The odds of the Sixers standing pat at #12 in the upcoming draft can’t be calculated. Billy King has a ton of chips to play, and he usually likes to play them. For argument’s sake, let’s say he stays at #12.
Most mock drafts have the Sixers picking one of two players: Jeff Green or Al Thornton. It depends on who you ask, as to who the better player is. Chad Ford has Green ranked higher for ESPN.com. DraftExpress has Thornton higher.
Personally, I like Green, but it’s a close call. Let’s take a look at their statistics, vitals and talk a little bit about what the Sixers would look like with each one on their roster.
Combine Results (From Chad Ford’s blog)
- Height (w/o shoes): 6’5” 3/4
- Height (w/ shoes): 6’7”
- Weight: 221 (13 pounds heavier than he was listed at in college)
- Wingspan: 7’1”
- Standing Reach: 8’2”
- No Step Vertical Leap: 35”
- Max Vertical Leap: 41.5”
- Bench Press (reps at 185 lbs): 9 reps
- Lane Agility: 11.96 seconds
- 3/4 Court Sprint: 3.16 seconds
Combine Results (From Chad Ford’s blog)
- Height (w/o shoes): 6’7” 3/4
- Height (w/ shoes): 6’9” 1/2
- Weight: 228 lbs
- Wingspan: 7’1” 1/4
- Standing Reach: 8’7”
- No Step Vertical Leap: 33.5”
- Max Vertical Leap: 38”
- Bench Press (reps at 185 lbs): 17 reps
- Lane Agility: 12.0 seconds
- 3/4 Court Sprint: 3.34 seconds
On the Sixers:
Thornton and Green, while similar in a lot of ways, are different in a few key facets. Thornton gets the edge on his outside game. He’s a better jump shooter, and he has 3pt range to his shot. He’s got the potential to stretch defenses. He’s faster, and he’s a better jumper. With him on the team, the Sixers would be an even more effective fastbreak team. Thornton and Iguodala would prove to be a versatile, productive wing duo. They’d be interchangeable at the two and three.
Thornton’s rebounding numbers in college were exceptional for his size, I’m not sure those numbers will translate. He needs to get stronger. His leaping ability and huge wingspan would help here, but he’s too small to defend a legitimate 4. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Sixers played their best ball last season when they stayed big (any combination of Dalembert/Hunter/Smith on the floor). The frontcourt is where the Sixers need the most help.
Obviously, neither of these guys is a true power forward, but Green could defend one. He’s nearly 6’10” (w/ shoes on), he’s bigger and he’s much stronger. On the offensive end, Green probably isn’t a guy who you can lean on for long stretches of time, he’s more of a guy who’s going to fit into your offense, and make the guys around him better. Sound familiar? For my money, Green’s game would compliment Iguodala’s perfectly. With Miller at the point, Iguodala at the 2, Green at the 3 and Hunter and Dalembert down low, this is a potent defensive lineup.
On offense, they’d have three excellent ball-handlers on the floor, and finishers at four positions. The only drawback to adding Green is that he hasn’t proven he can hit the spot-up jumper. If he’s got a legit mid-range game, he’s a no-brainer. He can play with his back to the basket, and bringing him in wouldn’t force Iguodala to take a backseat on offense. It would still be Andre’s team, Green would just make everyone better.
Either one of these guys puts the Sixers in the playoffs next year. Either one would start immediately, relegating Willie Green to the bench, which is obviously a good thing. With Green, I think this team picks up right where it left off, playing team basketball, moving the ball, high assist/field goal ratios, and evenly distributed scoring. Thornton doesn’t fit the mold quite as well, but on offense he could bring a new dimension to the starting lineup. Thornton’s outside game and slashing ability could take pressure of Iguodala, spread the floor, and open up the backdoor for easy baskets for the big men.
Overall, defense wins championships, and I think Green brings a toughness and versatility to the defense that moves this team further ahead in the long run.