As of right now, the Philadelphia 76ers once again have a record worthy of capturing the number one overall pick in next year's NBA Draft. With that being said, these are also the same 76ers that watched the Cleveland Cavaliers select ahead of them in last year's draft when they were expected to pick first or second overall.
As far as consensus number one player in the draft, Jahlil Okafor is the name that continues to come up. It is reported that numerous NBA executives have Okafor at the top of their big board. Is it safe to say that the 76ers have him at the top of theirs? Is it safe to say there is no doubt they would go with Okafor? Let's take a look at why or why not the 76ers might go with Okafor, as well as who else they might draft.
THE CONSENSUS #1 PICK: As mentioned above, the hands down number one player in the draft in many people's eyes is Jahlil Okafor. The 6'11" 270lb Duke freshman has an NBA ready body and is very capable of scoring down low, and has the look of a franchise big man. So why wouldn't they go with the best available? The only reason why the 76ers wouldn't select Okafor with the first overall pick is because this is a team that has used the past two years to go big in the draft. In 2013, a draft day trade with the New Orleans Pelicans brought Kentucky center Nerlens Noel to Philadelphia. The 2014 NBA Draft saw the 76ers use the third overall pick to draft Kansas center Joel Embiid. Noel is a 6'11" 220lb center, and Joel Embiid is a 7'0" 240lb center. So although one of the two isn't necessarily a typical big man, he does play the center position. Would the 76ers add a third young center to their roster or might we see the Sixers wait for Joel Embiid to get healthy and go a different direction?
Forgotten Face: Since he decided to skip college and go pro overseas, many people may have forgotten the name of Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay was the number one point guard in the 2014 recruiting class. Emmanuel decided to pass on Kentucky, Baylor, Kansas, and the school he originally committed to, SMU, to sign in the Chinese Basketball Association. Mudiay is a 6'5" 200lb point guard who most people have as the second best prospect in the draft behind Jahlil Okafor. Again, the 76ers would be drafting a position they are already talented at. In the 2013 draft, the Sixers used the 13th overall pick to select 6'6" 185lb Michael Carter-Williams. MCW would go on to win rookie of the year. Rookie of the Year was an impressive accomplishment for MCW, seen as how his Sixers would finish with a record of 19-63. Do the 76ers bolster their backcourt with two talented point guards? Could they ask one of the two to play off the ball? Maybe they go in yet another different direction.
Frontcourt Partner: If in fact the 76ers do decide that Joel Embiid is their man at center, they may look to get him a partner in crime. Choices for power forwards in the draft may include, but are not limited to, Frank Kaminsky, Karl Anthony-Towns, Myles Turner, Cliff Alexander, and Montrezl Harrell. With Joel Embiid being a prototypical big man that likes to play inside, the best fit for a power forward to put next to him would be Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky has the ability to shoot the ball and play away from the basket and give Embiid the space he needs down low.
Honest Opinion: In this author's opinion, Jahlil Okafor is too good to pass up with the first overall pick. He is to the upcoming draft, what Jabari Parker was to last year's draft, the most NBA ready player. At the same time he still has potential and room to grow. If the Sixers are in fact the first team to select and they don't go with Okafor, they would probably go with Mudiay, even though they already have MCW.