Sixers acquire Latvian center Anzejs Pasecniks in trade up to No. 25

Sixers acquire Latvian center Anzejs Pasecniks in trade up to No. 25

Updated: Friday, 12:10 a.m.

The Sixers on Thursday traded for the No. 25 overall pick, Latvian center Anzejs Pasecniks.

The Sixers traded the 2020 top-20 protected pick they acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jerami Grant this past season, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe. The Sixers have a crowded roster and will likely stash the 7-foot-2 Pasecniks overseas while he develops.

"Sometimes, especially an organization at the stage we're at in terms of building, you can only have so many young players," Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said. "The players in question are all subject to international contracts or contracts that would require buyouts. And perhaps there's even been some discussion with the representation or agents for those players that there's no intention to come over at this stage."

Pasecniks still has a year left on his contract for next season and also has a club option for the following season. He said he'd love to play in the NBA right away, but he understands it's the team's decision. He was just excited to be drafted by the Sixers.

"It was great," Pasecniks said of his name being called. "I think the moment they drafted me it was an amazing feeling. At this moment, I've still got a smile on my face."

Pasecniks weighs in at just 229 pounds, so his goal will be to gain strength to compete with NBA bigs. The 21-year-old Pasecniks is an athletic 7-foot-2 big that played on the Latvian national team with the Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis. Pasecniks said the two are friends and speak about once a week.

He spent last season overseas in the Liga ACB in Spain. Playing in the league's toughest division, his stats aren't overwhelming: 7.8 points and 3.1 rebounds in just 16.5 minutes a game. He knows he'll have to develop aspects of his game before coming over.

"I'm sure in a couple months I'm going to grow my game 1-on-1," Pasecniks said. "Because we don't do that in Europe. They don't want us to play 1-on-1. They want to share the ball. I hope that I'm going to grow my game 1-on-1. Get stronger and that's what I'm going to do in [the next] couple months."

The Sixers still had four second-round selections — they kept two of their picks (No. 36 Jonah Bolden and No. 50 Mathias Lessort) and reportedly traded the other two (No. 39 Jawun Evans and No. 46 Sterling Brown(see story).

Even if Sixers' process is complete, philosophy behind it needs to stay

Even if Sixers' process is complete, philosophy behind it needs to stay

Is "The Process" over?

That is a question that has dominated the Philadelphia sports scene from the moment it became clear the 76ers were acquiring the first overall pick in the 2017 draft. The potential nucleus of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz certainly feels different than anything the Sixers have placed on the floor this century (with apologies to the JaKarr Sampson, Isaiah Canaan and Carl Landry triumvirate).

A promising team is hardly a winning one, so the debate lingers on as it relates to whether the Sixers' young talent will mature into a champion. That answer is likely years away.

So while some focus on the question, "Is The Process over?" perhaps it's ideal to reframe the question and ponder, "Should The Process ever end?"

It's easy to associate The Process with tanking. Seventy-five wins over four seasons underscore that line of thought. But tanking was always a part of The Process, never its entirety. 

At its heart, The Process revolves around finding the best way to position a franchise once lost in the wasteland that is in the middle of the NBA standings (with no hope of ever signing a true difference-making free agent) for long-term success.

More simply put: properly evaluating your situation plus making smart decisions based on that evaluation = The Process.

With that in mind, The Process should reign forever. That formula is how successful organizations in sports and otherwise, operate. The Patriots have a process. The Cubs have a process. The Warriors have a process. 

The tanking may be done. However, Sixers fans should hope The Process is far from over.

Trust that.

5 reasons to stay glued to NBA draft after Sixers pick at No. 1

5 reasons to stay glued to NBA draft after Sixers pick at No. 1

It’s finally here. NBA draft night.

While you may think you know what the Sixers will do now that the team has moved up to No. 1 (select Markelle Fultz), that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of intrigue throughout the evening.

Here’s an outline of five reasons to keep your eyes glued on the Sixers and the league’s 29 other teams during the event.

Deep impact
Sure, the Sixers are likely to take Fultz. But this isn’t one of those drafts in which the talent tops out at the No. 1.

This is projected to be a very deep draft class with value well into the first round and some serious finds in the second.

“While Markelle Fultz is most experts' pick as the top player, the general consensus is there's no surefire superstar — Fultz included — in this class. Realistically, there are probably a dozen guys who could end up being All-NBA players,” CBS Sports’ Brad Botkin said.

While there will be All-Stars and maybe even some superstars to come out of this draft, there’s also a likelihood of a few busts.

Whether it’s the wrong fit, injuries or just a lack of skills to compete at the next level, several high draft picks are bound to be misses for the teams that select them.

That has particularly been the case at No. 2, as Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Abrams recently pointed out.

“(Kevin) Durant dethroned The King — LeBron James, that is — earlier this month, claiming a Finals MVP trophy to go with that elusive championship ring. But most No. 2 picks never ascend to such heights; in fact, over the past 20 years, only four have even become All-Stars,” Abrams said.


Movers and shakers
The draft picks are only half of the fun. Don’t forget about the trades.

The Sixers got the pre-draft moves started by pulling off their deal with the Celtics for the No. 1 overall pick. 

Things really started heating up after that. D’Angelo Russell, Brook Lopez and Dwight Howard have all been moved. And there have been 10 times as many rumored trades thrown around.

Don’t expect that to stop on draft night.

“The NBA Finals just ended, the draft hasn't started, free agency has yet to begin, and it feels as if the landscape has shifted noticeably,” ESPN’s J.A. Adande said. “Welcome to the new swap season.”

Legacies on the line
The players aren’t the only ones that can start making a name for themselves at the draft. Executives have plenty to gain and lose as well.

The right move and you’re untouchable in your city. The wrong decision, and … let’s just say you don’t want to make an incorrect choice.

With the fate of franchises in their hands, NBA execs have the power to alter the league’s landscape with a single deal.

Those transactions will stick with front-office members forever, as Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Mannix explained will be the case with Danny Ainge for sending the draft’s top pick to the Sixers instead of snagging Fultz.

“Legacies are defined by deals like this. Ainge’s will be, too,” Mannix said. “His executive career is now intertwined with Fultz’s playing one, forever linked. The gambling executive just placed his biggest bet, against a player few around the league would bet against.”

Dress for success
Of course, the draft isn’t all high drama.

There’s guaranteed to be plenty of smiles and tears of joy as young men realize their life-long dream of making it to the NBA.

There may also be a few laughs, potentially at the expense of a draft hopeful’s fashion faux pas.

“The fun part is sitting around with your friends and coworkers and playing fashion critic as a bunch of kids shake hands with the NBA commissioner in suits and shoes that are so outlandish that we occasionally ask ourselves how anyone allowed them to leave the boutique,” CBS Sports’ Kellen Becoats said.