With the NBA draft just a couple of weeks away, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Sixers have only a one-in-three chance of being rewarded for tanking the past season. If they end up with Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid, they lose. The only real prize at the top of the draft is Jabari Parker.
Now, please understand that you are reading the words of someone who knows little about college basketball, and even less about the process of projecting the success of young NBA players. What I do know is how to employ basic logic, and I see trouble ahead. Big trouble.
At the moment, Embiid is expected to go first to Cleveland, and that’s good news for the Sixers because the talented Kansas center has disaster scrawled right across his seven-foot frame. Embiid didn’t finish his freshman year because of a stress fracture in his lower back, making him a huge risk. Back issues and big men are a deadly mix.
Wiggins, the biggest talent in the draft, is lacking something essential in a marquee player – desire. When Kansas coach Bill Self openly questions the motivation of an elite athlete like Wiggins, people should listen. Now, it’s possible Wiggins will mature, but the odds are against it. He will probably break Milwaukee’s heart if the Bucks select him No. 2.
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Parker is not as sexy a choice as the two Kansas underachievers, but he is the right one. The Duke superstar has already developed his skills, and they are formidable. He’s fast, smooth, versatile and smart. If the Sixers end up with Parker, we should all celebrate. And if they don’t, we should prepare for disappointment with either of the other two prospects – because that’s exactly what we’re going to get.