Philadelphia 76ers
USA Today

76ers Won’t Let Towns, Okafor Or Russell Fall Below No. 3 Pick In NBA Draft

USA Today

USA Today

The speculation continues to run rampant with the 2015 NBA Draft less than two weeks away. The consensus seems to be that the first two picks of the draft will more than likely be Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky) and Jahlil Okafor (Duke) in that order. The Minnesota Timberwolves will go with Towns and the Los Angeles Lakers will bring Okafor. The real mystery starts with the Philadelphia 76ers who own the third overall pick.

It’s seems highly unlikely that Towns or Okafor would fall beyond the Timberwolves and Lakers, but if they do, there’s no way the 76ers won’t take the player available with the third overall pick. Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell is also player that won’t fall further than third overall, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to a league source, the Sixers, who pick third, still have a firm Big 3 of Karl-Anthony Towns, Russell and Okafor and won’t let any of the trio slip to Phil Jackson. Despite their young, marquee depth up front, the Sixers would take Okafor even if it’s to collect an asset to trade later.

Speculation that Russell is trying to avoid being picked by the moribund Sixers escalated when he canceled workouts with them this weekend. There also were rumblings that perhaps the Lakers, after working Russell out, had given the Ohio State combo guard a guarantee at No. 2. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported he was just “real sick’’ and a Sixers workout could be rescheduled. Russell has told reporters he also has agreed to work out for the Knicks.

With the Sixers suffering a major blow with the injury setback to last year’s third overall pick in Joel Embiid, the plot thickens in terms of the team’s direction. Drafting Russell seems to be the right way to go for Philadelphia with Nerlens Noel coming into his own last season for the 76ers. Noel sat out the entire 2013-14 NBA season following being drafted by the team with the sixth overall pick.

Philadelphia has needs all over the basketball floor and can’t really go wrong with whichever player lands in their lap, but with this report, it seems clear that it will be Russell unless Towns or Okafor somehow fall on June 25.

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