Sixers: ‘Team in transition’ preps for NBA draft

Pittsburgh v Wichita State
Pittsburgh’s Steven Adams might be the big man the Sixers need — and he should be there at pick No. 11.

The Sixers still don’t have a coach. There have been reports that CEO Adam Aron is being ousted from that position.

Andrew Bynum is a free agent and may never play a single second in a Sixers uniform.

Yet life goes on.

There are so many decisions to be made by new GM Sam Hinkie. Especially Thursday night in the NBA draft.

The Sixers pick No. 11 overall and also hold a pair of second-round picks, Nos. 35 and 42. On draft night, trades can be executed. Rosters can be reshaped.

What will the Sixers do? Good question. They could retain their No. 11 pick and add a nice piece to a roster that definitely needs tweaking. They could trade the pick. They could try and move up or move down.

That’s what makes the draft fun. Anything can happen.

“The Sixers have a team in transition for sure,” said one NBA scout, who asked to remain anonymous. “They had a setback with the Bynum situation and Doug [Collins] stepping down. They need many things right now, starting with a big man. I think they should go with the best possible player at No. 11, if they stay there and don’t make a trade.”

The Sixers can also increase their depth in the second round. There are always players left for one reason or another.

“I think the teams that draft well in the second round are the ones with the depth in the league,” said another scout, who asked to remain anonymous. “There have been some very, very good players taken in the second round through the years. The Sixers will have options. You need some luck, but you can find diamonds in the rough, so to speak.”

 

Exploring the draft board

Here are seven possibilities at No. 11 (of course, there are many, many other players available):

1. Cody Zeller, Indiana, C: Proven low-post scorer and rebounder; Would be solid choice.
2. Steven Adams, Pittsburgh, C: Raw talent with loads of potential.
3. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, G: Clutch player when the spotlight is on. Led Orange to the Final Four.
4. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, G: Four-year player and terrific shooter. Can create his own shot.
5. Mason Plumlee, Duke, F/C: Can rebound with anyone. Would help on the boards for sure.
6. Shane Larkin, Miami, G: Solid all-around player who is only going to get better.
7. Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, C: Improved as much as any player in the country.

 

Looking at draft history

It’s always a crap shoot in the NBA draft, yet the Sixers haven’t had much luck in recent years. Remember, Harkless and Vucevic left as part of the Andrew Bynum deal. Here’s a look at the rest:

2012: Maurice Harkless (15), Justin Hamilton (45), Tornike Shengelia (54)
2011: Nikola Vucevic (16), Lavoy Allen (50)
2010: Evan Turner (2)
2009: Jrue Holiday (17)
2008: Marreese Speights (16)

 

Pick No. 11 isn’t a bad place to be, as evidenced by these recent picks by other teams:

2012: Meyers Leonard, Illinois
2011: Klay Thompson, Washington State
2010: Cole Aldrich, Kansas
2009: Terrence Williams, Louisville
2008: Jerryd Bayless, Arizona

 

Speaking of second-round ‘diamonds in the rough’ — here are a few with legit star power:
1. Jeff Hornacek: The Suns selected the ultra-talented guard from Iowa State with the 46th pick in the 1986 draft. Well done. He eventually wound up playing for the Sixers later in his career.
2. Manu Ginobili : The Spurs drafted him with the 57th pick in 1999. Unbelievable, huh?
3. Mark Price: Dallas made a smart pick in 1986, but traded him to Cleveland. Still, Price proved he was more than worthy of being taken higher.
4. Cedric Ceballos: In 1990, the Suns found another gem who went on to become an All-Star in 1995. Not bad for a player taken 48th overall.
5. Dennis Rodman: Detroit took a chance and won with this pick in 1986. Arguably the best rebounder of all-time.


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