06/25/09 4:22 pm EST
As though it is not difficult enough to be a Sixers fan lately, there is an extremely frustrating area that goes largely unnoticed; the NBA Draft. The Sixers perennial mediocrity and yearly first-round playoff exits leave them with a disappointing end of season, and even worse, no high draft picks.
The Sixers always seem to be making their first selection in the mid-teens, a few picks after all the potential lottery players have been snatched up, leaving the fans with little to get excited about pre, or post draft. Sure, they’ve had some decent selections, and much of their current team was built through the draft, but as a fan it is very difficult to get excited about a late first rounder who seems destined to be a perennial role player.
The Sixers clearly need to make some changes this offseason, and the draft is usually a great place to start. However, the Sixers once again see themselves sitting at no. 17, where the majority of hyped players will be long gone, leaving a long list of players labeled as “questionable,” or “having potential.” Since a draft day trade seems unlikely for the Sixers at this point, I have considered the best possible options that may be available to them at the time of their pick that could help the team and have an immediate (and necessary) impact on the team this season.
Although predicting exactly who may be available at the time of the Sixers’ mid-round pick is nearly impossible, there is potential for all of these players to be available, and each could add to the Sixers rotation this season. The Sixers frontcourt appears as though it will be packed with the return of Elton Brand and Jason Smith, coupled with Speights, and Dalembert and possibly Ratliff. So, it is safe to say the Sixers should concentrate on addressing backcourt issues, and these selections reflect that.
1. Brandon Jennings, PG. – With the probable departure of Andre Miller, the Sixers will be in desperate need of a point guard, as Royal Ivey is the only remaining true PG on the depth chart after Miller. Willie Green and Lou Williams both have point guard abilities, but are naturally off-ball players. Jennings could go anywhere from inside the top 10 to late teens, and if available it would be foolish of the Sixers to pass on a young potential point guard of the future to compliment the young nucleus they are developing.
2. Ty Lawson, PG. – The same logic goes into this pick, and Lawson would be a good point guard selection if Jennings were unavailable. He seems to have recovered fully from the injury that sidelined him for the majority of his last season in Carolina blue, as he was able to return for the tournament and help lead the Heels to the title. Some skills might need polishing, but the skill set is there and he would be able to make an immediate impact for the Sixers.
3. Gerald Henderson, SG. – Although this selection would not address the team’s point guard need, it would follow the “select the best available” blueprint. There is a great chance that Henderson will not be available at this point, due to his ability to play and defend several positions on the floor. He is a talented utility man that would be very useful on the Sixers, both in providing relief for Iggy and Thad, and for providing another option.
4. Sam Young, SF. – I attended Pittsburgh during the same span in which Sam did and therefore saw him grow and develop into a complete package over his four seasons there. He developed from an athletic high-flyer into an overall dangerous basketball player. He possesses decent range on his jump shot, a deadly pump-fake, and he still retains the athletic ability that he relied on his first two years at Pittsburgh. He is an improved defender, and can play at three different positions depending on the situation. This versatility would work to the Sixers’ favor, as they would be able to plug him in as they found necessary.
5. Jeff Teague, PG. – The biggest risk of all these possible selections. Had a great season at Wake, but showed flashes on inconsistency, which caused to surface questions regarding how he would fair in the NBA. He has decent size for a point guard, and has good scoring ability. However, his decision-making and ability to lead a club can be questioned. Immediate success is not guaranteed, however he has an enormous upside and could potentially develop into the Sixers PG of the future; he may be worth the look.