Admittedly, I do not watch a great deal of college basketball. I just don't have the time. Usually, as the season ends, I scramble to read everything I can about the players the Sixers may be targeting. This season, there seems to be more video readily available as well. Personally, I think the Sixers have to draft a point with their #17 pick, or possibly even move up to get one if they can. After the jump, I'll give my initial thoughts on which point I'd like to see the Sixers get.
Before you read any further, check out this awesome piece from Draft Express. They use game footage to isolate stats on the key PGs and try to boil down their strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let me give you the five points I want, in order, and a little bit as to why I ranked them where I did, and what I see the team like with them on the floor. (I left Rubio out because if he enters the draft he's probably going in the top two and I don't see any way the Sixers can trade up that high. If he was a legit option, I'd have to choose between he and Curry.)
5. Nick Calathes: Calathes intrigues me and scares me. The thought of putting a 6'5" guy at the point who can shoot the three could open a lot of doors on offense. At the same time, putting a guy who isn't particularly athletic out there beside Iguodala at the two leaves me wonder who's going to even attempt to guard the penatrating PGs in the league. I prefer him to guys like Flynn because I want two things out a point, a jumper and defense. Calathes gives one of those, I don't think Flynn gives either. DraftExpress has him going #29 to the Lakers, Chad Ford ranks him #27 overall, 10th among points. If they want him, they can have him at #17, most likely. They could also probably buy a pick late in the first round to get him, if they chose to go that route.
4. Jrue Holiday: Like I said above, I want a jumper and defense. If I can't have both, I'm going to choose defense and I think Holiday is probably going to be the best defender of the bunch. He's only 18, has good size 6'4", 200 lbs, 6'8" wing span, great quickness. His jumper was bad at UCLA, there's no getting around that. Honestly, I don't know if he'll give you anything on offense, or be able to handle the point, but I do think he could complete the picture defensively. If my top three choices are gone, I go with Holiday and cross my fingers that he can morph himself into a three-point shooter. DraftExpress has him going #20 to the Jazz. Chad Ford ranks him #11 overall, 4th among points.
3. Eric Maynor: Could Maynor be the Courtney Lee of this year's draft? It's possible. Good size, superior quickness, very good defense, good jumper at the collegiate level, but played 4 years in a small conference. I like the total package, I like the fact that he got to the line over 7 times per game, I think that translates at any level with great quickness. I think there's a very good chance Maynor could step right in and start at the point next to Iguodala this season and make an impact as the fourth option on offense. DraftExpress has him going #18 to the Timberwolves. Chad Ford has him #13 overall, 5th among points.
2. Ty Lawson: If I had to make a bet on one point who will be able to step into a starting role and make his team better in 2009-2010, I'd put my money on Ty Lawson. He's small, listed at 5'11", but his shooting stats were just off-the-charts good this season. He led a talented team to the NCAA championship. I think he has the maturity to handle the responsibility of a starting role as a rookie, and the jumper to provide the Sixers with a guy who can spread the floor. I was especially impressed with his performance in the advanced metrics DraftExpress looked at in the article I linked to earlier. DraftExpress has him going #10 to the Bucks. Chad Ford ranks him #14 overall, 6th among points.
1. Stephen Curry: I've gone back and forth on Curry for some time now. On the one hand, you have the Ken Griffey Jr. factor at play. His father was an NBA player, therefore he's going to be good. Then you also have the intense ESPN hype surrounding the guy as well. Then you have the fact that he only played the point his junior year, and really didn't play it like a point at all. Then you have defense. All Ford has to say about him on the defensive end is "Picks up steals." Far from a ringing endorsement. Add to that his career spent at Davidson, and that's five strikes against him. On the other hand, there simply is not a better shooter in this draft class. Again, take a look at the advanced stats, then realize that Curry played his entire career as a marked man. He rarely got an open look, he was rarely set up by teammates. He did it all on his own. Put him on an offense where he isn't asked to carry the load, where he can catch-and-shoot, or use the pick and roll to get clean looks and I think he'll be unstoppable. His knack for getting to the line reminds me of Kevin Martin, I think he could be that good, maybe better. If there's any chance at all that you can get Curry, I'd do it. Plug him in as your starting point, next to Iguodala, let Iggy initiate offense, deal with any warts on the defensive end, and let Curry be the guy that stretches the floor for 30 minutes a night. Given the choice between all of these guys, I think Lawson is the most solid pick. I think Curry is the pick with the most upside. Curry is the one that I think could really put the Sixers over the top in the coming years. Frankly, I'd rather the Sixers swing for the fences. DraftExpress has him going #9 to the Raptors. Chad For ranks him #8 overall, 2nd among PGs.
So that's my list, and I'm going in with a few assumptions here that I believe the Sixers have to opperate under. First, Andre Miller is not coming back. Even if he is, the Sixers will not know before the draft, so they absolutely have to act like they do not have a starting point guard. Second, a starting point is not going to be obtained through either trade or free agency. They may target Ramon Sessions, but any offer they make can be matched by Milwaukee. You have to assume the only "point" guard you have on roster is Lou Williams, and you also have to assume that going into the season with him as your starting point is no option at all.
Now, odds are the Sixers will be able to pick from several of these guys when they pick, but Curry will almost definitely be off the board. If an opportunity to trade up presents itself, I'd do it. I'd even trade Marreese Speights for a pick high enough to get Curry. I've seen Curry going as high as #8 in mock drafts, to the Knicks. Memphis may be a good trade partner, they need a four, and Speights is honestly a better prospect than any PF in the draft outside of Blake Griffin. They're probably going to hold the #6 pick, unless they win the lottery.
So those are my initial thoughts on the draft, but like I said, nothing's written in stone. I know a lot of you guys follow college hoops much more closely than I do, so please use the comments to share your thoughts. Let us know who you want, who you don't want, and why.