Each year, Dannie and I hone in one a single player that we want the Sixers to select in the draft.
Last year we thought Evan Turner was the pick, by a hair, over Derrick Favors
In 2009, we championed Ty Lawson, though we didn’t think Jrue was falling to us and hardly included him in our initial analysis. But to be fair, we would have probably said Lawson anyway.
And in 2008, the first draft we had the blog for, we wanted JJ Hickson (and begged the Sixers to find a way to get into the 2nd round and get Mario Chalmers).
I’d say we did pretty well on the Hickson call, got the Lawson call wrong (but it’s not like he’s been bad), and time will tell on Turner over Favors.
So who do we like this year?
First it should be noted that I (Pete) am not a scout of any kind. I think I am decent at telling if someone can play in the NBA if I watch them more that a couple times, but I’m not expecting a call from Rod Thorn anytime soon (especially since he’s probably sleeping). I always think numbers are important, and I think that measurements are important as well.
This year, I’ve narrowed my focus down to four guys: 21-year-old Kenneth Faried, 21-year-old Markieff Morris, 20-year-old Tristan Thompson and 20-year-old Nikola Vucevic.
First I’ll quickly explain why those four…
- I’m focused solely on PF/C positions – even if Iguodala is traded – so no Jordan Hamilton, Jimmer, etc…
- I think that Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter, Bismack Biyombo, Jan Vesely, Marcus Morris and Jonas Valenciunas will definitely be picked before #16 – I would probably put any of them who dropped ahead of the four (though, except for Williams and maybe Kanter, I wouldn’t put any WAY ahead)
- I can’t really say much about Donatas Motiejunas, but I can say I tend to not care for rail-thin Euros who aren’t defensively minded. He’s got some nice positives on his DraftExpress profile – but his “weaknesses” make me cringe.
- I think that JaJuan Johnson and Trey Thompkins are worth mentioning, and would love to get either in the 2nd round
So that leaves us with 4 PF/C’s who might be there, and who I think are worth talking about.
First I want to look at their stats from last college season. These are per 36 minutes.
- Morris’ numbers impressed me once converted to 36 min because I didn’t know that he only played 24 mpg. He has a nice combination of shooting touch (42.4% from 3) and rebounding ability (12.2)
- Faried’s defensive numbers (15 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 2.0 spg) are excellent for a big man (or anyone for that matter)
- Only the blocks stand out for Thompson, who had a disappointing rebound rate and very poor 48.7% FT%
- For Vucevic, I would have though a guy of his size would have better rebound/block numbers as well as a better FG%. But his FT% shows he can shoot it very well for his size
- The first thing I’m looking at with these guys is “Max Vert Reach” which is essentially a combination of height, length and athleticism. Both Thompson and Faried are up there at nearly 12 feet. Two points of comparison from previous drafts are Brook Lopez and Wesley Johnson.
- Morris is tall – but has a so-so wingspan for his height and doesn’t appear to have the athleticism of Faried or Thompson.
- Vucevic….well….let’s just say that he doesn’t look like much of an athlete. When I saw his numbers and size, I immediately thought of what made him different from Spencer Hawes. Well, he’s bigger (1.25 inches taller, 4 inch longer reach), but his vert and agility are worse than Hawes, so I think it’s fair to say he’s not exactly an explosive player. His weak rebound and block numbers for a player his size back this up (Hawes had a horrible 7.9 rebounds per 36 in his one college season and a respectable 2.1 blocks).
What the Scouts say…
Thompson (Ford: 9, DE: 18)
Basic Scouting Report: Very athletic, raw offensive game, will need to develop in league, excellent motor, good handle for a big man.
DE Best Case: Tyrus Thomas (w/better intangibles)
DE Worst Case: Shorter Jordan Hill (couldn’t it have just been Tyrus Thomas?)
Morris (Ford: 22, DE: 17)
Basic Scouting Report: Athletic, solid finisher and shot-maker but lacks offensive “game”, good defender, turnover-prone
DE Best Case: Rasheed Wallace (w/o the crazy)
DE Worst Case: Stronger Ersan Ilyasova
Faried (Ford: 20, DE: 19)
Basic Scouting Report: Extraordinary rebounder, relentless motor, good athlete, raw offensive game
DE Best Case: Better Rebounding Udonis Haslem
DE Worst Case: Louis Amundson
Vucevic (Ford: 27, DE: 26)
Basic Scouting Report: Good shooter, OK handle for a big man, has finesse moves around the basket, competes on the defense end but has trouble with NBA caliber athletes.
DE Best Case: Mehmet Okur
DE Worst Case: David Andersen
Thompson - More of an upside pick it would appear. He has talent, but is no lock to reach it. Is a great athlete, but didn’t test out as a freak. I think the Tyrus Thomas comp. works, but he is smaller and not as athletic – however unlike Thomas, he has the drive to reach his full potential.
Morris – Seems to be a little bit of everything well, but nothing great. He can shoot it, he is an adequate defender, he plays hard, he has OK measurables. I think the Rasheed Wallace comp. is generous and see him more as a good, back-up PF for a good team.
Vucevic – I compared him to Spencer Hawes earlier, but I think he could be a better player than Hawes. He has similar defensive shortcomings but he is bigger than Hawes, a better rebounder and possibly a better shooter. Considering I don’t like Hawes, this isn’t exactly a compliment, but it’s not a total shot either.
Which brings me to the guy you already knew I was going to pick….
Faried – Unlike the other options, Faried has an elite skill (rebounding) that will absolutely translate at the next level. His size and athleticism (more on this later) mean that he has a good chance to carry over his solid defense to the next level as well. His offensive game is a work in progress and will probably never be great, but I don’t really see a 10+ ppg scorer in the other group above. In the series against Miami, the Sixers were hurt by the lack of a defensive inside presence as well as some poor work on the defensive boards (Miami averaged 13.4 offensive boards per game), both areas Faried would address. As an added bonus, Faried’s demeanor and passion would make him an instant fan favorite, and frankly, this organization needs to get fans in the seats any way possible.
Obviously one concern with Faried is the fact that he spent the vast majority of his career playing against non-BCS competition.
In games against Florida, Ohio State, Kentucky and Louisville in his Jr. and Sr. years he average 16 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 2.8 spg and 1.8 bpg.
For me, there was also concern that he didn’t truly have the athleticism and size to play effectively in the NBA and I wanted to take a look at his combine measurements compared to guys who he has been compared to.
Here is who I picked… Haslem and Amundson (DE comps), DeJuan Blair and Reggie Evans (similar college players) and Paul Millsap (only other college player in recent years to average 15 rebound/40, and 2 steals and blocks /40)
That is sorted by Max Vert Reach, where Faried holds a 2.5 inch advantage over everyone. Only Amundson has a vertical jump better than Faried and no one (who was tested) had better body fat %. Again, only Amundson did better in the agility and sprint.
So what’s the point of all this? Yes, Faried put up numbers against high level competition, and not only is his body suited for the NBA, it’s actually better suited than pretty much all of his comparisons.
And that’s really the bottom line. I think his numbers, measurements and scouting reports show that Faried can be a more athletic DeJuan Blair, a Reggie Evans with a far more complete game, a less-talented offensively Paul Millsap.
No, that’s not an all-star, but its the type of player every team could use and the type of player our team dramatically lacks right now.
If no one has a Jrue Holiday-like drop in this draft, I hope the Sixers make the right move and take Kenneth Faried. If not, I’d rank the other 3 as Morris, Thompson, Vucevic.
Next week before the draft, I’ll put together a list of 2nd rounders I’d like the Sixers to target. I actually think there are a lot of decent ones in this draft.