I talked a bit a few weeks back about what I look for in particular players when the draft rolls around (an uncanny skill or a tremendous physical advantage). Today I'd like to touch on what I want the Sixers to get out of this draft, and why.
Option number one, for me, is for the Sixers to find some way to get up to the #2 pick and draft Derrick Williams. Start with Jrue and Williams, then fill in the pieces over the next several years. That's extremely unlikely, though, so let's focus on more realistic scenarios.
1A would be coming out of this draft with Bismack Biyombo. I think Biyombo is going to be a dominant defender/rebounder in the NBA, capable of shutting down opposing bigs, stifling the pick-and-roll game and protecting the rim from the weakside at an elite level. Add a guy with those skills to the current roster and you're talking about a top defensive team. There's risk involved with Biyombo, but I think he's definitely worth it. If he falls to 16 I'll be ecstatic. If they need to trade up to get him, do it. For my money, he's the only guy in this draft who fits the #1 hole in the Sixers current roster. He's the only guy who you can add to the roster and provide an immediate improvement without having to figure out how he fits, where his minutes are going to come from and how he's going to make them better. They have a gaping hole Biyombo fits perfectly.
If Williams and Biyombo prove beyond the Sixers reach (and Williams almost certainly is), then I'm pretty much forgetting team need and BPA and I'm looking for a specific type of player. Notably, I'm looking for a guy who could be a lockdown defender on the wing. The goal here is to get a guy who can fill in at the three when Iguodala is on the bench and provide some semblance of the defense Iguodala plays. This guy would also provide insurance should Iguodala be traded. Currently, I don't think the Sixers have a player capable of stepping in at the three if they trade Iguodala. I think they should get that guy, if they can, and have him in their back pocket in case they ever need to cross that bridge.
A few more reasons why I prefer a wing defender with the #16 pick (should Biyombo and Williams be out of reach)
- All the other big men in this draft, with the possible exception of Jonas Valanciunas, seem some combination of undersized, underwhelming or soft. If there was a legit defensive big man projected to go somewhere in the mid-teens, I'd probably feel differently, but the names I'm seeing don't fit the bill for me. Mostly, they seem like guys who might be a moderate improvement over the stiffs the Sixers currently have in the middle, and I'd rather not waste another guaranteed contract on a player like that.
- If you can't defend the wing in the Eastern Conference, I think you're lost. The Sixers are really lacking in this department beyond Iguodala. Think back to last season, how many times did Iguodala stone a stud SF for the other team only to see the guy get hot when AI9 went to the bench and some combination of Nocioni and Turner came in to "guard" him. I don't want to see that happen anymore. I want a guy who can allow the Sixers second unit to keep the pressure up on the perimeter defensively. Preferably, this guy will be long and quick, with the ability to guard any perimeter position.
- I think beyond Biyombo, no one in this draft is really a good fit for the big holes this team has. I don't see anyone who's going to step in at the two and score 20 efficient points. I don't see anyone who's going to grow into an above average starting center who can anchor the defense. If you aren't going to fill either of those holes with a home run, I think you need to look to fill another hole, one which you don't need to hit a home run to upgrade your team. In this case, it's defense off the bench. The Sixers have a potent second unit (if Thad comes back), what they lack is a guy among the group who they can make things hard for the opposing team on the defensive end.
A couple of guys who I think could fit the bill:
- Chris Singleton - Great length and he comes in with the reputation of being a lockdown defender. Will probably be able to give you something on the offensive end as well. I think he projects as a starter and a good fit for the Sixers, unfortunately, I doubt he'll be on the board. I'd consider trading up to get him, depending on the price, obviously.
- Marshon Brooks - I think Brooks has the physical tools to be a very, very good perimeter defender. I'm not sure if he'll get there, but a 7'1" wingspan and very good speed/quickness, that'd be tough for me to pass up if Singleton/Biyombo were off the board at #16. If he was a better shooter, the Sixers would probably have no shot at #16, but he's got an offensive game. I think he could be a two-way weapon off the bench in the role Lou Williams currently occupies, and that would be a win for me at #16 in this draft.
- Tyler Honeycutt - Probably a reach at #16, but I think he's a good fit on the wing for the Sixers. A defensive upgrade for the bench, and a guy who can play without the ball, but with the skills to make plays for others. You'd be taking the risk that his deep shooting will be an asset, but I think he could be a solid defender at the position. Again, only if the guys above are off the board.
When it comes right down to it, I'm not expecting a whole lot out of this draft. I'll be thrilled beyond belief if Williams or Biyombo is a Sixer on the 24th, but I'm expecting the Sixers to take an unimpressive "big."