Colangelo Discusses Sixers’ Plan
Much has been made about the Philadelphia 76ers’ decision to hire Jerry Colangelo as the team’s Chairman of Basketball Operations. There were even reports that this was some type of arranged marriage, with the league office directing Colangelo to the Sixers in order to put an end to the team’s tanking.
While that hasn’t been confirmed, there is truth to the idea that Colangelo wants to turn things around sooner than later. Rather than continuing to stockpile draft picks and young players for several more years, it appears Colangelo wants to speed up the rebuild by adding players through free agency and potentially flipping some of Philly’s assets in trades.
It makes sense that Colangelo is the person entrusted with helping to turn around the Sixers, given his success with the Phoenix Suns and Team USA’s program as well as his impressive resume that includes four NBA Executive of the Year awards.
Several moves have already been made since Colangelo joined Philadelphia’s front office, such as the signing of veteran Elton Brand to serve as a mentor to the team’s young big men, the trade for veteran Ish Smith so they could have an experienced point guard running the offense and the hiring of his close friend Mike D’Antoni as an assistant coach under Brett Brown. All of these moves are about helping the team become more competitive now, which lines up with Colangelo’s thinking.
And more moves could be coming soon. While some pundits have stated that it will take a very long time for the Sixers to climb out of this hole, Colangelo disagrees. That’s because the team has the makings of a nice young core, attractive trade chips and a ton of cap room this offseason. Consider this: the Sixers only have $24,518,361 in guaranteed contracts for next year, meaning they can go on a huge spending spree this summer and add multiple notable free agents.
“As I look at the board, I see some things that could happen sooner rather than later,” Colangelo told Sixers.com. “If somebody gets healthy. If the player from Europe [Dario Saric] comes in and is part of the rotation, and we will have a very high draft pick, and then using some of those assets, to do other things – be it free agency, be it a trade, whatever – this thing could flip a lot sooner than people understand.
“So, I think this is not a situation where [we’re asking], ‘When are we going to come out of this?’ Or, ‘When are we going to be able to compete?’ I think that could be sooner rather than later.”
General manager Sam Hinkie is still managing the team day-to-day and has significant input into the organization’s moves. Colangelo admits that most of his work has been done over the phone and away from the team.
“I’m picking spots where I can be around the team, but I’m also on the phone every day, in terms of conversation on basketball business and Sixer business, so I don’t feel removed from it at all,” Colangelo said. “Little by little, I’m feeling more and more comfortable. My role is to make recommendations about what we could do better.”
Colangelo had positive things to say about the job Hinkie has done stockpiling assets during the rebuilding effort.
“As far as the plan, whatever people think the plan is, nothing is changing as far as a course,” Colangelo said. “The reality is, and I’ve come to understand this, that Sam has really done a great job of accumulating assets. You look at the trades, you look at the draft picks accumulated, it’s all there in place. And now it’s a matter of when do you pull the trigger on using all those assets, or any of those assets.”
While stating that the plan hasn’t drastically changed, Colangelo did put a timetable on when he wants to see a turnaround. He made it clear that he hopes the team makes progress this year. He wants the Sixers competing and the next 12 months are ridiculously important in terms of the franchise’s plan.
“ is the year,” Colangelo said. “It’s a big year, to look at all the assets and best utilize them. What do we do here? Do we take a couple picks and move up? Do we make a trade? Do you look at it from free agency, realistically, and see what you can do there? It’s great to be in a position where you have the assets to use. There’s a lot of teams in the league you can’t say that about. They’re kind of locked in in terms of where they are. There’s one way to go here, and that’s up. I’m very optimistic.
“You’ve got to be a little bit lucky, too, in terms of all the things I’m talking about. I use the expression ‘the stars have to be aligned.’ And if we have a good alignment, it could happen in ‘16. So we could have a turnaround in one year that would surprise people. But the assets are in place to potentially make that happen. There’s no guarantee, but the thing that you have to do is give people, I think, hope, that this isn’t like a ‘five-year, let’s-look-down-the-road-and-see-where-we-are [plan].’ No. I don’t see that at all. I see the opportunity here to get some big things done over the next year.”
Hinkie agreed with Colangelo’s approach and optimism entering this summer.
