2014 NBA Draft Night Will Make or Break Philadelphia 76ers Franchise for Next Decade

By Cody Daniel
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Getty Images

The anticipated wait for the 2014 NBA Draft has become a miserable joy for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Miserable in the agony of waiting to finally see if the Sixers will be tossing their key assets such as Jrue Holiday and Spencer Hawes right out the window in hopes of landing one of the draft’s prized possessions — Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid or Jabari Parker. But then again, there’s the utter joy of knowing that in a draft with three of the most sought-after prospects in recent history, the Sixers have a firm grasp onto the third overall pick, and have even been rumored to be looking for a trade for the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ top pick.

This would presumably be in hopes of landing who the Sixers believe will be the savior of their franchise and brand in Wiggins. So, what’s the right move for Philadelphia in order to assure they land Wiggins?

Judging by the reports that have recently surfaced surrounding the Canadian native, Philly might have their man fall right into their hands with the third pick. Sources close to the Cavaliers told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that Embiid has become the “front-runner” to be selected with the No. 1 pick on June 26. As for the Milwaukee Bucks, it seems they have centered in on Parker as their man.

If the draft pans out in this fashion, the Sixers should have their prize handed to them without dishing out any assets in return. However, the future of basketball in Philly relies on much more than just walking away with Wiggins due to the reality that their man might not be there when they make their selection. This is where things will get tricky for Sam Hinkie, who will have some monumental decisions to make.

What if all of the talk of Embiid being the favorite for Cleveland was a smokescreen? This would leave Embiid on the board with the Sixers’ No. 3 pick, which would be the team’s worst-case scenario. After handing over an All-Star point guard in Jrue Holiday in order to obtain Nerlens Noel from the New Orleans Pelicans, it would be pointless of the Sixers to draft another anchor in the paint.

In this case, the Sixers should then trade down in hopes of adding assets before drafting Noah Vonleh or Marcus Smart, considering they both fill a need.

Then we have the trade rumors surrounding Thaddeus Young, whom many believe will be traded at some point before the Sixers are on the clock. Philadelphia has been aggressively pursuing the No. 1 pick from the Cavaliers, but reportedly aren’t looking to trade their No. 3 and No. 10 picks to obtain the top pick.

Rather, Young could be on his way to Cleveland as an alternative according ESPN’s Chad Ford. Considering Young is unlikely to re-sign with Philadelphia after next season, this could become a realistic option for Hinkie, with the player practically having one foot out of the door.

As far as the No. 10 pick goes, the possibilities are endless. Assuming Hinkie will be relentless in pursuing Wiggins, their next lottery pick will need to be used to fill one of Philly’s needs. With the rumors concerning the injury that apparently never healed with Julius Randle’s foot, many have Randle falling to the Sixers with their second lottery pick.

If this were to happen, Hinkie might have the clearest decision of his career as GM, and will have to pull the trigger on Randle immediately. If this dream scenario for the Sixers doesn’t pan out, Zach LaVine seems to be the best option considering his tremendous upside.

What could blow up the Sixers’ plans for the future is what they do with the ROY, Michael Carter-Williams, on draft night. Rumors had the team trading MCW for the Orlando Magic’s No. 4 pick in order to take Australian sensation Dante Exum. This would be a horrible mistake that would drastically slow Philadelphia’s progress next season.

Yes, Exum could have huge upside, but they simply don’t know too much about him, and to trade a ROY for a prospect does more harm than good.

This is only the tip of the iceberg for the 76ers and what possibilities Hinkie could muster up on draft night, but as you can see, what comes to pass in the draft will be key for the future of basketball in Philadelphia.

Cody Daniel is a Big 12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter, Like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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