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9/9: Cole Aldrich

The second player up in the 9 players, 9 days series is Kansas center, Cole Aldrich. Again, Aldrich is here because I believe he's likely on the Sixers radar, not because I want the Sixers to take him. More after the jump.

Age: 22 on Halloween
Height: 6'11"
Weight: 250lbs (DraftExpress), 245 lbs (ESPN)

Aldrich is probably fairly close right now to what he's going to become in the long run. In my opinion, he's nothing more than a serviceable big man off the bench. He'll give you some rebounding, he'll block some shots, he's probably more agile than he's given credit for, but he's not a game-changer in any way. If the Sixers draft him, they may be motivated to find a taker for Sam Dalembert to move Aldrich into the starting lineup right away. If they don't trade the Sensation, I'd expect Aldrich to steal minutes from Sammy throughout the season, and provide more rebounding and defense than the second line bigs did last season (again, comparing him to Smith and Speights here). I do believe drafting Aldrich would make the Sixes a better team on the floor this upcoming season, he'd find a role and contribute right from opening night.

That all sounds great, and if the Sixers were nearly a complete team I'd say getting a center who can step right in and contribute off the bench would be a good thing. The problem is we're talking about a top-ten pick here. We're talking about a team in desperate need of more than a solid rotational guy and while Aldrich may be decent at a lot of things, I don't think he's great at anything and I don't see the potential for greatness either. He's a safe pick at a time when I don't think the Sixers can afford to be safe.

Worst-case, being a little bit more athletic than you'd think doesn't exactly mean he's athletic enough to man the five in the NBA. He turns into a stationary shot blocker who gets exposed on the blocks and doesn't do a whole lot to keep his man off the boards. Conditioning is an issue and while his size alone is enough to keep him in the league, he turns into a journeyman big, playing 15-20 somewhat effective minutes for a handful of teams over a ten-year career.

I have him 8th on my depth chart here, but I really can't see a scenario unfolding where I'd pick him if I was calling the shots. I don't see him as a difference-maker in the NBA, and there will be several guys who at least have a shot at that type of career who will remain on the board. If the Sixers stay at the #6 spot in the draft and wind up taking Aldrich, I'll be pretty upset.