“I think if you zoom out a little bit, the summary of what we’ve done is to plant seeds for a harvest, and it’s not out of the question that harvest might come in even this summer,” Hinkie told Sixers.com. “Obviously, none of our picks from 2014 in the first round [Saric, Joel Embiid] have hit the floor yet, and that could change. And only one of our two first-rounders in 2013 is still on the team, but there’s other opportunities for us there, and that’s outside of all the other what I call ‘smaller things.’ I think things could feel very different, very quickly with a different level of talent around our team.”
In other words, keep an eye on the Sixers during trade season and the free agency period because this organization could extremely active.
#28 – Jacob Evans – Golden State Warriors
With the 28th overall pick, the Golden State Warriors selected Cincinnati Junior Jacob Evans.
Evans represents a solid pick for nearly any NBA team. Evans fits in the mold of a potential 3-and-D role player. Evans improved in his time at Cincinnati, culminating in his junior year, where he scored 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Evans spent three seasons at Cincinnati and rounded himself into a versatile two-way player who can bring a lot of value at the NBA level.
Evans is a very cognitive player, especially on the defensive end. He has a better grasp of his limitations than most players at this stage of their respective careers and is able to maximize his individual defensive ability within a team concept. Evans generally makes the right rotations, double-teams at the right times and funnels his opponents to where his teammates are when he cannot contain the ball-handler on his own. With the right coaching, he could become a valuable defensive wing in an NBA rotation sooner than some anticipate.
Additionally, Evans is more than just a shooter. He led his team in assists last season and has some skill as a playmaker. Evans will be more of a shooter and finisher in the NBA, but the ability to make the right pass, swing the ball when he isn’t open and take the ball off the dribble when necessary make him an intriguing prospect. This is especially true when you consider how valuable a player like Khris Middleton has become over the years, adding layers to his 3-and-D skill set each season.
The Warriors aren’t in need of an influx of talent but are happy to add Evans regardless.
#27 – Robert Williams III – Boston Celtics
With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.
With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.
Although there were early week rumors that the Celtics might try to trade up, they’ve ultimately elected to find a difference-maker at the end of the first round instead. For a team that nearly reached the NBA Finals despite debilitating injuries to Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, Boston’s roster didn’t need a wholesale change on draft night. But at No. 27, they’ll be more than happy to leave with the mysterious-but-talented Williams.
Last year, Williams was viewed as a potential first-rounder before he returned to Texas A&M for his sophomore year. In 2017-18, Williams averaged 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds on 63.2 percent from the field, fueling the Aggies to a 22-13 record. During this current pre-draft process, Williams looked poised to become a mid-first-round selection once again — but his stock faded as the big night got closer. In fact, Williams even decided to watch the draft with his family, even though he was a green room invitee.
His stock has undoubtedly dropped as of late, but this may end up being the steal of the draft — naturally, he dropped right into general manager Danny Ainge’s lap. Williams, 6-foot-10, is a freak athlete that’ll bring a new look to an already fearsome defensive unit in Boston. At A&M, Williams won back-to-back SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and averaged 2.5 blocks per game. Of course, he’ll get the opportunity to learn from the hard-nosed Al Horford, a five-time All-Star and the defensive linchpin for Boston — a win-win situation for all.
Williams, 20, joins an extremely young core in Boston that also includes Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum, among others.
#26 – Landry Shamet – Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers select Landry Shamet with the 26th overall pick.
With the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select guard Landry Shamet of Wichita State.
Shamet, if he is able to fulfill his potential, should provide the Sixers with some much-needed shooting, as their rotation was noticeably starved for another deadeye sniper.
A career 43.7 percent three-point shooter, Shamet sank 44.2 percent of his shots from downtown last season, and he did so while firing nearly six attempts from deep a game. Sliding Shamet at the guard position alongside franchise point guard Ben Simmons allows for another weapon at Simmons’ disposal.
Standing at 6-foot-5 and 21 years old, Shamet has the size to play either guard spot in the NBA (especially given Philadelphia’s lengthy and versatile lineup). Along with his shooting ability, Shamet also led the American Athletic Conference with 166 assists last season. With Markelle Fultz still a question mark for Philadelphia, Shamet provides a secondary ball-handler and playmaker, whether in the starting lineup or in the reserve unit.
The first round of the 2018 NBA Draft was a whirlwind for the Sixers, and they ultimately land two guards of very separate varieties: an upside-laden athlete in Zhaire Smith, and a skillful “veteran” rookie whose skillset is established.