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Sixers Mailbag – What would you trade for the No. 1 pick?

May 19th, 2017 at 11:06 AM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

I’m back, baby! I’m back!

I’m bringing you this week’s mailbag. I received some repeat questions that I’ve done in the past about free agency this summer, which you can check out here. On to this week’s questions…

@Anthony_Capelli: My good sir,,,,, would you trade Ben Simmons for Markelle “I’m talking baby like face” Fultz

@EaglesRewind: How much would you give up to swap with Boston?

I’m going to tackle these two together since there’s some overlap. I like Ben Simmons. A lot. I think he could even be a superstar. When I evaluate him as a prospect against Markelle Fultz, however, my decision comes down to their weaknesses.

Simmons’ flaw, his lack of shooting ability, has potential to be fatal. No, he doesn’t need to even shoot a league-average percent from three to be a star. LeBron James shot 30.9 percent from three in 2016 and led his team to a championship. Giannis Antetkounmpo shot 27.2 percent from three this year and was a force unlike anything this league’s seen since, well, a young LeBron.

If Simmons is a complete non-factor from the outside, however, that weakness could be detrimental to his overall game regardless of his phenomenal court vision and potential defensive versatility. He did take just three three-pointers during his lone season at LSU.

Fultz reminds me of Karl-Anthony Towns as a prospect in a way. What was the knock on Towns during the pre-draft process? I can’t remember because I don’t really think there was one. No, he wasn’t elite in everything, nor is Fultz, but Towns didn’t have any glaring weaknesses. Fultz doesn’t for me either. He can pass, he can shoot off the dribble, he can play off the ball, he can attack the rim, and he locks in on defense when he’s engaged (not unlike the way Simmons did for a similarly bad college team). He just feels like the ideal lead guard for 2017.

Running pick-and-roll sets with Fultz and Joel Embiid where defenders can’t afford to sag off Fultz because of his shooting prowess would take the Sixers’ offense to the next level. Sure, Simmons might be able to just blow by defenders even if they start to sag with his athleticism, but Fultz presents more versatility there.

I think Simmons is going to be a great, great pro. I’m just slightly more inclined to believe that Fultz reaches that top tier of stardom in the NBA. You’re all welcome to save this and rub it in my face when Simmons is a perennial All-NBA guy and Fultz can’t get off the bench on a super-deep Celtics team too.

As for what I would give up instead of Simmons, I would include either the 2018 Lakers pick or 2019 Kings pick in addition to the third pick this year. I’m not sure if that gets it done, but I can’t stomach giving away two unprotected picks from dysfunctional teams. Is Dario Saric a throw-in here? If he’s the difference to give the Sixers a Fultz-Simmons-Embiid core, I think Bryan Colangelo would have to do it.

@ryne_jones: Each Killers album as process era sixers. if you don’t answer this were not boys anymore

Given that we all just spent Tuesday night at #SamsTown, this is pretty fitting. I’ve also made about 6000 Mr. Brightside references on Twitter. For the sake of brevity, I’m just doing the Killers’ first two (and best) albums:

Hot Fuss: Joel Embiid

A blistering debut that combined the best of the 80s (New Order, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), 90s (Oasis, Hakeem Olajuwon) and the 00s (The Strokes, Tim Duncan) while throwing its own modern twist (lyrics tailor-made for AIM away messages, Embiid’s three-point shot) on something familiar.

It was also short lived. The first five tracks on Hot Fuss, the first five songs of The Killers’ career, can go against almost any band’s first five and hold their own. The rest of the album ranges from “ehh” to “pretty good.” Those first five songs though, man. They hit me so hard that I couldn’t wait to hear what was next for the band and to see what their superstar-…

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Tags: As I wrote about yesterday, January 12, 2017, Mr Brightside, Sometimes you close your eyes and see the place where you used to live... when you... were young...

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