The Sixers finally have the No. 1 pick again — the first time since 1996.
Longtime NBA executive Pat Williams has had the pleasure on four occasions — once with the Sixers, thrice with the Magic.
Williams, now the senior vice president of the Magic, was the general manager of the Sixers in 1986 when the team owned the top selection — and traded it. Sixers fans know all too well how that worked out. Instead of drafting Brad Daugherty, the Sixers shipped the pick to Cleveland in exchange for Roy Hinson.
The Sixers had plenty and “went downhill after that,” an angry Charles Barkley said.
Williams flipped the Magic from a struggling expansion team into a bona-fide contender when Orlando had back-to-back first overall picks in 1992 and 1993. The Magic selected Shaquille O’Neal and Chris Webber, the latter of which they famously traded for Penny Hardaway and three future first-round picks.
So, Williams knows the impact and importance of that prized spot, and how it can transform a franchise.
He talked about it Thursday at the commemoration of the late Harvey Pollack in an interview with Comcast SportsNet.
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“There’s no feeling quite like it in the basketball business,” Williams said. “And I think the key word here is hope.”
Will it change the future of the Sixers?
“I will say this, they’ve got a very interesting and good collection of young players, and they’re going to add another young player,” Williams said. “Now the question is, can they make all these pieces fit, can they take that talent and merge it into a cohesive unit?”
To hear more from Williams, watch the video above.