In desperate need of some positive feelings after the Sixers' debacle tonight, I decided to follow-up on a comment left by Mix Master Mu, a Sixers fan stranded in Vermont. Mix asked me to breakdown the upcoming draft for the Sixers, something I've been meaning to do for a while now.
If the season ended today, the Sixers would have the fifth worst record, hence, the fifth best shot at getting the number one pick in the draft via the lottery. I went over to the handy-dandy "Lottery Machine" at ESPN.com, clicked "PLAY LOTTERY" about 200 times, and finally the Sixers wound up with the number one pick in this fantasy/mock/co**-tease draft lottery. The machine said the Sixers would pick Greg Oden, and I agree with the pick.
I've gone back and forth in the Oden vs. Durant debate all year long, and after watching both play extensively, I'm going with Oden for a couple of reasons. 1. He's 7'1", moves like a small forward, blocks shots like it's nobody's business, and doesn't lose big games. 2. Durant likes to shoot. No, he loves to shoot. He's never seen a shot he doesn't like. I watched him play three games this past weekend and the number of horrible shots he took had to be somewhere near 20. I've seen a player like that for the past 10 years, and I don't think he's the type of guy that Philly needs at this point. If Oden came to the Sixers, and they made no other moves over the off season, they'd be the best defensive team in the Atlantic next year, maybe in the entire Eastern conference. Miller, Carney, Iguodala, Dalembert, Oden...that lineup will get you into the playoffs, I don't care if Terry Stotts is coaching them.
OK, enough with the fantasy. If the season ended today, the Sixers would most-likely wind up with a pick between #5 and #7. Using the same lottery machine, the names popping up are: Al Horford and Brandan Wright. Both guys are power forwards, and both guys would be good picks. Personally, I'd prefer Horford because he's better on the glass, but Wright could still grow into his body.
Which brings me to what the Sixers need to do with this draft. There are two positions they need to address, shooting guard/small forward and power forward. If they can address one of those two positions with their three picks, they're going to have a good shot at making the playoffs next year, if they address both, they're a lock. But that's a long shot. Assuming they can land Horford or Wright with their lottery pick, here are some guys who could potentially fall to them for their second and third first-round picks:
Acie Law: Technically a point guard, but could play the two for the Sixers. Has shown late-game intestinal fortitude in leading the Aggies to the NCAA's this year. Gritty player who would probably slide right into the Sixers starting lineup.
Marcus Williams: A 6'7" swingman/shooting guard from Arizona (sound familiar?) who can play and defend the one, two or three spots on the floor. I like Arizona guys, they come into the league knowing how to play the game, and his size/ball handling skills would give the Sixers a potent 2/3 combo with Iguodala.
Rodney Stuckey: 6'4" combo guard. He's dominating the Big Sky, which doesn't mean much, but ESPN Insider lists him as a draft sleeper and compares him to Dwyane Wade among others. Strong, explosive guard who gets to the line 8 times per game.
Jeff Green: 6'8" versatile forward. Can play the 3 or the 4, but will probably be gone by the time the pick from Denver comes up. Solid, versatile defender. Good shot blocker. Carrying Georgetown right now.
Herbert Hill: 6'10" power forward who's put up gaudy numbers for Providence this season. Owns the glass, good shot blocker, decent mid-range jumper, plus, who wouldn't want a guy named Herbert on their team.
There you have it Mix, in a perfect world it would be Greg Oden, Jeff Green and maybe Rodney Stuckey, more realistically Al Horford, Marcus Williams and Herbert Hill.