Even after being fired, reports of former Philadelphia 76ers GM Bryan Colangelo’s management of the Sixers are still being released, and they’re not good.
As many of you may already know, Philly took point guard Markelle Fultz out of Washington State with the first pick in the 2017 NBA draft, trading up to the first pick with Boston, who had the first pick, but opted to trade down, confident the prospect they had their eye on at the time — Jayson Tatum — would be available at 3.
Looking back, the trade was another masterful move from Danny Ainge, who managed to fleece the 76ers for a few extra future draft picks by trading down, selling Philadelphia on the fact Boston would take Fultz first. The move was made even more successful when it was revealed Fultz had a shoulder injury that would sideline him the majority of the regular season, whereas Jayson Tatum would go on to be one of the most successful rookies out of the entire class.
With the 76ers still copping heat for the trade, as well as wanting to distance themselves from the moves made by Colangelo after the entire Twitter burner account fiasco, reports have emerged that Colangelo went against team advice to draft Fultz first overall, via Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:
“After Fultz struggled in his workout with the Sixers last June, league sources say some Sixers front-office members suggested that despite making the trade, the team should have taken a second look at Tatum or Lonzo Ball. But the idea was shot down by Colangelo, according to sources. Fultz was the choice. There was no turning back.”
Well, that’s not going to wonders for Markelle’s confidence, is it?
According to O’Connor, various other officials within the 76ers front office were not impressed with Fultz’s pre-draft workout, informing Colangelo that it may be best to reevaluate both Tatum and Ball. But Colangelo already had his mind made up, and as they say, the rest is history.
This does beg the question, where would Philadelphia be if they instead chose to select either Tatum or Ball? More than likely, Tatum would’ve been the better option given Ball and Ben Simmon’s similar pass-first playstyle, so with that in mind, how would adding a scoring wing alongside Simmons and Joel Embiid change the 76ers fortune this season? Maybe instead of the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, we see the 76ers and Cavs go seven games to make the Finals, perhaps with a different result this time around?