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A Question About the Future of the Philadelphia 76ers

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Is Seattle-native Tony Wroten a key part of whatever future Sam Hinkie has planned for the 76ers?

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It's been five days since a record-high 37 players were traded on the day of the NBA's trade deadline, but many fans are still trying to wrap their head around what exactly happened, who went where and why, and if any of the moves really mean anything.

One of the more puzzling moves was seeing Philadelphia 76ers' General Manager Sam Hinkie pawn-off rookie K.J. McDaniels to his buddy Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets for Isaiah Canaan and a second round pick.

Like, how in the hell did the Houston Rockets - a team that is poised to contend for the Western Conference title - pull off a deal to get K.J. freakin' McDaniels?

It's simple really: McDaniels just isn't a part of the future 76ers that Hinkie envisions.

But that statement begs a bigger question: when do the 76ers stop turning over assets and start building something that resembles a competitive NBA team?

Apparently that step in the process is still a few years away, because on Thursday, not only did Hinkie give up McDaniels, but he also swapped second-year point guard Michael Carter-Williams for a first round pick.

Among the players that were on the 76ers' roster, Carter-Williams and McDaniels were two of some players that resembled the closest thing to building blocks for a future.

As a rookie shooting guard, McDaniels was averaging around 13 points, five rebounds and two blocks per-36-minutes as a 76er and will certainly boost the bench of the Rockets as wing that can defend, dunk and block heading into the playoffs. He's bound to own Twitter for a night in May with a highlight.

Carter-Williams was also enjoying a decent statistical season in year two - putting up around 15 points, seven assists, six rebounds and a steal per-game. The Milwuakee Bucks like him enough to give up All-Star snub Brandon Knight in a three-team trade.

With the 76ers giving up Carter-Williams and McDaniels for more assets - aka draft picks and young players - is anyone really safe on that team? Are there any players who are absolutely untouchable? Are there any players on the current roster that are a part of their future plans?

One would think that two players that fall into that category are Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid - two big men taken in the top five of the 2013 and 2014 drafts - but even they are available for the right price.

What about Tony Wroten?

Sure, on trade-deadline day, GM's were uninterested because Wroten is recovering from a partially torn ACL, but is it possible that Hinkie and head coach Brett Brown want to keep Wroten around when the building starts? Or at least, is their asking price higher than it was for Carter-Williams and McDaniels?

"He has such a gift at getting to the rim and a pit-bull mentality," Sixers coach Brett Brown told Grantland. "He's 6-6, 215 pounds, and can go dunk on people. Imagine the package you could have if you improved his perimeter game. We coach him hard, we talk to him clearly. There's not many punches held."

Since arriving in Philadelphia two summers ago - as an asset, in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies - he has only gotten better and just in every statistical category (which you can see below), but the Seattle-native has become more fearless, and Philadelphia has created an environment for him where it's ok to fail, as long as the players are learning from it and getting better from it.

Season

Age

Tm

G

GS

MP

FG

FGA

FG%

3P

3PA

3P%

FT

FTA

FT%

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

2012-13

19

MEM

35

0

7.8

0.9

2.5

.384

0.1

0.5

.250

0.6

0.8

.724

0.4

0.4

0.8

1.2

0.2

0.1

0.8

1.0

2.6

2013-14

20

PHI

72

16

24.5

4.8

11.2

.427

0.6

2.6

.213

2.9

4.5

.641

1.0

2.2

3.2

3.0

1.1

0.2

2.8

2.1

13.0

2014-15

21

PHI

30

15

29.8

5.8

14.5

.403

1.2

4.7

.261

4.0

6.0

.667

0.7

2.1

2.9

5.2

1.6

0.3

3.8

2.4

16.9

In a league that is point-guard driven right now, letting go of Wroten and drafting a point guard in the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft means that 76ers once again would be handing the reigns of an offense off to a rookie and they would be in charge of feeding a young front-court of Noel and Embiid - essentially, whoever is running the point for the 76ers next season will have a hand in helping develop both of these players.

With the increase in playing time for Wroten and with his game coming along with it, perhaps Hinkie and Brown both believe that he is the right man to run the offense and run pick-and-rolls with a young set of bigs next season and after.

Everything isn't sunshine and rainbows with Wroten though, he - like this Philadelphia team as a whole - has flaws. He's recovering from an ACL tear, he's still trying to figure out how to be less one-dimensional - he is severely left handed - and he needs to improve on his shooting.

But hey, he can finish at the rim and he's a decent passer and a pretty good defender. That's more than most NBA guards can say.

Wroten - also like this Philadelphia team - is still developing. One day in the future, the team might be good and Wroten might be leading them. Or, maybe the team will be good and Wroten will be wearing a different jersey because Hinkie traded him for the rights to an overseas player or a future second round pick that isn't available until 2029.

One of the reason's many think that Hinkie traded McDaniels is because he had no interest in matching a restricted free agent offer that the athletic wing might warrant this summer.

Wroten on the other hand had his team option with the 76ers picked up on Oct. 30 of 2014.

That option doesn't come with a no-trade clause though, so it's still unclear what Wroten's future with the 76ers is.

He's either a part of their future or a piece for a future trade - but in this league today, isn't everybody?