First-round picks are a hot commodity in the NBA, and any team looking to acquire an additional one should get in contact with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers are actively shopping their No. 23 overall pick in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CBS Sports. They’re willing to part with the pick on its own, or as part of a larger package in order to land established talent. Kevin O’Connor also reported that the Sixers are exploring trades involving the pick and veteran forward Danny Green leading up to draft day.
A few weeks ago, the Sixers weren’t even sure they would have their first-round pick this year. In the trade with the Brooklyn Nets that netted them James Harden in February, the Sixers traded the Nets a first-round pick in either 2022 or 2023 — a choice that was up to Brooklyn. Earlier this month, the Nets decided to defer the pick to next year, which means that the Sixers kept their first-rounder this year. The pick will be unprotected when it transfers to Brooklyn next year.
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It’s not especially surprising that the Sixers are shopping the pick given how they’re currently constructed. The team is clearly in win-now mode after making it to the Eastern Conference semifinals in four of the past five seasons. MVP runner-up Joel Embiid is in his prime, and it’s clear the team needs to upgrade the roster around him in order to advance further next season. Typically in such situations, an established veteran is the preference over an unproven rookie. After all, Philadelphia’s first-round pick from the 2021 draft, Jaden Springer, appeared in just two games for the team last season, and he was not part of the postseason rotation.
That doesn’t mean the Sixers should be super eager to part with the pick, or that they should make a deal just for the sake of making one. It’s important to keep a pool of young talent in an organization, and if the Sixers ultimately do trade the pick they won’t have another first-round pick until 2024, so that’s certainly something for the organization to keep in mind. The Sixers don’t have a second-round pick in this year’s draft either, so if they move the first they could potentially not make a single pick.
Ultimately, it depends on what kind of value they can get for the 23rd pick. If it lands them a useful rotation piece that fits alongside Embiid, or if it helps grease the wheels in a larger deal that brings solid value back to the Sixers, then it might make sense to part with the pick. If not, hanging onto it and adding some more young talent to the stable might be the better option.