With two weeks before the NBA draft, the question is not who the Sixers will take with the third overall pick but what they will do with it. Unlike last year when the Sixers were a lock to take Ben Simmons at No 1., there are other directions they could go on June 22.
Let's explore a few different scenarios.
Fultz goes 1, Ball goes No. 2, Sixers keep 3
The Sixers are confident they can land an impact player if they stay where they are. Whether it is a perimeter player like Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum, a shooter like Malik Monk, or a point guard like De'Aaron Fox, to name a few, there are plenty of projected top picks to fill a wide-range of needs.
"Sitting at three, we're in a really good position to add a very talented player that's going to help this organization both short and long-term," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Monday.
Fultz goes No. 1, Lakers pass on Ball
There have been reports the Lakers are not sold on Lonzo Ball, his father LaVar being a source of concern. If the Lakers decided to not take Ball at No. 2, would the Sixers go with the UCLA guard? At this point, they have yet to meet with him.
"It's certainly something that we would like to arrange with Lonzo," Colangelo said (see story).
Sixers trade down
The Sixers have been traveling to agent-led and private workouts around the country to watch and meet with top-10 prospects. If they feel a player still could be available a few spots later than 3, the Sixers could trade down, get the lower pick and another asset in return.
"Across the board, you have six or seven guys that we're still looking at and considering for three," Colangelo said.
Sixers trade out of the lottery
The Sixers like the young talent in this draft. There also is a lot of talent already in the league. With teams looking to move into the lottery, there is always the possibility of packaging the third pick with other pieces (let's say a current player like Jahlil Okafor or second round/future picks) to get an already-established piece in return. Moving out of the lottery isn't the most common route, but exploring every avenue to enhance a team is part of the business.
"Should we move or if there's a transaction that comes up and gives us a chance to perhaps increase what impact No. 3 can have in terms of its return, we will look at it," Colangelo said. "There are some discussions that have been fairly interesting. And it's not that we're motivated to move it, it's this is that time of year where you find out exactly what you have, and you explore options, all options as you look to improve your basketball team."
While on the topic of exploring all options … this one seems like a longshot given how interested the Celtics appear to be in Markelle Fultz at No. 1. It is easy to see how Fultz could fit into their future and it would take a lot - a lot - to pry the pick they have been anticipating for years from their hands. Even though Danny Ainge is no stranger to draft night deals, this seems unlikely for the Sixers as a trade partner.
Would the Lakers be more willing to swap the second pick? This will be their first draft with Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations and Rob Pelinka as general manager. It is hard to say what a new front office will do. If they find themselves in a situation where they are not 100 percent sold on a player at No. 2, would they make calls to move out of that spot? Their selection has the potential to shake up the draft board.