The NBA Draft is swiftly approaching and teams are scrambling to find out every bit of information they can on this year’s crop of athletes. The Boston Celtics won the NBA Draft Lottery and snagged the first overall pick, while the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers walked away with the second and third picks, respectively.
Currently, most mock drafts predict that the Celtics will select Markelle Fultz and Lakers will take Lonzo Ball, but after that, it’s anyone’s guess who the 76ers will select with the third pick. Forwards Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum were popular picks before the lottery revealed the order, but Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News suggests that a pair of guards could very well be in the mix:
The Sixers like both De'Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr. for the third pick, according to sources.
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) May 24, 2017
While Jackson and Tatum are certainly worthy of consideration, it’s not all that surprising that Philadelphia would be interested in guards. With Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, and Dario Saric already on the roster, their front court is fairly crowded, but they could really use a high-quality young guard if they want to get closer to completing the puzzle.
Of course, it’s always possible that the Lakers could pass on Ball and select someone else, but in that scenario, one would imagine that Philadelphia would happily scoop Ball up for themselves.
Fox’s defensive intensity would play well in Philadelphia, but his shooting struggles could present an issue, especially when paired with players like Simmons and Okafor, neither of which are known for their range. Smith Jr., on the other hand, is explosive getting into the paint and was respectable from deep, but his defense was questionable at best. Philadelphia has a lot to consider, and if the Celtics and Lakers are indeed sold on Fultz and Ball being the top two picks, which direction the 76ers go will create a domino effect for the rest of the draft.