By Dylan MacKinnon
The NBA Draft is upon us. Teams all over the league will be adding young players they will hope to have around for years. But the Sixers need to take a different approach. The Sixers number one goal needs to be making this year’s team as great as possible. Adding a 19 or 20-year-old won’t do that. This is why the Sixers best option tonight is to use that pick to add a veteran who can help them right now.
Their clock is ticking. Embiid is getting older. With his size and his injury history, we do not know how much longer his prime will last. They have already wasted two MVP-caliber seasons with crappy supporting casts around him. They cannot do it for a third year. Not just because he might start to lose it soon. But because his commitment to the Sixers may be tested if the Sixers fall short this season. Tyrone Johnson talked about it on the air earlier this week. And while we may not want to discuss it, we can’t risk Embiid growing dissatisfied with the Sixers organization. The Sixers need to be in full win-now mode, even if it comes at their cost down the line.
It is very unlikely that any player they add at 23 will contribute big this year. Even Tyrese Maxey was barely a factor in year one. It took until his 2nd year for him to start contributing. Last year the Sixers took Jaden Springer, he never played. The Sixers had a few young players that could have maybe contributed, but Doc Rivers seemed unwilling to give them that chance unless his hand was forced. We saw that with him refusing to play Paul Reed. Instead, he opted for an over-the-hill Deandre Jordan, leaving Reed less prepared to step in when needed in the playoffs. The same went for Isaiah Joe, and Charles Bassey. It is rare for first-year guys, especially ones outside the draft lottery, to contribute in year one.
Does that mean giving up every asset just to acquire PJ Tucker? No. Because PJ Tucker won’t be enough to fix this team. But they do need to be hunting for veteran talent. Whatever that may look like. They just can’t take the one good tradeable asset they have, the 23rd pick, and waste it on someone who might barely see the floor this year. Forcing a win-now situation is not the best way to build a team. But it’s the corner they have backed themselves into. And now their best option, and truly their only option is to trade this pick away to acquire a veteran player.