Best-case Scenario for Sixers? No. 1 Pick and Nothing Else

The Sixers may finally see the result of Sam Hinkie's trade of former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams.

If the Lakers' pick falls outside of the top three on Tuesday, it will convey to the Sixers. So, obviously, Philly fans should want the Sixers (or the Kings) to land the No. 1 overall pick and for L.A. to fall outside the top three, right?

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Maybe not.

There's no doubt this is a deep draft class. Washington guard Markelle Fultz seems well on his way to being the No. 1 overall pick. He'll be followed by UCLA's Lonzo Ball, who's as electrifying as his dad LaVar is ridiculous. Then there's Kansas' athletic swingman Josh Jackson, Kentucky's dynamic guard duo of De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, and don't forget about polished Duke forward Jayson Tatum.

If the Sixers were to land any two of these players, they'd be in pretty good shape. They certainly wouldn't complain. But it's not the team's best case scenario.

Landing Fultz and having the Lakers' pick not convey would be ideal. In this scenario, they land Fultz, who would fit the current roster perfectly. Fultz is a point guard by trade, but could easily play off the ball. He shot 41 percent from three (52 of 126) and 38 percent on his catch-and-shoot opportunities.

Fultz's ability as a ball handler could also be a huge help for Ben Simmons as he attempts to play point guard next season. If Fultz and Simmons were to share that load, it could help both players as they transition into the NBA. It could also be a whole lot of fun to watch. And imagine a pick-and-roll with Fultz and Joel Embiid. How do opposing teams defend that?

The Lakers have been dreadful the last two seasons. Dreadful enough to hold on to their pick last season and perhaps again this year. But next year, that pick becomes unprotected. Meaning if the Lakers win the draft lottery next season, the Sixers will have the No. 1 pick.

There has been plenty of speculation that the Lakers and Pacers swingman Paul George have a mutual interest. There's a fear the Lakers will improve too much with the addition of George and the pick the Sixers would obtain will not be as valuable.

But how much better will they really be? 

To acquire George, they'll have to pay. There's a chance the Pacers could ask for whatever pick the Lakers get Tuesday night. The Lakers may also have to give up some of its valuable young pieces like Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell or Brandon Ingram. Couple that with the Lakers' cap situation (they signed Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng to horrendous contracts last offseason) and what kind of team can you surround George with?

So if the Sixers get the No. 1 pick this season and land Fultz, they could then be in a position to land young phenom Michael Porter or Spanish shooting guard Luka Doncic next year. Having the Lakers' pick still in their back pocket also gives Bryan Colangelo more ammo to pull the trigger on a possible trade. After (hopefully) seeing Embiid, Simmons and this year's pick on the court together, the team will be in a better position to see where a talented veteran could fit into the nucleus.

It would be instant gratification to have the Lakers' pick convey Tuesday night. But it's better for the team long term to have more ping pong balls in 2018.

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