Enthusiasts of Philadelphia sport may have never before spent so much time debating, speculating upon and worrying about the status of a player who may very well never spend a second on a Philly team roster as they already have with Kansas small forward Andrew Wiggins. We've done it all regular season, we did it in the weeks leading up to the lottery, and now that the lottery has come and gone, we're doing it more than ever.
That fateful Tuesday night, you might have thought the Wiggmania had finally been put to bed for Sixer fans. The lottery awarded us the #3 draft pick--not too shabby in absolute, but certainly not high enough to land the player long tabbed as the likely top overall selection. Instead, for a short while, the debate turned to whether the Sixers should hope that Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid would be the player to drop to them at #3, or whether the Sixers should perhaps reach for Dante Exum or Julius Randle instead.
But Wiggins was never really totally out of the picture, and based on recent reports, he's as viable for the Sixers as ever. Speculation has long been about the possibility of the Sixers trading up from #3 to #1--possibly using the #10 pick as the deal's primary grease, as suggested by both us here at the Level and our Comcast compatriot John Gonzalez.
Now, the speculation has been confirmed: ESPN's Chad Ford mentions in his latest mock draft that the Sixers have indeed discussed the possibility of trading up to #1 with Cleveland. However, likely to the relief of many Sixer fans, Ford says that giving up #10 in the deal is out for them. More appealing to the Sixers would be including Thaddeus Young as the primary get, though with Cleveland already the proud owners of one wiry, athletic power forward with limited shooting range in Tristan Thompson, it's a little unclear what they'd do with another one.
However, based on Ford's recent projections, such a trade might not even be necessary. Ford follows the recent suit of Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! by predicting Wiggins to fall to the Sixers at #3. (He has Embiid going #1 to Cleveland and Parker #2 to Milwaukee). What's more, the Kansas product may be aiming to land in Philly. Sez Ford:
This is a dream scenario for the 76ers. They would take Wiggins at No. 1 if they could, and having him fall to No. 3 would be a godsend...it's a great scenario for Wiggins, as well. Of the three top teams, his camp prefers the Sixers as the best possible fit. This could be a win-win for both.
Could be. Of course, the chances of it being that simple for the Sixers are slim. At the very least, the Cavs will likely have an extended flirtation with Wiggins to see if they can get Sam Hinkie itchy to make a deal before draft night, though good luck to Cleveland GM David Griffin trying to out-maneuver Hinkie during the Hour of Our Dark Lord. And really, as much as we think we know for sure that Hink and company want Wiggins in the worst way, we shouldn't presume for a second we know what thoughts are actually running through that most labyrinthine of brains.
Still, for the Wiggins or Bust Sixer contingent out there, this is all fairly encouraging news. As much as we may debate Embiid vs. Parker vs. Exum vs. whoever, there'd be a lot less of a need for emotional hedging and self-convincing if we can just land Wiggins at the #3 pick, draft whoever we want at #10 (Ford has us taking the Croatian point forward Dario Saric) and call it a pretty damn successful day.
And if not, we'll probably still be cool. No bad outcomes this June, just varying degrees of awesomeness. Continue getting excited.