The 2017 NBA Draft didn't turn out the way the Philadelphia 76ers expected. With the third-overall pick in the draft, the Sixers were in a prime position to land another prospect, who could fit in nicely alongside their two young stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. At the time, Sixers' GM Bryan Colangelo believed Washington Freshman Markelle Fultz was the perfect piece to add to the puzzle.
But there was just one problem -- Colangelo believed Fultz was going to be selected before the Sixers could snag him. So what did the Sixers do? They closed a deal with the Boston Celtics to acquire the No. 1 pick in the draft. At that point, the Sixers didn't keep their plans under wraps -- they were taking Markelle Fultz.
In hindsight, it was a huge mistake. Not only did Fultz fail to make an impact during his short-lived stint with the Sixers, but the third-overall pick in the draft, Jayson Tatum, has become a budding superstar for the Boston Celtics. Over time, many believed the Celtics got lucky by landing Tatum with the third pick.
However, rumors have indicated that Boston had every intention of taking Tatum, whether they had the first pick or the third pick. Say that wasn't the case, though. And imagine if the Celtics never traded the top pick and went with the consensus selection that was Markelle Fultz. Would the Sixers have drafted Tatum then?
Apparently not. Every NBA team's draft board is different. And according to Yaron Weitzman, the author of 'Tanking to the Top,' Bryan Colangelo's draft board didn't favor Tatum nearly as much as Danny Ainge's. If the Sixers would've kept the third pick, and Fultz and Lonzo Ball came off the board first, the 76ers would've considered a few other prospects before Tatum, according to Weitzman.
"[Brett] Brown loved Jonathan Isaac," Weitzman wrote. "Colangelo liked him too, but he was also intrigued by Kansas wing Josh Jackson and Kentucky point guard De'Aaron Fox. He (Bryan Colangelo) had all three ranked ahead of Tatum." NBA front offices get picks wrong all the time -- but it doesn't change the fact that snagging Tatum over Fultz would've been a much better move for the Sixers. In fact, drafting any of those guys mentioned above likely would've been a better move for the Sixers at this point, but there's nothing they can do about it now.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_