After a successful 52-win season, that saw the Philadelphia 76ers receive a top-three seed in the NBA playoffs, win a first-round series against the Miami Heat, and the exponential growth of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons - the foreseeable future is looking bright for the Sixers.
That future or ‘The Process’ which 76ers fans have grown to love got better earlier this month, when Philadelphia received the No. 10 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. At No. 10, the Sixers have a chance to select a player who can either be a contributor right away or just be another NBA player.
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The last time the Sixers held the 10th pick was in the 2014 NBA Draft, where they selected point guard Elfrid Payton, who was eventually traded to the Orlando Magic for Croatian forward Dario Saric, who was selected at No. 11.
If you take a look at the 10th pick over the last 10 years or so in the NBA draft, it is truly a game of chance on the type player you get there. If the Sixers are lucky, they could potentially end up with impact players such as Paul George or C.J. McCollum, who were drafted at No. 10 overall by the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers
in the 2010 and 2013 drafts.
George has become a star in the NBA, taking the Pacers to a couple of Eastern Conference Finals appearances in his time there and had his moments this season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. McCollum, just like George, is developing into a fantastic guard, complimenting Damian Lillard, and giving Portland a dynamic 1-2 punch.
However, for every George and McCollum, there is a Brook Lopez (2008), Brandon Jennings (2009), Jimmer Fredette (2011), and Austin Rivers (2012). The names listed are just serviceable NBA players or barely hanging onto an NBA career. Both Fredette and Jennings have traveled overseas to continue their professional careers.
If you are Sixers head coach Brett Brown and general manager Bryan Colangelo, you do not want to end up with a player like Fredette, who was an outstanding college player but struggled in the NBA.
Luckily, with the talent that the Sixers have acquired over the years, whomever they draft at No. 10 does not have to be the savior of the franchise.
This is what happened to Andrew Bynum, who was drafted straight out of high school with the 10th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Even though Kobe Bryant was still in his prime and dominating, Bynum had to live in the shadow of Laker great big men like Shaquille O’ Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Bynum, however, could not live up to those expectations. He was traded in a blockbuster deal that sent to him the Sixers, where his career ended.
The Sixers are hoping they do not end up with the next Bynum, but rather the next Paul Pierce or Eddie Jones. Both players had good to great NBA careers.
Speaking of Pierce, the Sixers made a mistake in the 1998 draft passing on him and Dirk Nowitzki, opting for Larry Hughes with No. 8 overall pick.
This mistake must not happen again in next month’s draft.