GM Sam Hinkie can do all of the analytics he wants and he’s very good at that, but basketball is a simple game and winning an NBA championship is a lot more likely if you follow the blueprint of the champion. The San Antonio Spurs won this year’s title with a sparkling display of team basketball. Even more than that, the pieces were put together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle: center, power forward, small forward, shooting guard and point guard.
The Sixers themselves had a similar team in 1966-67 and it was arguably the greatest in NBA history, with a great center (Wilt Chamberlain), power forward (Luke Jackson), small forward (Chet Walker), shooting guard (Hal Greer) and point guard (Wally Jones).
Contrast that to the Miami Heat, who had more jagged edges than good fits.
No one knows how those pieces were put together more than Brown, who served as Gregg Popovich’s No. 1 assistant before taking the Sixers’ job. Nobody in the Sixers’ front office is saying anything right now because they don’t want to tip their hands, but if you ask Brown confidentially, he’d likely tell you that Julius Randle of Kentucky is the logical choice for the Sixers at No. 3.
Here’s why: The Sixers already have their point guard piece in NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. They have a more than adequate finesse forward in Thad Young. They have a 7-foot center in Nerlens Noel, who could be a premier shot-blocker and rebounder in the league for the next 10 years. What they do not have is a power forward and shooting guard, and with two top 10 picks, they can grab both now.
They don’t need another center in damaged Joel Embiid of Kansas.
They can certainly get a good shooting guard at No. 10 and pick from a number of players who can fill it up, but Randle will not be around by that pick.
That’s why the obvious choice for the Sixers on Thursday at No. 3 is Randle and no one better than Brown knows putting the right pieces of the puzzle together is the first step to winning championships. Randle might not be a great fit for every team, but he’s a perfect one for the Sixers.