Hinkie Lives: Colangelos end up Trusting the Process, possibly despite themselves


It was down to the wire there for a minute, but it seems like The Process is in safe hands for at least one more night. If the NBA Internet and its many Varyses are to be believed, the Sixers came close to making some very controversial decisions on Thursday that threatened to ruin our No. 1 pick buzz. But potential crisis was averted, the Sixers held strong on their final two picks, and it seems like everyone went home happy — for now, at least. 

So first off: Yeah, it was Simmons. (Dude was signing friggin' Sixers jerseys before the pick — if he actually got scooped by Ingram or Dunn, it would've basically been the Colangelos' equivalent of the Montreal Screwjob.) And that's great! Ben Simmons may or may not fit brilliantly on our team right now, and who knows how easy it'll be to build around the LSU point power forward the next few years, but he apparently pasted Ingram in his Sixers workout, he looks like a beast, and his talent is thought by some to be potentially generational. Plenty of questions to be asked, and we should count our lucky stars to get to ask every one of them. I can't wait. 

After the first pick is when things got really interesting. Rumors of a proposed Sixers mega-package to the Celtics (Noel, Nos. 24 and 26, and Covington) in offer for the No. 3 pick (presumably to take Providence point guard Kris Dunn) were confirmed by some disturbingly reputable sources (but denied by Bryan Colangelo). Amazingly, the Celtics were unmoved by the Colangelos' alleged offer — certain high-profile C's fans found the offer downright insulting, as perhaps did their owner — and appeared to pit the Sixers and Bulls against each other in a bidding war for Dunn's services. Apparently the C's didn't get the offer they wanted, so they just took Cal wing Jaylen Brown instead. With Dunn still available at five, the Sixers apparently transferred their offer to Minnesota, who demurred in the hopes of extorting star wing Jimmy Butler from the Bulls. That didn't happen, the Wolves picked Dunn, and that was that. 

It's hard to say whether the megadeal for Dunn was really as disastrous as it looked on paper. It obviously seems like way too much for one top-five pick — a guy who was underdrafted at No. 6 just three years ago, plus a dirt-cheap starting-caliber wing, and a couple late-firsts — but when you break it down, the Sixers weren't giving up that much they couldn't live without, especially if (Jupiter-sized if) Embiid is actually healthy next summer. Nerlens is still a blue-chipper, and of course if Embiid breaks down again, not having Noel in reserve would be devastating. But if the team believed Dunn a legitimate star prospect at a position of need, it's possible it would have been worth the risk. Covington's great, but he disappointed a little last season, and his skills, while immensely valuable, are hardly irreplaceable. Late first-rounders are late first-rounders. I wouldn't have loved it, but I could've talked myself into it. 

And we all still might have to. Just because Minnesota took Dunn doesn't mean he's off the market altogether. And reports have the Sixers anxious as ever to add a vet PG, whether that be Patrick Beverley or Ricky Rubio or Brandon Knight — meaning that Noel package or something like it might still end up on the table for one of these guys. It's good that the Colangelos aren't afraid to make moves and take chances, though the perceived desperation does start to scan as "C'mmmmmmoonnnnnn just let us make a trade NOWWWW" after a little while. There must be a middle ground between the Hink's frustratingly limitless patience and the Colangelos' blue-balled frustration. Right?

Anyway, the good news is that we ended up keeping both our late-first-rounders, and the other good news was that a couple Sixers Fan faves ended up slipping to the mid-20s. The Sixers ended up taking French three-and-D wing Timothé Luwawu at No. 24 and sweet-shooting Turkish two-guard Furkan Korkmaz at No. 26 — both guys in the DraftExpress top 20, and both who were particularly coveted by the Liberty Ballers crew, who ranked Luwau 6th (!!!) overall and Korkmaz 12th. It'll take some maneuvering to get both guys over to the U.S. next season, and Korkmaz is reportedly staying in Europe another year as a draft-and-stash. But that's fine: The Sixers have too many young dudes to grow them all on the roster at the same time anyway. Getting guys we can be excited about (and who may eventually fit a real long-term need) in the mid-20s is pretty tremendous. 

The Sixers have a lot of off-season left — they plan to be aggressive in free agency, trade talk will likely continue to swirl around them, and there's that one big man they've got to bring over from Turkey and that other one they need to get on the court for the first time in over two years. But all I wanted from the Colangelos at the draft this year was for them not to outright ruin the night for me, and lo and behold — whether by actual good judgment or just good luck — they didn't. Two weeks until summer league. Stay processin'.

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