Draft time! It’s enough to get me off of Twitter to write more than 140 characters.
It’s an interesting draft for the Sixers. There is no big talent at the top, but the Sixers, and their new radio-silent analytics-loving GM, have 3 picks in the top 42. Sam Hinkie showed that he could find diamonds in the rough in Houston, and there are certainly some players that can be had from 30 on that could be the next Chandler Parsons or Danny Green.
If I’m the Sixers, here is how my Big Board would look up until the Sixers 3rd pick (#42). This takes into account size, athleticism, production, age and obviously scouting and projection.
1. Nerlens Noel, C – The theme with the first couple picks is upside, upside, upside. The Sixers should have one goal right now: get a top pick in 2014 draft, which could end up as good as the 2003 draft that netted LeBron, Melo, Wade and Bosh. In Nerlens Noel, not only do you get the player with arguably the biggest upside, but also someone with very little chance of helping you win games next season. Even without that ‘added bonus’ I likely have him #1.
2. Victor Oladipo, SG - I could be talked into a lot of different players here, but Oladipo is a player who has the physical tools, showed huge improvement in college, and still some upside left. He’s not Dwayne Wade, but his upside is someone who could make an all-star game or two, which big in this draft.
3. Ben McLemore, SG - Reports from workouts is that he hasn’t taken the draft process seriously. But at 19, he’s not exactly a finished product. One of the prettiest jumpers you’ll see.
4. Anthony Bennett, PF – Not the safest pick, but again one of the few with an all-star ceiling. He can score from the PF spot, something the Sixers haven’t really had since…Barkley?
5. Alex Len, C – Len hardly ever got the ball at Maryland, so it’s tough to go off much but scouting and projection here. He’s huge, and not a total stiff, in a draft like this – that gets you in the top-5.
6. CJ McCollum, PG/SG – A scorer! Would be nice to have one of those, huh? I’ve read plenty on him that lead me to believe he would might be top-5 in this draft if not for the injury/small school stuff.
7. Trey Burke, PG - Positionality should not matter to the Sixers in this draft. Burke’s size hurts him, but he’s the POY, 20 years old, and can score from the PG position.
This is the first drop-off for me. I would be thrilled to get anyone in my top-7. Burke and McCollum have outside chances to drop to 11.
8. Otto Porter, SF - I probably have him lower than anyone else. Strikes me as one of those guys who does a lot well, but nothing elite. That usually doesn’t play in the NBA. He’ll be good, but I don’t think he can be great.
9. Cody Zeller, PF – Doesn’t have great length for a guy his size, but he can shoot, run the floor, and tested out much more athletic than I would have expected. Every mock draft on the planet has us taking him.
10. Michael Carter-Williams, PG – Size and passing ability are intriguing.
11. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG – Shooting up boards apparently. A scoring guard that would likely complement Holiday well.
12. Steven Adams, C – A project, but has the size, skills and work ethic to become a solid player.
13. Sergey Karasev, SG/SF – Good size and can shoot it. Houston liked foreign guys, will Hinkie bring that with him?
Another drop-off here. The folks from 14 on are SO bunched together – will be very interesting to see where people go. Not quite in the range of guys we might get in the 2nd round though.
14. Shane Larkin, PG - If he wasn’t so small, he’d be higher. Crazy athlete and fantastic instincts. Would be a nice back-up to Jrue.
15. Shabazz Muhammad, SF - Can he really have fallen this far? As a HS junior, I read several articles about him being the ‘next big thing’ and he’s slowly dropped since then. Is it possible him falling so short of his initial hype has made him underrated?
16. Dennis Schroeder, PG - Young developmental PG with size and skill. Don’t like putting somewhere here who I’ve never really seen play, but oh well.
17. Kelly Olynyk, PF – Don’t know what to make of this guy. Tall, short arms. Did a couple workouts for teams with guards. Nice offensive game, probably a defensive liability. Zeller lite?
18. Lucas Noguiera, C – Raw. Think Sam Dalembert. In this draft, you’ll take that in the late teens. Also, ‘Bebe’ is great nickname.
19. Jamaal Franklin, SG – Saw many comps to Kawhi Leonard, who after Kenneth Faried, is my favorite non-Sixers in the league.
20. Isaiah Canaan, PG - Initially a 2nd round target for me, he’s risen on draft boards. Quick, quick guard who can shoot.
21. Mason Plumlee, PF - Like his brother, great size and athleticism. But, he’s 23, and a Plumlee.
22. Tim Hardaway Jr., SG – I probably like him more than most. Can score, and showed some explosive athleticism in the tourney.
23. Reggie Bullock, SG – Size, athleticism and a legit NBA skill (shooting). Another 2nd round hope that has risen.
24. Allen Crabbe, SG – Very similar to Bullock it seems, but slightly smaller.
This break represents people you can start looking for at #35
25. Mike Muscala, PF – Prototypical stretch-4. 6’11” and can really shoot it. Is relatively skilled and won’t be a banger down low, but I bet Hinkie likes him. This is the first guy I think could be there at #35.
26. Ricky Ledo, SG – 5-star HS player who never played a game in college. Goes higher without some off-the-court questions.
27. Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF - Possibly the rawest player in the draft. On potential, most have him ranked higher, but he’s too much projection for me to spend more than a 2nd rounder on.
28. Glen Rice Jr. – SF – D-League MVP has a good chance to at least be a rotational guy. Is there any upside?
29. C.J. Leslie, SF - Very possibly the best combo of size and athleticism in the draft outside of Noel. Didn’t live up to potential at NC State, but production not as bad as some would have you believe.
30. Gorgui Dieng, C – Old (23) and creaky knees. A superb shot-blocker though.
31. Tony Snell, SF – Good athlete, good shooting numbers, but didn’t really seem like he did much else in college.
32. Jeff Withey, C – Soooooo very white. Probably a one-trick pony (blocks) in the NBA. But that’s good enough to be a solid back-up center.
33. Erick Green, SG - Tweener who can score. 25 ppg in ACC last year.
34. Tony Mitchell, PF - Scouts rave about his ability. But how on earth did his team finish dead last in the Sun Belt?
35. Nate Wolters, SG – I’m sure someone could explain to me why he’s not Jimmer Fredette. And I guess getting Fredette in the 2nd round would probably be a good thing.
36. Andre Robertson, SF – Analytical models seem to love this guy, will be interesting if the Sixers snatch him at 42.
37. Pierre Jackson, PG – Another super-athletic, super-undersized PG. Problem with him is that he doesn’t appear to have the instincts of the others.
38. Ray McCallum, PG - Big-time recruit who spurned big programs to play for his dad at Detroit. Good athlete and fills up the box score.
39. Erik Murphy, PF – Another tall lanky stretch-4 who can shoot it.
40. Rudy Gobert, C – Paging Pavel Podkolzin. OK – he’s not THAT bad. But if you have a 9’7” standing reach and aren’t a unanimous top-5 pick, you very likely suck.
41. Jackie Carmichael, PF – Small-school guy with a big wingspan and some scoring skills.
42. Trevor Mbakwe, PF - He’s 24. But a 7’4” wingspan, 36.5” vert and some untapped potential will get him drafted.
This draft will be our first taste of what we start to expect from the new regime. Given the lack of superstars, and bunched talent in the middle, it’s hard for me to envision a draft I would hate right off the bat.
The real excitement might come if they start trading current players. Not a single player on the roster, including Jrue, should be off the table. This is a team that needs to start from scratch. This draft is the first step, but hopefully the 2014 draft will be where the future is really shaped.