- Opponents’ height advantages became a serious problem. Even though rebounding wasn’t necessarily an issue – the Sixers ranked 13th– post defense was a nightmare. Spencer Hawes isn’t imposing, Elton Brand is generously listed at 6’9” and Mo Speights failed to turn the corner in that often pivotal third NBA season. With Amare Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, Al Horford, The Miami Heat… heck even Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert in the East, the Sixers need a big answer on the defensive end.
- The backcourt is a crowded mess. Jodie Meeks’ explosion ability – 20 points in one quarter, the main factor in a win over the Bulls– kept him at the shooting guard position majority of the season. Meeks is the only deadly three point shooter on the roster and will remain a Sixer for quite awhile. That leaves questions as to how much time Evan Turner and Lou Williams will see the floor. Lou was a big reason why the Sixers held it together through a rocky January. Turner played some of his best basketball in the postseason and extremely reassuring sign that he will one day lead this team. And I mentioned Monday how this now Jrue Holiday’s team.
So it’s hard to believe Rod Thorn is going to draft a guard, unless he’s absolutely in love with Jimmer Fredette and can move Lou Williams. I would suggest drafting a center to replace Spencer Hawes but this year’s class is rather feeble and rather international (a.k.a. highly risky).
I’ve taken the liberty of coming up with my wish list for the Sixers. I’ve added strengths and weaknesses and a prediction of how this potential pick would play out for Doug Collins and the 76ers. To me, this pick absolutely has to be someone with size. If someone is dumb enough to take Iguodala’s contract off our hands, Jordan Hamilton from Texas might be a nice fit. But this list is based off of the Sixers staying pat with the 16th pick…
My 76ers wish list:
Tristan Thompson 6-9, 225 lbs.(Texas) PF: 13.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.4 BPG
Strengths: A 7-1 wingspan, excellent ability to run the floor, good offensive rebounder.
Weaknesses: He isn’t imposing at 6-9 and can get bodied rather easily, not going to give you anything spectacular on offense, horrible free throw shooter.
My Take: Although he is quite similar to Thaddeus Young, Thompson’s ability to alter midrange shots could be a huge asset in Doug Collins’ defensive system. Thompson also exclusively plays under the block which would free up Elton Brand to play near the elbow, where he is at his best. He may not make it to pick # 16, but if he does I say Thorn will pull the trigger.
Kenneth Faried 6-8, 225 lbs. (Moorehead State) 17.3 PPG, 14.5 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 2.3 SPG
Strengths: One of the best college rebounders of all-time, he can jump out of the gym, can defend in the post despite his size.
Weaknesses: His height, he has the touch of an axe murdered on offense, prone to turnovers.
My Take: Faried has been on lots of fans wish lists for his career record for double-doubles, registering more than the legendary Tim Duncan. Still, he will probably never develop into a starter. He does seem to have endless energy though and his skill set would be vital on a team going far into the playoffs.
Jordan Williams 6-10, 250 lbs. (Maryland) 16.9 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 1.4 BPG
Strengths: Ideal size, hasn’t reached his ceiling, can play high post, wing or underneath the hoop.
Weaknesses: Not in tip-top shape, doesn’t have a pretty jump shot, taller players can give him fits defensively.
My Take: This dude is committed to improving. He showed up at the combine having lost at least 10 pounds. He is more of an all-around player than the two forwards listed above. And he would clearly be an eventual replacement for Elton Brand. It may be a reach at 16, but his potential may be too much to ignore.
Justin Harper 6-9, 228 lbs. (Richmond) 17.9 PPG, 7 RPG, 44.8% 3P shooter.
Strengths: Can shoot the 3, can blow by defenders, has an array of moves
Weaknesses: Probably won’t be able to guard NBA power forwards effectively, skinny frame
My Take: I mentioned earlier that the 76ers have only one deadly shooter, and Meeks is barely 6’4”. Harper would add size on the perimeter and could be used effectively in lineups against taller teams like the Magic and Pacers.
The more and more I think about, the more I want Jordan Williams. He played for the incredibly tough Gary Williams and I think he would respond well to the encouragement Doug Collins gives. At 6-10, he’s the tallest player on this list and the most consistent offensively. The Sixers may even be able to trade down to the mid 20’s and pick up an extra pick in 2012.