Report: 76ers ownership was intent on drafting Jahlil Okafor over Kristaps Porzingis

1 Comment

We know Josh Harris grew tired of Sam Hinkie’s process.

The 76ers owner hired Jerry Colangelo and empowered him to trade two second-rounders for Ish Smith and waive the young/talented/raw Christian Wood to sign veteran Elton Brand.

Harris wanted his team to win more now, even if it’s just enough to stop being the butt of the joke.

Did that thinking predate Colangelo’s hire – going back to Philadelphia passing on Kristaps Porzingis with the No. 3 pick in last year’s draft?

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Sources have indicated Philly ownership was gung-ho to take one of the Big 3 — Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor or D’Angelo Russell — because taking another unknown European project may not have sat well with a disenchanted fan base.

Who knows whether Hinkie would’ve drafted Porzingis anyway? Porzingis reportedly wouldn’t even interview with Hinkie. Plus, consensus opinion rated Towns (No. 1 to the Timberwolves), Russell (No. 2 to the Lakers) and Okafor (No. 3 to the 76ers) ahead of everyone else.

But Porzingis was ahead of Okafor on some boards. It’s conceivable Porzingis would’ve been higher on Hinkie’s.

In hindsight, he should’ve been.

Re-do the draft, and Porzingis goes No. 2 behind Towns. Heck, even if you’re considering only impact this season, Porzingis still goes No. 2. He’s not the project many cracked him up to be.

If this report is true, it could be the sign of bigger problems in Philadelphia.

Drafting players based only on immediate impact is almost always a mistake. Most rookies aren’t ready to contribute significantly. Smart franchises don’t generally rely on them to do so. Those teams take the player whom they believe will be best in the long run. They also trust their basketball people make those decisions.

Just because the 76ers already used the No. 12 pick in 2014 on Dario Saric, who has yet to join the NBA, shouldn’t have affected last year’s draft. Don’t throw good money after bad (or maybe in this case, bad money after good).

To be fair, this is the type of shot people can take at the 76ers, the NBA’s easiest target, without it necessarily being true. It’s a story many want to believe, because it’s another excuse to laugh at a team many are already mocking.

But if Philadelphia’s owners mandated the team not draft Porzingis, that’s a major reason for concern.