The 2019 NBA Draft will be held Thursday, June 20th at 7 pm live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Now a lot has changed for the Philadelphia 76ers since the 2018 Draft. For example, having Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris at this time last year would have seemed like a pipe dream. But Elton Brand pulled his best Howie Roseman impression and made things happen. Now Brand wasn’t here to make the 2018 draft day trades but he did make the other trades happen. With that said did the 76ers make the right trades involving the 2018 draft class?
Bridges for Smith
The Sixers held the 10th overall pick and it was anticipated that the team would draft and keep hometown player Mikal Bridges. Bridges helped the Villanova Wildcats win 2 NCAA national championships during his three-year career. However, the Sixers had other plans. The team selected then traded Bridges to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Zhaire Smith and a 2021 Miami first rounder.
Bridges would go on to start 56 games for the Suns playing in all 82 averaging 8.3 points per game along with 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. Smith only appeared in six games for the Sixers as he spent most of the year recovering from a broken foot.
Shamet to Hollywood
The second trade was an attempt to win it all this year. At the trade deadline, the Sixers acquired Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott from the LA Clippers in exchange for Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala, as well as draft, picks in a blockbuster deal. Following the trade, Shamet would go on to start 23 games for the Clippers averaging 10.9 points per game. He would also hit the game-winning three in game two against the Warriors to complete a 31 point comeback.
Harris worked to find his role with the Sixers going on to start 27 games and averaged 18.2 points per game and 6.7 rebounds. In the playoffs averaged 15.5 points per game.
Were these the right trades?
Well is the question we’d like to know. Did the Sixers handle the 2018 draft class the right way? The answer is no. Now the Jimmy Butler trade was absolutely the right move and that was a nice start. However, I believe this team could have reached the same position without acquiring Harris. Or they simply could have waited to sign Harris this offseason. Harris enters free agency as an unrestricted free agent. Now it has to be admired for making the trade in an attempt to win it all.
Consequently, Kawhi Leonard had other plans. The team could have kept Shamet who was starting to come into his own and could have been a younger more effective JJ Redick moving forward. If the team fails to retain Harris this trade essentially becomes a waste. Had the team kept Bridges he would have been a solid defensive player that can guard multiple positions as well as knock down the three and space the floor. Non the less now-healthy Smith has a chance to display his talent.
2019 NBA Draft Class
The Sixers will have five picks in this years NBA Draft the first being number 24 overall. Smith is healthy and will look to make an impact this year. At Texas Tech he averaged 11.3 points per game and helped lead the Red Raiders to the Elite 8 in 2017. Do you think the Sixers should have kept Shamet and Bridges? Let us know below.