Best-case scenario for Sixers? No. 1 pick and nothing else

Best-case scenario for Sixers? No. 1 pick and nothing else

The Sixers may finally see the result of Sam Hinkie's trade of former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams.

If the Lakers' pick falls outside of the top three on Tuesday, it will convey to the Sixers. So, obviously, Philly fans should want the Sixers (or the Kings) to land the No. 1 overall pick and for L.A. to fall outside the top three, right?

Maybe not.

There's no doubt this is a deep draft class. Washington guard Markelle Fultz seems well on his way to being the No. 1 overall pick. He'll be followed by UCLA's Lonzo Ball, who's as electrifying as his dad LaVar is ridiculous. Then there's Kansas' athletic swingman Josh Jackson, Kentucky's dynamic guard duo of De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, and don't forget about polished Duke forward Jayson Tatum.

If the Sixers were to land any two of these players, they'd be in pretty good shape. They certainly wouldn't complain. But it's not the team's best case scenario.

Landing Fultz and having the Lakers' pick not convey would be ideal. In this scenario, they land Fultz, who would fit the current roster perfectly. Fultz is a point guard by trade, but could easily play off the ball. He shot 41 percent from three (52 of 126) and 38 percent on his catch-and-shoot opportunities.

Fultz's ability as a ball handler could also be a huge help for Ben Simmons as he attempts to play point guard next season. If Fultz and Simmons were to share that load, it could help both players as they transition into the NBA. It could also be a whole lot of fun to watch. And imagine a pick-and-roll with Fultz and Joel Embiid. How do opposing teams defend that?

The Lakers have been dreadful the last two seasons. Dreadful enough to hold on to their pick last season and perhaps again this year. But next year, that pick becomes unprotected. Meaning if the Lakers win the draft lottery next season, the Sixers will have the No. 1 pick.

There has been plenty of speculation that the Lakers and Pacers swingman Paul George have a mutual interest. There's a fear the Lakers will improve too much with the addition of George and the pick the Sixers would obtain will not be as valuable.

But how much better will they really be? 

To acquire George, they'll have to pay. There's a chance the Pacers could ask for whatever pick the Lakers get Tuesday night. The Lakers may also have to give up some of their valuable young pieces like Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell or Brandon Ingram. Couple that with the Lakers' cap situation (they signed Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng to horrendous contracts last offseason) and what kind of team surrounds George?

So if the Sixers get the No. 1 pick this season and land Fultz, they could then be in a position to land young phenom Michael Porter or Spanish shooting guard Luka Doncic next year. Having the Lakers' pick still in their back pocket also gives Bryan Colangelo more ammo to pull the trigger on a possible trade. After (hopefully) seeing Embiid, Simmons and this year's pick on the court together, the team will be in a better position to see where a talented veteran could fit into the nucleus.

It would be instant gratification to have the Lakers' pick convey Tuesday night. But it's better for the team long term to have more ping-pong balls in 2018.

Sixers trade Shawn Long to Houston for 2018 2nd-round pick, cash

Sixers trade Shawn Long to Houston for 2018 2nd-round pick, cash

Let the Sixers' stockpiling of future second-round picks continue.

The team on Wednesday traded forward Shawn Long to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a 2018 second-rounder as well as cash considerations. Long played in 18 games for the Sixers last season, averaging 8.2 points in 12.7 minutes per game while shooting better than 41 percent from beyond the arc.

The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the deal.

Long, the 2016 Sun Belt Conference player of the year with Louisiana-Lafayette, was named a 2017 D-League all-star after a stellar start to the season with the Delaware 87ers. He was called up on March 6 and stuck with the Sixers for the remainder of the season.

The trade is the fifth of the day for the Rockets and Houston general manager Daryl Morey, who already completed a blockbuster deal earlier Wednesday to acquire All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Sixers now have four second-round picks in next year's draft (three of which they have traded for plus their own) in addition to their first-rounder and the Lakers' top pick, unless it goes to Boston.

Clippers trade star Chris Paul to Rockets in blockbuster

Clippers trade star Chris Paul to Rockets in blockbuster

HOUSTON — Chris Paul is heading to Houston to join James Harden, and the Rockets will soon have two All-Stars in the backcourt to lead their chase for a championship.

The Rockets acquired Paul from the Clippers in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, a protected first-round pick next year and cash considerations.

The 32-year-old Paul opted in for the last year of his contract so the Clippers could work on a deal.

The Rockets acquired Hilliard from Detroit and Liggins from Dallas for cash considerations on Wednesday before adding them to the deal for Paul.

The nine-time All-Star has averaged 18.7 points, 9.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals over his 12-year career, though he has been dogged with criticism in recent years for failing to help the Clippers get out of the second round of the playoffs.