There aren’t that many options in the top 4 of the 2015 NBA draft this season. The Philadelphia 76ers, with the third overall pick, are going to go with the best player from who remains, which everyone seems to know by now what’s going to happen. It’ll be D’Angelo Russell out of Ohio State.
Why Russell? The first two picks are going to be Karl-Anthony Towns and then Jahlil Okafor. It’s hard to see anything but an injury changing that. After them come Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay, two score-first point guards. Who is the better player? Mudiay is probably more of a risk because he played in China and not college basketball, but is there really much of a difference?
Russell had enough after one impressive season with the Buckeyes. Averaging 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5 assists while shooting a very impressive 41.1% from beyond the arc, earning him the Jerry West award, the Big Ten’s Freshman of the year and being named to the All-Big Ten first team and a consensus All-American. Not bad for one year of work.
The two aren’t similar in style. Russell is a much better shooter and tends the spread the love (the ball) more. Mudiay slashes and attacks the basket a lot more aggressively and is probably the better defender. However, what the 76ers need is someone who is a point guard who can both stretch the defense and feed the ball to guys like Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid. Mudiay, who reminds us of Kemba Walker in his style, might be a better fit with the Knicks, one pick down.
The 76ers can’t keep talk about rebuilding and building towards the future. The ownership and fan base can tolerate tanking, but only to a certain level. There are no immediate-changing franchise players in this draft, but considering their pick number, getting Russell offers the best immediate improvement and upgrade, which is pretty much what this pick should be about, instead of what Sam Hinkie usually does which is make a selection that might pay off in two or three years.