It’s one week until the NBA holds the 2013 Draft and the Philadelphia 76ers have a new GM, Sam Hinkie, but they don’t have a head coach. That process is developing slowly as the analytical Hinkie is somewhere crunching numbers on who he believes will best be suited for a mostly young and misguided team. (I say misguided, because Doug Collins was inept at teaching and coaching young players leaving players like Evan Turner and Arnett Moultrie to ultimately waste a lot of time under his time here.) Regardless of who the 76ers choose as their next head coach, they will take over a team with some good, quality, young talent like Jrue Holiday, Turner, Moultrie, Thaddeus Young, and Spencer Hawes. What the 76ers need is a quality pick in this years draft to bring along with aforementioned players.
Now, I’ve read a lot of the “experts” picks and mock drafts and they’re all a sham. Most of these guys just take a look at the college player rankings, plug them in on the teams in the order they select and then write a little spot on how that player will fit in with the team. There’s no analysis, no thinking, just churning out mock drafts and predictions. For the 76ers, they need something specific and most of the “experts” are overlooking that. The 76ers need a center, a big man, a guy that’s going to play in the paint and prevent other teams from having their way with them on the low block.
Forget the shooting guards like Shabazz Muhammad from UCLA or C.J. McCollum from Lehigh, because the 76ers don’t need them. Muhammad was the top high school player, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be a top NBA player. He’s a 6’6” shooting guard who would look just like the other 4 we have on the roster. McCollum is the other one that people have the 76res taking for a couple of reasons. First, he can flat out shoot and that’s something the 76ers didn’t do well at all last year, but he played against lower competition while at Lehigh. Second, he’s from Lehigh and people like to associate the local prospect with the closest home team. It’s a joke. There’s nothing that says mistake more than drafting a player because he’s from a local school. McCollum is a good shooter against poor competition, but he’s also a 6’3” shooting guard who’s going to be defended by guys much bigger than he is. This is a very important draft for the 76ers and Hinkie so they can’t afford to waste a pick on a shooting guard here, as they already have Evan Turner whom they drafted #2 overall.
It should be a simple idea for the 76ers at the draft. Go Big!!! There’s a consensus that Nerlens Noel from Kentucky is going to be the #1 overall pick and defensively he’s ready to play, but his offense is limited. The 76ers won’t be anywhere near Noel, nor should they be. Alex Len from Maryland is the next top rated big man but some people question whether he’ll be able to play down low. We already have a 7-footer that likes to float around the outside in Spencer Hawes. The only reason that I mention these two is that some folks have said the 76ers could try to trade up and I’m not one of them. At the 11th pick in the draft, they’re going to get quality without pressure on the big man they choose.
The Sixers got bullied around this past year in the paint and after watching what Roy Hibbert did to the Heat in this years playoffs, teams are going realizing that it helps to not play “small ball” all the time, but that a quality big man can help the overall play of a team.
The first player the 76ers could look at is Cody Zeller from Indiana. The issue with Zeller is that he’s a “soft” player and not much for banging down low against bigger guys, so I’m guessing that the 76ers would pass on him, even though he’s not really expected to be there when they pick.
Next you have Kelly Olynyk from Gonzaga. He’s an above average guy coming out of college, but again his level of competition isn’t the greatest and he’s got questions about whether he can survive down in the paint against players like Hibbert. He’s strong and talented, but is he a center? Does he step out as a power forward? What is his position in the league? More than likely the team that drafts him will put him at the power forward spot and let him stay away from the basket. The 76ers should pass.
Let’s get to a big man from a big school, Mason Plumlee from Duke. He’s developed quite well at Duke, but most people think that he doesn’t have the back to the basket game that a center requires in the NBA. The problem is he wasn’t really asked to do that at Duke. He’s played under one of the greatest coaches of all time and in a high stress environment that’s expected to not only compete but win national titles each year. To be able to play at the level he did for four years shows that he’s got what it takes to play at the NBA level. He’s also a smart enough player that he’ll be able to develop his game even more based on what’s asked of him. The 76ers would be happy with Plumlee.
While the other players are good, I’m going with Steven Adams from Pittsburgh. He’s arguably the biggest at 7’0” and 255 lbs, but there’s something else about Adams. He’s a tough and aggressive player in the paint and that’s something the 76ers lack dearly. He’s a guy that won’t be shoved around by opposing center and defensively he’s going to be able to step in and play right away. He’s played at Pitt and that’s not a place known for their high level of competition, but he’s worked hard at improving his game and it shows. The kid can run the floor better than most centers in the league already, he’s got great size and strength and he’s only going to get bigger as a pro. He’s already a great rebounder and shot blocker and that’s all the team would need from him to start, but he’s spent the past season working on his shooting game. As a center, everyone wants these kids to be able to shoot jump shots and that’s ridiculous. You need a center that can put the ball in the hoop from close range. Someone that’s getting rebounds, stuffing it back in or using a short jump hook. Adams, if drafted by the 76ers, would step in and fill the middle for this team right away. Adams is the 76ers pick.
With Steven Adams on board, the 76ers would be able to put a lineup on the floor where Jrue Holiday could play the point and do the things he did so well at the beginning of the year before Collins made him try to do everything. Evan Turner could return to just scoring instead of worrying about playing small forward and getting rebounds, another misuse from Collins. Thaddeus Young would play the small forward spot and do very well with either Moultrie or Hawes at the power forward position. The new coach would have a quality defensive center that he won’t have to worry about other teams abusing as they did all of last year.
My only hope is that all of Sam Hinkie’s analysis adds up the way that mine has.Tags: 76ers, Alex Len, Arnett Moultrie, C.J. McCollum, Cody Zeller, Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, Kelly Olynyk, Mason Plumlee, NBA, NBA Draft, Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia, Sam Hinkie, Shabazz Muhammad, Sixers, Spencer Hawes, Steven Adams