It’s day whatever of quarantine; at this point who can even remember when it started or aimlessly try to predict when it will truly end?
Fans continue to be without sports for an indefinite period of time.

For the foreseeable future, the sporting world’s primary source of joy and semi-normalcy will be via its upcoming drafts. The Sixers have notoriously been hit or miss with their selections in recent years.

With that being said, let’s revisit some of the good decisions the front office has made via the 2015-2019 drafts.

5) Furkan Korkmaz – 26th overall // 2016

Not a lot of fans were familiar with that name on draft night, but they’ve been getting used to hearing his name more and more each of the past three seasons. He didn’t show much during his very limited rookie campaign, seeing only about 5-6 MPG while shooting 29.4% beyond the arc. However, after earning a significant increase in both categories each of the last two seasons, he’s now an important bench piece who produces a 39.7% clip beyond the arc in over 21 MPG.

He still needs improve a bit on the defensive end, but that’s just icing on cake the if he continues to produce at this level offensively. Considering he was a back end of the 1st round pick, the Sixers have already gotten decent value in return.

4) Matisse Thybulle – 20th // 2019

Already a fan-favorite because of his personality, Thybulle has also proven his worth on the court. Hailed as the best perimeter defender pre-draft, he’s shown why during his rookie season. In less than 20 MPG, he’s averaging 1.4 SPG and 0.7 BPG. His game is by no means the prettiest, but his impact cannot be overlooked. At just 23, he’s already a special defensive talent.

Although he’s not a prolific scorer, he’s shooting a respectable 35.2% from 3PT range. As Thybulle improves his game offensively, he’ll continue to show how much of draft day steal he was at #20. 

3) Landry Shamet – 26th // 2018

Yes, his tenure with the Sixers was not as long as most would have hoped. However, his short time with the Sixers did help the team land Tobias Harris in a trade with the Clippers. Without getting into arguing whether the trade was worth it, Shamet’s consistent shooting in 54 games with the Sixers led to 8.3 PPG (40.4% 3PT) in 20.5 MPG. Shamet was beloved by fans, and rightfully so.

The Sixers found success once again at the back end of the first round. Although his departure was upsetting to fans, it did allow for the emergence of the aforementioned SG that the team took 26th overall. 

2) Shake Milton – 54th // 2018

When you think about value in a draft pick, you’d be hard pressed to find more than the Sixers did with Shake Milton near the end of the 2018 draft. In Ben Simmons’ absence earlier in this currently suspended season, Milton absolutely burst onto the NBA scene as the starting PG.

Prior to this expanded role, Milton saw very little action, as he played quite a bit for the Sixers’ G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. His statement game came against the Los Angeles Clippers on a national spotlight, when he dropped 39 PTS (14-20 FG, 7-9 from 3PT range). Milton has given fans a lot to be excited for in a short amount of time.

He’s shown positional versatility as a 1 or 2 in addition to his “lightning in a bottle” type offensive capabilities. He’s proven that he’s here to stay, and fans will surely see a lot more breakout games from the 23 year old. 

1) Ben Simmons – 1st // 2016

The expectations for any #1 overall pick in this city couldn’t have been higher. Simmons has met and exceeded such expectations. He’s been an All-Star each of the past two seasons, and he’s a career 16.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 8.0 AST, 1.7 STL, and 0.8 BPG player in three total seasons. This season, he’s particularly emerged on the defensive end, where he’s made a legitimate case for DPOY. The sky is the limit for Simmons; he’s a complete player with the exception of one particular skill I can’t pinpoint at the moment.

For what it’s worth, in a recent interview with ESPN’s Jackie McMullan, a lack of 3PT shooting appeared to be the topic of conversation. The common denominator with all these Sixers’ picks is the fact that they’re only 23, with the exception of Korkmaz (22). Simmons has so much talent, and it’ll be interesting to see how he makes his return from a nerve-impingement whenever the league resumes play.

Overall, the Sixers are pretty good at finding talent through the draft. Sure, it helps to be picking really high in some years, but the front office clearly generated some value in spots one wouldn’t really expect.

Fans across all major sports leagues are awaiting any new content they can get, and draft season is in full swing.
Although uncertainty surrounds the possibility of resuming suspended play, fans are holding onto the certainty of drafts, virtual or not.

Featured Image: Bill Streicher/ USA TODAY SPORTS
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