Since this disaster of a season is taking forever to end, let's use Monday morning to look forward a bit. As of today, the Sixers stand alone with the 7th-worst record in the league. If they lose their final two games, they can finish no worse than that. I'm going to try to retain some positivity, so after the jump I'll give you my draft board, ranked 1-7 only, if the Sixers fall, well, let's not think about that yet.
- John Wall - I don't see how you can pass on him. I love Jrue, I love what he's done this season, I love what I think he will do in the future. I don't think drafting Wall means you have to move Jrue, I actually think they can coexist in the backcourt, with Wall playing the role of a scoring two, Jrue the facilitator, and they both have good size for the position. Jrue has the ability to guard bigger twos on the opposing team and the Jrue/Wall/Iguodala trio could be one of the best perimeter groups in the league in a couple of years. If Wall and Jrue don't work together, Jrue should be a golden trade chip considering his cheap rookie contract. If we get the number one pick, I take Wall and don't really hesitate.
- Derrick Favors - I've thought long and hard about this, I realize I'm in the minority, and this is nothing against Evan Turner, I just think Favors is the better pick for the Sixers here. I talked about this at length in the last episode of Sixers beat, but to sum it up quickly, what I believe this team needs most of all is an athletic big who can defend and finish. By finish, I mean make tough catches in the lane on both lobs, and pick-and-roll plays. A guy who can find the creases and convert when Jrue and Iguodala find him for easy opportunities. This guy doesn't need to have a developed back-to-the-basket game, he just needs to be a force when he gets the ball in the paint and he needs to be able to able to run the floor. I firmly believe Jrue and Iguodala would turn a big with this skill set into an All Star. Favors fits the mold, and projects to be a defensive force. There's also something very appealing to having the point guard position locked down for a decade plus by a 20-year-old Jrue and finding his running mate in the 19-year-old Favors.
- Evan Turner - Like I said, it's really nothing against Turner that I put Favors at number two. I believe Turner will make a very good pro. He's got the potential to be better than Iguodala, and he'll almost certainly be a better half-court scorer very quickly. The only reason I have Favors ahead of him is this: If the Sixers draft Turner, I think Iguodala will be moved. So if you draft Turner, you're looking at a core of Jrue, Turner and whatever you can get for Iguodala. Let's be optimistic and say Al Jefferson. I don't like that trio as much as I like Jrue, Iguodala and Favors as my core. I'm still a believer in the defend to run philosophy, I think we've got two major pieces of the puzzle in place and Favors would be a great third.
- DeMarcus Cousins - The attitude and the possibility that he could join Speights at the all-you-can-eat buffet concern me, but they don't concern me enough to drop him any lower than this. He could wind up being a beast, if he drops to us at seven, I take him in a heartbeat.
- Wesley Johnson - Best wing shooter in the lottery with the potential to be a number one scoring option. He'd fit well with Iguodala and Jrue on the perimeter again slot into the core of the team moving forward.
- Ekpe Udoh - This is the tricky part of the draft for me. No one is a sure thing, no one is a perfect fit. I like Udoh's length, I like his shot blocking, I like the fact that he stood out as the best player on the floor when I saw him play. I think he could fill the slot I described for Favors above, if not as explosively, and I think he can replace Sam's defensive production as a weak-side shotblocker, though he'll probably never be the defensive rebounder Sam is. Of all the PF/C prospects who will be available at this spot, I think Udoh is the best fit and has the best chance to be a two-way performer on the next level, especially working with Jrue and Iguodala.
- Al Farouq Aminu - I highly doubt it would ever come to this, because I doubt Udoh will be off the board by the time we draft, but just in case, Aminu is my 7th pick. This one even surprised me, but when I look at the guys who are still available I don't see many impact players. Maybe Ed Davis, but he doesn't do it for me. I see Aldrich as a role player, Whiteside has red flags and didn't face the best competition. I kind of look at Aminu in the role Thad has been thrust into for the Sixers, a guy who will swing between the three and the four, the main difference being Aminu can rebound the ball. We're going to have to wait for the combine to get measurements, but I've heard he has a 7'4" wing span, which means he should play much, much bigger than 6'8" and he could be a disruptive defender in small lineups playing the four. He's a raw, explosive athlete who honestly didn't impress me greatly when I saw him play, but I could see a scenario where he could turn into a very solid player with the Sixers. I'll take that over a higher likelihood of a guy reaching his potential as a role player with this pick.
There you have it, my top 7 as of April 12th. All subject to change, of course. Let's see yours in the comments.