Heading into last night’s NBA Draft Lottery, the primary concern among Sixers Nation was the team’s potentially losing their “slotted” position in the top three of the draft. All of the #OneSixEleven stuff was fun, but more the talk of dreams than that of plans.
So here we are. The Sixers select third, and that’s a win. Who they select will be based on a host of factors, one of the primary of those being current roster construction (and hence need). Let’s take a look at where the team stands and see if we can surmise where Sam Hinkie and his staff could be looking.
Ish Smith - A late season pickup, Smith was arguably one of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference this spring. Now I know that the sample size is small, and many of the teams the Sixers were playing were tanking, but Smith looks to be a player. I can see him serving as the backup point guard on a championship caliber team.
Tony Wroten - Tony Wroten wears amazing shoes and shoots the ball roughly forty five times a game, so he’s obviously one of my favorite players. More of a combo guard, he fills the role of instant offense-- which tends to be better off the bench. Make no mistake though, Wrotes is a banger.
Robert Covington - Bobby Covs (nickname credit: Craney) was easily one of the best rookie threes in the NBA, showcasing a game with few weaknesses. It’s not often you find someone who is 6’9” that can handle the rock and shoot it well from three. Covington puts me in mind of Robert Horry, who won seven NBA titles.
Nerlens Noel - Noel clearly should have been the NBA Rookie of the Year, and disrupted opposing offenses in every way imaginable while developing his offensive game at an alarming rate. He is going to be amazing, and is the power forward of the future. Love NN.
Furkan Aldemir - Imagine a player with the basketball IQ and athleticism of Vlade Divac, the tough refuse-to-lose tenacity of Bill Laimbeer, and the silky baseline extended game of late-career Patrick Ewing. Now add razor blade elbows to that person and make him set 145 screens per game and all of sudden you’re starting to sketch an accurate portrait of the amazing potential that is the whirling Turkish dervish knows as The Furkan.
Joel Embiid - When people speak of Joel Embiid they use names like Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson in drawing comparisons. It’s likely he’ll be a perennial All-Star and combine with NerNo to form the best frontcourt in the NBA for the next decade.
Jakarr Sampson - Already a member of the NBA’s coveted all-hair team, Jakarr demonstrated this season that he also deserves to be in the discussion of the NBA’s most promising young bench players. Ceiling is incredibly high.
Jerami Grant - Grant displayed freakish athleticism as a rookie, enough so that the team was willing to part ways with promising fellow-rookie KJ McDaniels. With NBA bloodlines and through-the-roof athletic ability, Grant has the ability to spell folks at a variety of positions with a pedigree that opponents will be hard pressed to match.
Isaiah Canaan - A trade deadline pickup, Canaan was arguably one of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference this spring. Now I know that the sample size is small, and many of the teams the Sixers were playing were tanking, but Canaan looks to be a player. I can see him serving as the backup point guard on a championship caliber team.
Dario Saric - My sources tell me Saric would have been selected much higher in the lottery last year had he not signed a professional contract in Turkey, where he basically dominated this past season. It’s not hard to imagine Saric coming to the States after next season and hitting the ground running as a three/four with a skill set from the two through five with one ball instincts.
Others: Jordan McRae (potential stud), Hollis Thompson (stud shooter), Henry Sims (legit quality depth big), Vasilije Micic (destroying Europe likely NBA’er)
So where does this lead? Good guards that are better served coming off the bench, and a potentially historic front court? How does it feel? Hmmmmmmm….
(That's D'Angelo. Because I want them to draft D'Angelo Russell. I hate explaining jokes.)