatian forward finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2016 and is only getting better.
3. K.J. McDaniels (Rd. 2, Pick 32) – McDaniels was a fan favorite due to his high-flying dunks and defensive intensity. He only played in 52 games with the Sixers, before being traded to traded to the Houston Rockets for guard Isaiah Canaan and a 2015 second-round pick. The second round pick ultimately became Richaun Holmes.
Since his rookie season with the Sixers, McDaniels has bounced around the NBA and recently the NBA G-League with the Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons’ affiliate).
4. Jerami Grant (Rd. 2, Pick 39) – Grant has had a nice NBA career to this point, despite still not having an offensive game. He only spent two seasons with the Sixers, before being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Ersan Ilyasova in the beginning of the 2016 season.
5. Russ Smith (Rd. 2, Pick 47) – Smith was traded on draft night to the New Orleans Pelicans for Pierre Jackson, who the Sixers selected in the 2013 NBA Draft.
6. Vasilije Micic (Rd. 2, Pick 52) – A draft and stash prospect out of Serbia that has never come over.
7. Jordan McRae (Rd. 2, Pick 58) – McRae was acquired in a draft night trade with the San Antonio Spurs. He never played with the Sixers, but won a championship ring with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015-16 season.