The decision by the Philadelphia 76ers to scoop up the No. 1 pick in a trade with the Boston Celtics has ramped up the NBA offseason as the draft quickly approaches this Thursday.
There may not be a single man who has been more aggressive in the basketball reporting world than Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. He’s had his finger on many of the biggest rumors and news, which is why when he says the Sixers made the right move, there’s some validation to it.
“Absolutely it was wise to move up,” O’Connor told Metro. “The reason why? Fultz does everything [Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox] do, and he has a combination of the two. Lonzo Ball can’t really create off the dribble, Markelle Fultz can. De’Aaron Fultz doesn’t really have the jumpshot. Markelle Fultz does. Fultz has some weaknesses on defense but the ability is there long-term. It was very smart to move up, simply for the fact that Fultz is the best complement next to Simmons.”
The issue with Simmons and Fox, who is projected anywhere between Nos. 3-6, would have been spacing. Fox can’t really work without the ball and both players’ strengths lie in driving the lane. It would’ve been a traffic jam essentially. Ball and Simmons could’ve worked together, but not to the degree that Fultz and he can.
O’Connor gives credit to the current Sixers regime for having the guts to move up two spots and realizing just exactly what they need, but more of that credit has to go in the man who preceded them.
“Sam Hinkie is a magician,” O’Connor said. “What he did, I think will go down as probably one of the better GM tenures, short-term, ever.”
The amount of trades Hinkie won in that brief time is a major sticking point for that belief, “Go down the line, every single trade he made, he won.”
He calls the talent on the Sixers “remarkable” but still has the open mind to understand why some have doubted "The Process." Taking Jahlil Okafor, bringing on players with medical issues and waiting multiple years on Dario Saric have certainly tested the fans’ patience, but it’s those same very moves — outside Okafor — that have the Sixers in this position.
“You need to have some gambles, and this team has remarkable upside,” O’Connor said. “And so much of that is because of the moves Sam Hinkie made.”