For obvious reasons, the 76ers have been rejoicing since the pingpong balls finally bounced their way at the NBA lottery.
The result landed the Sixers the coveted No. 1 overall pick in the June 23 NBA draft.
Lost in the shuffle is this: The Sixers also own the Nos. 24 and 26 selections thanks to previous trades with the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder. Former general manager Sam Hinkie was heavily criticized for tanking three seasons, but now look at some of these assets coming their way.
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These picks aren’t as sexy, yet the Sixers could come away with a couple more solid players who could contribute right away. There’s no guarantee they will keep both picks. They could package these two picks and move up in the first round. They could trade for future considerations. Options are available for the Sixers and that’s what they desperately need after compiling 47 victories over the past three seasons.
At No. 1, it seems to be LSU’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram. Looks like a lock.
At Nos. 24 and 26, it’s completely unclear.
So here are five solid options for the Sixers:
Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis
The 20-year-old Ulis is all of 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds. But he’s a terrific player and stature shouldn’t be dismissed. This kid can flat-out play and he proved it at a high level with the Wildcats. Ulis averaged 17.3 points and 7.0 assists per game while running the high-powered Kentucky offense. His basketball IQ is quite high and just watching him, you can tell he gets it all. Ulis would fit in immediately with this young Sixers team.
North Carolina forward Brice Johnson
He was a double-double machine for the Tar Heels. The whole world saw how good Johnson was through the NCAA Tournament and in the championship game loss to Villanova. With 17.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, Johnson was a major factor every night for UNC. His skills will definitely translate to the next level in the NBA. Yes, the Sixers are loaded with big men. Don’t rule out Johnson if he’s on the board. He would make an immediate impact.
Juan Hernangomez, forward from Spain
This 20-year-old forward has risen up the draft charts with an all-around game. He can shoot, can post up, runs the court well and plays strong defense. He’s still improving in all aspects. If Dario Saric comes over and plays for the Sixers, it’s possible that Hernangomez could stay overseas for a season or two. Not a bad idea.
Saint Joseph’s forward DeAndre Bembry
The nation caught glimpses of what we knew here in Philadelphia all this time: Bembry was an ultra-talented player right here at Saint Joseph’s. While not heavily recruited by the power conferences, Bembry continually improved and his play in the NCAA Tournament couldn’t be ignored. This kid is a legitimate first round pick. He can score, rebound and pass and he does it all somewhat effortlessly at times. If the Sixers grab Bembry in the first round, it will pay dividends.
Thon Maker, high school senior
Another big man? Maker must be considered because of his 7-foot-1 frame and untapped potential. Maker could turn into Hakeem Olajuwon. He could also turn into Hasheem Thabeet. No one knows. With two late first round picks, it could be worth a gamble. The Sixers are big already across the front line, but trades could take place. Maker is a wild card worth looking at seriously.