The 2017 NBA Draft Starts with Number Three

By Jack Drapkin

While I would love to be surprised come Draft Night, it sure seems to be that the top two selections are set in stone. Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are penciled in as the first two picks of the NBA Draft to the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers respectively.

That’s great and the intrigue will be there for their first games in the Summer League, however, for all intents and purposes, the draft starts with the Philadelphia 76ers at pick number three. Boy is it an interesting decision for them.

They have needs at guard and on the wing, with their supposed two best players, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, combining for 36 games over four NBA seasons. The Sixers should really be able to select the best player available.

And boy do they need to get this pick right. Look, Simmons and Embiid and especially Embiid, look like generational players. But with the major injuries Embiid has suffered and the fact that Simmons has yet to hit the floor, it’d be nice to add another prospect with a high ceiling, but also an established floor.

To me, there are four players who are in play for the Sixers, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum, Jonathan Isaac, and Malik Monk.

I just don’t think it’s likely they select a point guard here at three as they have gone out of their way to say that Ben Simmons would operate as a point guard and not a point forward ala LeBron James.

So it becomes a question of which wing prospect do they feel suits their team best.

Look, I think the Sixers are in a tough spot here.

Monk has the best shot-making ability of the group but is the most limited in the other aspects of his game, especially the defensive end. For a team, built on size and length, Monk would seem a curious fit at this selection.

Tatum has the offensive acumen, but he is best suited with the ball in his hands. Will there be enough basketballs for an Embiid, Simmons, Tatum trio not to mention outstanding rookie Dario Saric.

Speaking of Saric, his presence along with Robert Covington makes it tough to believe that Jonathan Isaac is the selection here. Isaac seems best suited to play the 3-4 position and with the glut of talent there for the Sixers, it may be tough for him to get playing time.

This leads to my conclusion that Josh Jackson has to be the selection here. His ability to play as an over-sized two guard is vital for this pairing to work. However, I feel it is the best possibility and fit of all the possibilities.

If you’re a Sixers fan, you better hope though that Jackson’s 3-point stroke is legitimate because that team will have major spacing issues if it’s not.

I think the Sixers, end up picking Jackson, but they are a true wildcard in a Draft sure to provide some fireworks come June 22nd.