If the Lakers end up selecting Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell with the second overall pick of the 2015 Draft, it would be disappointing for the Sixers organization, but it would not be the end of the world.
Russell really seems as though he would be a perfect fit in Philly. His size, speed, and athleticism could plug in perfectly to the team's vacant point guard of the future position, and his ability to space the floor with his shot would make him an ideal complement to post players like Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel. Thus, the hype about Russell potentially landing in Philly is understandable, but if he did happen to be off of the board by the time the Sixers select third overall, the team would have other options.
|Image via nbadraft.space|
Option 1: The most obvious option in this scenario would be to take the best available player. If Russell goes in the top two, that means that either KAT or Okafor will still be on the board. The Sixers could use their pick on whichever one remains, in turn completely stocking the front court. If this were to occur, the team would have a couple options: They could try to figure out a rotation where all three post players (Embiid, Noel, #3) co-exist and they try to develop one of the league's deepest front courts, or they could determine which of the players they see fitting with the franchise, and then flipping the other player for the best available offer. You'd have to imagine that Noel, Embiid, or KAT/Okafor would fetch pretty well on the open market. If Russell is gone, that is an option they can consider.
Option 2: The Sixers could also stick with the point guard position if Russell is gone, and select the draft's mystery man Emanuel Mudiay. Hinkie was reported the only GM that saw Mudiay play in person overseas last season, so he is certainly familiar with him. Mudiay' upside is high, although question marks remain. If the team really wants to land a potentially high-caliber point guard in this draft, Muiday could be their guy if Rusaell is gone.
Option 3: The next option the team has is to get in touch with Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and see how much they would be willing to give up in order to move up a spot to the third overall selection spot. The Knicks were the only team that dropped in the draft lottery, and after finishing the season with the league's worst record, the fourth overall pick was a disappointment. They want another franchise cornerstone in this draft to pare with Carmelo, namely one of the top two big guys. The Knicks don't have many assets to give, but Sam could certainly see what they would be willing to give up in order to move up a spot and secure themselves a top three pick. The Sixers would then have the fourth pick, and whatever else they received from the Knicks, and they could do with it as they see fit.
Option 4: The last, and likely least probable, option the team has if Russell is gone in the top two, is drafting for fit. With two lottery picks spent on two big men over the past two years, the team could decide that the front court is full and look past whichever big guy remained between KAT and Okafor, and instead select a perimeter player. Hezonja, Porzingis, Justice Winslow; all perimeter players that could potentially be nice fits with the Sixers, and next to Embiid/Noel. The team will certainly need to add consistent perimeter players at some point. At this early stage of the rebuild however, drafting for fit isn't necessarily the best option, as selecting the best available is a more sound strategy.
In all likelihood, the Lakers will select a big guy with the second overall pick in the draft, as the Lakers are an organization that has had great success building teams through big men (Wilt, KAJ, Shaq, Gasol). Plus, as long as Kobe is a Laker, he is going to have the ball in his hands a lot, which naturally pairs well with a complementary big man. With Julius Randle already in tow, it seems that the Lakers could really fortify their front court of the future with their second overall selection. If they did decide to go with Russell, it may throw a slight wrench in the Sixers' plans, but they would still have several other options.