Going into tonight's NBA Draft Lottery many people in and around the league thought that it was only a matter of destiny that the hapless N.J Nets would receive the top pick, and doing so take Kentucky PG John Wall. Those dreams and futures were set aside as the Washington Wizards grabbed the top spot in the upcoming NBA Draft (6/24 7 p.m. ESPN) giving them the rights to take the consensus number 1 pick.
With the Wizards making the top pick shock and the Nets slipping down to 3 the story of the Sixers draft was quickly pushed under the rug. Philadelphia had a 5.3% chance of receiving the top pick but lucked out in having their card pulled second giving the team the chance to select what many feel may actually be the best player in this years draft, Ohio State SG Evan Turner.
Like most I sat in my home waiting to see where my team fell. The first few picks went as expected and I was content with the fact that the Sixers would fall somewhere between 5-7 giving them a chance to take a developmental player like Cole Aldrich or Al-Farouq Aminu, a PF of the future to take over when the Elton Brand saga finally ends. The seventh pick came and went as I was sure that the Sixers would be next, yet as the names kept coming (Detroit, Golden State, Sacramento) I began to think in my head... wow maybe we can get a top 3. I frantically started thinking over the prospects and imagining what players like DeMarcus Cousins could do for this team and then the commercial break came and I looked at my t.v. ...
Like the scene out of rocky IV when Drago says to Stallone "I must break you" I gazed into the eyes of the Nets Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov and saw how nervous he was. Then I looked into the face of Abe Pollin's widow Irene and thought about what a top pick would mean for not only her but the Wizards franchise. And finally I looked at the face of Sixers rookie Jrue Holiday and above them all he seemed the most nervous and scared. Holiday, last years 17th pick, is one of the only glimmers of hope for the Sixers and at the point the team was sitting with a 1/3 chance of HAVING to pick another PG.
After the break I was glued... Pick 3 - N.J. Nets... THIS GUY IS PISSED... the dreams of John Wall, Jay-Z and LeBron in Brooklyn are now gone and good for us, LeBron doesn't deserve a fairy tale. Also I thought about how they might be screwed because picks 3-5 are mostly big men and centers and that is one of the only things that is going right for the Nets right now.
I veered over at Jrue Holiday... he's sweating... He sees his job and future flash before his eyes and then it was time for the second pick. It's like it all went in slow-mo, Adam Silver, like a bald Moby designed god announces... The Second Pick Will Be Made By The Philadelphia 76ers. WOOOOO.
This was a huge moment for not only fans of the Sixers but more importantly Jrue Holiday, you saw a wave of calm wash over his face as he realized that his job is pretty much the only safe one on this team. I mean I am very happy for Washington and I think that Wall will be a quality player for their team and with Arenas back next season it will work out amazingly well for them but the first pick was not something the Sixers needed or truthfully wanted.
There are good and bad things coming out of the Sixers number 2 pick that I feel may still hold them back from righting this ship.
1. This is a great chance for the Sixers to set up a back court of the future with Holiday at the PG and Turner at the SG. I feel that both of them are young and coach-able talents that could work well depending on the new coach.
2. Having the second pick makes the coaching position seem more intriguing for potential suitors. You give yourself a young nucleus and the feeling that there is no pressure to win right away. The Sixers could potentially have a strong lineup next season and with the contracts that will come off the books after next season it could be a great chance for a young coach to build a team from the ground up.
3. The second pick does give Ed Stefanski some job security, this is a no brainier pick and this is a decision he cant possibly mess up. If this turns out well and the team improves he will skate by and run this team for as long as Ed Synder's NHL playoff boner lasts. Hell if the Flyers win the Cup Snyder might just give the team away cause god knows the Flyers are like two wins away from giving the Sixers the Clippers syndrome (... for those of you that don't know this philosophy, The Clippers share the Staples Center with the Lakers and the building has purple seats and a locker room that doubles the Clippers) basically they will become the permanent CSN bastard child, but that's all for another day.
4. Drafting Turner will finally give the Sixers the leverage to part ways with Iggy. With a young back court of Turner and Holiday it would move Andre to the 3 spot, a position they drafted Thad Young for, who frankly fits better. If this team is going to ever rebuild, which this would allow them to do, parting ways with Iguodala (or at least not resigning him) is the smart thing to do. I think about drafting Tuner and I think that for once Iggy is not needed and as a fan that is a HUGE sign of relief.
By the Way: Just as a side note, after the lottery I spent 45 minutes on Chad Fords NBA Draft Lottery Machine (not once did the Sixers move out of either the 6th or 7th pick). And every time I tried again they seemed to always select Cole Aldrich.
Sixers Fans... Just a taste of what we have to look forward to. Youtube Courtesy of EHK246