Early Tuesday afternoon, ESPN’s NBA Draft Insider Chad Ford reported that UNLV freshman forward Anthony Bennett will be out four months after surgery on his rotator cuff in his left shoulder that is expected to go down today.


That timetable will sideline him for the NBA Draft Combine and likely all of Summer League as well, but he will be scheduled to return for training camp.

Bennett will now join Nerlens Noel and Alex Len as the crop of talented big men that will enter the 2013 NBA Draft injured. Noel’s torn ACL might have knocked him out of the top pick in the draft and Len’s ankle surgery will also likely hurt his draft stock, too.

So, if Noel, the one-time shoo-in for the No. 1 Overall pick in this year’s draft, can have his stock lowered by a devastating injury, why can’t Bennett’s stock drop as well?  Could it drop enough so the 76ers have a chance at drafting him?

Before the news of the 6-7 freshman’s surgery, Ford had Bennett projected as the No. 4 overall pick in this June’s draft. Why is he projected so high you may ask? Check out his highlights from his ridiculous 25-point performance at Cal this year:


Now, we’ve seen many strong and athletic undersized — by NBA standards — bigs fall in the recent drafts.  In 2009, DeJaun Blair fell to the second round after NBA scouts discovered the former Pittsburgh Panther has no ACLs.  More recently, former Ohio State Buckeye Jared Sullinger fell out of the lottery after dealing with back complications.

So, if the 76ers, who currently have the 11th best odds at earning the No. 1 pick, can get a lot of Lottery luck and move into the Top-3 picks, perhaps Bennett could land in Philly.

I’m not saying a Top-5 talent will automatically fall to the bottom of the Top-10 because of an injury, but it’s possible. Additionally, the Sixers held on to their (if you can call them) assets in Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes that they could also trade in order to move up one or two spots to draft Bennett.

Some of you might be thinking, “Why on earth would the Sixers draft an undersized power forward when they already have Thad Young????”

Well, many people have been preaching reasoning for Thad to move out to the wing and start shooting more three-pointers like he did back in his earlier NBA seasons.  Drafting Bennett and moving Thad outside would add more length to the Sixers defensively on the perimeter and create a lineup that could switch screens very easily on defense as well.

With Jrue Holiday, Thad and Bennett/Arnett Moultrie slated as three young core pieces in the Sixers’ starting lineup, all the front office would have to do is bring in a shooting guard that can create his own shot and a healthy, two-way center to fill the starting group.

If you ask me, a group of Thad, Bennet, Moultrie and a talented center who the team acquires via free agency or trade over the next two off-seasons, would be a pretty solid front court for the future.

Jake Fischer is a Scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @JakeLFischer.

You can follow us @philadunkia.

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