One thing for certain for Sixers in draft: Things will change

Australian Dante Exum has been linked to the Sixers, but it now appears both the Cavaliers and Bucks have some interest in the point guard.
Australian Dante Exum has been linked to the Sixers, but it now appears both the Cavaliers and Bucks have some interest in the point guard. (CHARLES REX ARBOGAST / AP)
Posted: June 23, 2014

Admit it, you're anxious.

Join the club.

That's because no one outside of a select few in the 76ers' front office can anticipate the moves general manager Sam Hinkie will make Thursday night during the NBA draft, or even before then.

Anyone who says otherwise isn't telling the truth.

The Sixers have the third and 10th picks in the first round in addition to five second-round selections. But things could change - drastically.

Clearly, they must give up something of high value to nab Andrew Wiggins, the Kansas swingman they covet.

The Sixers are rumored to consider packaging rookie of the year point guard Michael Carter-Williams in a trade to acquire another first-round pick. They are also reportedly considering trading forward Thaddeus Young to move up in the draft.

But Wiggins remains their prime target.

Wiggins became a tough get Thursday when it was reported that Joel Embiid had suffered a stress fracture to the navicular bone in his right foot. The 7-footer from Kansas, who was widely regarded as the front-runner for the Cavaliers' No. 1 overall pick, could be sidelined up to six months after Friday's surgery.

Embiid's foot injury, coupled with questions regarding his lower back, make it unlikely Cleveland will take him with the first pick.

Suddenly, Wiggins and Duke swingman Jabari Parker are receiving more serious consideration from the Cavs at the No. 1 overall pick. The Milwaukee Bucks are still expected to settle for the swingman Cleveland doesn't select at No. 2.

So what will the Sixers do?

Will they trade their third and 10th picks, or some other package, to the Cavs to move up two spots and get Wiggins?

Or will they try to trade with Milwaukee to move up one spot?

Other possibilities include gambling on Embiid at No. 3, selecting Australian point guard Dante Exum or Indiana power forward Noah Vonleh at that spot, or trading down.

One Western Conference executive said it's hard to know what to expect when it comes to Hinkie's moves.

"There is no way I thought they were going to trade [NBA all-star point guard] Jrue Holiday," said the executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "I didn't think there was any way. When I found out about that trade, I said there has to be something else to it.

"But you know, it is Hinkie's different approach to it."

And that's what makes this draft so intriguing.

Sixers coach Brett Brown said in a radio interview that Embiid is still on the team's board even after the injury. However, ESPN reported that the Lakers could trade point guard Steve Nash and the No. 7 pick to the Sixers for Carter-Williams and Young. The Sixers would then take Exum with the third pick.

No one knows what to believe on that front: The Lakers later said any trade rumors involving Carter-Williams aren't accurate.

But the fact the Sixers are reportedly working out Exum and Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart on Sunday raises a few eyebrows.

Exum is the great unknown of the NBA draft. The 18-year-old has been held out of a competitive team setting since leading Lake Ginninderra Secondary College to the Australian National High School Basketball Championships title in January. It has been even longer since he competed in an international setting - July's FIBA under-19 World Championships.

But the Sixers arguably know more than any other team about Exum because of his relationship with Brown, who coached the Australian national team.

Three years ago, he invited Exum, then 15, to the Boomers' training camp. And when Brown was an assistant with the Melbourne Tigers, he coached Cecil Exum, Dante's father.

Exum is regarded as a player with a huge upside. Perhaps that's why the Cavaliers were trying to set up a workout once Embiid's broken foot was discovered. Exum also worked out for the Bucks and Orlando Magic, who select fourth.

It's possible that the Bucks and Cavs are looking at him as an option in case they trade out of their top picks.

Sixers fans will just have to wait until Thursday to find out. One thing is for certain: Don't expect things to remain the same.


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