The Philadelphia 76ers have the third pick in the NBA draft this year and most draft experts see D'Angelo Russell or Kristaps Porzingis as the selection for the team and one of those names is looking even more likely as the pick after reports that Russell had a strong workout for the Sixers this week and this comes as center Joel Embiid could be out for a second straight season with a foot injury.
The Sixers had a workout scheduled last week with Russell that had to be cancelled and they had the Ohio State point guard visit on Tuesday and Wednesday. According to Keith Pompey of Philly.com, Russell met with the team over two days and he "killed it" in regards to his time with the Sixers in a workout and a tour of the team facilities. The report says that the team also worked out Emmanuel Mudiay and that the Sixers were also "impressed" by the guard.
The prevailing wisdom among draft experts is that the Timberwolves and Lakers will take Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor, leaving the Sixers to make the next pick among the rest of the class. Towns and Okafor are considered to be the top two prospects and if somehow they get past the top two picks, the Knicks and Sixers will be ready. But what happens with trades could depend on the Sixers, as they reportedly are looking hard at Russell and at Porzingis and that could play into what the Knicks do.
The team has worked out Mudiay and the thought about the Sixers is that they are looking to take a guard over a big man. Even with Embiid potentially injured again, the team likes what it has in Nerlens Noel and they feel there is a big drop-off after Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns. Chad Ford at ESPN.com writes that the team could be a "serious threat" to take Porzingis at number three, as he has been looking very good in workouts leading up to the draft.
Sam Hinkie reportedly wants to draft Russell, but Ford writes that the team could consider taking Porzingis with Joel Embiid's future uncertain. Mudiay has come up as well and Ford writes that Hinkie may see Porzingis as the best player on the board. Fiord also floats the idea that the Sixers are trying to generate some interest in a trade, as the Orlando Magic could move up to get Porzingis. The Sixers have the number three pick ahead of the Knicks, while the Celtics, Nuggets and Thunder have all shown interest in making trades up.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News, there is a "legitimate" chance that Embiid will miss the season while dealing with setbacks in his recovery from foot surgery. Embiid had hoped to be back for summer league play and now there is a chance he could need another surgery. If that happens, the team may think long and hard about taking a big man with the number three pick in the draft. Embiid was considered a number one prospect, but his foot injury pushed him to the Sixers last year.