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Most Likely To Climb?

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In what I believe is a five-man draft, the Sixers most-likely landing spot in the draft lottery is number six. After the jump, let's take a look at the teams who will probably be drafting ahead of the Sixers and see if we can identify a player who two who may sneak into the top five ahead of Philly.

A few updates first. Chad Ford has finally updated his lottery/mock draft machine, he now has the Sixers taking Al-Farouq Aminu if they stay at the #6 pick. DraftExpress has also updated their mock (though they haven't taken team needs into account), they have the Sixers drafting Cole Aldrich at #6.

OK, so we're assuming two things here: 1) The Sixers did not move into the top three of the lottery. 2) None of the teams below the Sixers leap-frogged over them into the top three. Meaning, New Jersey, Minnesota, Sacramento, Golden State and Washington will make picks 1-5 in some order. Let's go team by team:

  • Nets - #1 they take Wall, #2 they take Turner. Probably no debate there. At #3, I believe they take Favors simply because they have Brook Lopez and I think they'd rather put the rebounder/defender at the four next to him than add another low-post scorer. Cousins seems redundant. At #4, I think there's a chance they could look to move the pick, or they'd look at Wesley Johnson over Cousins.
  • Timberwolves - #1 I'm not sure what they do. Wall is the BPA, but they drafted two PGs last season in Flynn and Rubio. Would they spend another high lottery pick on a PG when they have so many other holes? They may opt for Turner here, or be willing to trade back, but they're Minnesota, so you never know. #2 they take Turner. #3 My guess if Favors. They need a defender up front, but this trade may be for sale as well, considering they've got Al Jefferson and Kevin Love up front. #4 It's a coin toss between Wes Johnson and Cousins. Cousins seems redundant with Al Jefferson up front, but if they take Cousins maybe they consider moving Jefferson and replacing him with a rookie-deal big who can do the same things. #5 ditto #4. Same logic. I don't really see Minny trading either the #4 or #5 pick unless they really don't like Wes Johnson.
  • Sacramento - #1 Wall, #2 Turner, #3 Cousins, #4 Favors, #5 I guess Wes Johnson, though they really need a five. They may be willing to trade down from #4 or #5 if Cousins is off the board. They could also be a candidate to reach for a guy like Monroe, Aldrich or Aminu if they're at #5
  • Golden State - #1 Wall, #2 Turner (Wall would probably lead to trading Monta Ellis, maybe Turner as well, though I could see GSW going with Turner at the three), #3 Cousins (Need a true center more than another offensive project 4), #4 Favors, #5 Wes Johnson. I don't see GSW moving this pick unless they have some kind of mandate to get rid of one of their bad contracts and this pick is the carrot to move a guy like Maggette.
  • Washington - #1 Wall, #2 Turner, #3 Favors, #4 Cousins, #5 Possibly Monroe. I don't think Wash. will trade their pick. They're facing a ton of cap space with no one to spend it on. I think they'd move any pick if Gilbert Arenas's contract went out the door with it, but the odds of that are slim. I do think Wash. is one of the teams who could reach and a local guy like Monroe is a pretty good guess. When you look at their roster, I guess Blatche is the only keeper, if they think Blatche is a keeper. They need help all over the floor, but Monroe strikes me as a guy they think could move the attendance needle a little bit.

Of course, players rising and falling between now and the draft isn't just about questionable decisions made by the teams ahead of you, it's also about the combine, workouts and interviews. In the past, raw athleticism has driven players up draft boards. If that's the case, possibly Aminu slides into the top five. NBA decision makers also love size above all else, so keep an eye on Monroe and possibly Aldrich.

If I was a betting man, I'd probably lean on Aminu as my favorite for busting into the top five, probably at the expense of Wes Johnson. If you look at the players side-by-side, Aminu has better size, better athleticism and a freakish wing span. Attributes like that might have decision-makers overlooking shooting stats at the college level and falling in love with what Aminu could become.

Monroe has the "a big from Georgetown!" factor working in his favor, plus a rare skill set for a big man. He could be a riser as well.

What do you guys think? If we're stuckat six, is there any chance one of the top five falls to us, if so, which one, and who could sneak into the top five to bump him down? 
by Brian on Apr 19 2010
Tags: Basketball | Draft | Lottery | Sixers |