The Sixers concluded their pre-draft workouts on Wednesday as they prepare for the draft Thursday evening in Brooklyn. They hold the first, 24th and 26th picks, and are ready to make their decisions.
"I think we're right there," vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley said following the final workout. "We have another day or so to gather as much intel as possible and do as much research as possible, but I think we're in great shape."
As the Sixers head into draft night, here are six things to know about the team from the pre-draft process leading up to making their selections.
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers and their rivals in the NBA from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
1. They have found their man: The Sixers worked out Ben Simmons on Tuesday, two days before the draft, and reportedly informed him they will be selecting him with the first overall pick. Later on Tuesday, Simmons posted an Instagram photo with the caption “Trust the process.” At the start of the draft process, it had been considered a two-player race between Simmons and Brandon Ingram, with Simmons separating himself in the end. “He’s got an NBA body and he’s got some skills that are NBA skills, definable NBA skills,” president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said. “When you put that size and skill together, it’s generally a pretty good package.”
2. Fifty-seven players have participated in pre-draft workouts: They began May 16, three days after the combine, and concluded Wednesday, the day before the draft. The Sixers held individual workouts with Simmons, Ingram and Cal's Jaylen Brown. The team also hosted nine group workouts with six players in each. The Sixers also have traveled to pro days and agency-led workouts.
3. There could be a “big” trade on the horizon: The Sixers could be drafting again shortly after the first pick. They have had talks with other teams about moving higher into the first round, having targeted six to seven players. “We’re not going to make a bad deal in terms of overpaying for something in that range,” Colangelo said. “I believe something in the top eight or so would be something that would work for us as an organization.” This would involve moving a current roster player, and bigs Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor have the most value. The Sixers also have a logjam in their frontcourt. At some point once Joel Embiid plays and if Dario Saric joins the team, there won’t be enough room for all. The Sixers have been linked to the Celtics, who hold the third pick and are in need of scoring bigs, as a potential trade partner. The Sixers could land a point guard at that spot.
4. The Sixers may not use their late first round picks: The Sixers have been considering packaging their 24th and 26th picks to move up into the mid-teens. The team is already stacked with young players and it doesn’t benefit them to bring another two rookies into training camp. If the Sixers feel they could find a sleeper at either of those positions, that’s a different scenario. In the meantime, they are evaluating who they project they could land earlier in comparison to in the 20s and weigh the potential of each player. “Is there someone there that is going to make a big enough difference that it’s worth giving up two assets for one?” Colangelo said.
5. A former draft pick could be on the way: This month Colangelo and Brett Brown visited with Saric in Istanbul. After two years of playing overseas, the Sixers will find out by next month if he is joining them for the upcoming season. Saric has to notify his current team, Anadolu Efes, of his choice by July 17. “I wasn’t pessimistic, I wasn’t optimistic. I was somewhat neutral as to whether or not I felt he would be coming over and I still feel that way,” Colangelo said. “I’d like to think that our objectives are aligned. What we’d like to do is get him in to play for us next year.” Brown envisions Saric playing the “three-four,” which would impact the Sixers’ roster if he joins a crowded frontcourt.
6. Evaluating for the draft and beyond: The Sixers have looking at prospects for more than draft night. They also have to fill summer league and training camp rosters, as well as finding a squad for their NBA Development League Team, the Delaware 87ers. Even if a player is not selected on draft night, he could end up with the Sixers in another capacity.