2012 NBA Draft: 3 Areas of Immediate Need for the Philadelphia 76ers
Although the Philadelphia 76ers just completed a surprising playoff run that had them one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals, the team still has many needs that must be addressed. The Sixers had a very successful first half of the 2011-2012 NBA season, but after the All-Star break the team collapsed and ended up with the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The 76ers are going to have to make some serious changes in the next couple of seasons if they want to compete for an NBA championship. The Sixers' draft pick will be in the mid-20s, so it will be almost impossible to draft a franchise changing player. However, the Sixers could draft a guy that can come in and immediately make an impact on the floor.
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Kevin Garnett exposed the Sixers interior defense in the Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Celtics, as the Sixers simply had no one who could stop him consistently. Spencer Hawes, whose contract expired, is seven feet tall, but is not nearly physical or athletic enough to compete with the leagues best on the defensive end.
That is why the Sixers should draft Syracuse's Fab Melo if he is available. Fab is a seven footer who is athletic and very active on the defensive end. Fab averaged almost three blocks per game, helping him earn Big East defensive player of the year honors.
In addition, Fab has great upside on the offensive end and will be an effective offensive player if he learns a few post moves. Other center possibilities for the Sixers in the draft are Illinois' Meyers Leonard and Vanderbilt's Festus Ezeli.
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The Sixers struggled all season long to shoot the three-ball with any consistency, so they must go after a shooter either in the draft or in free agency. Rod Thorn was quoted by phillyburbs.com saying, "What has really been pointed out in the playoffs is that we have a hard time making shots, particularly shots out on the (perimeter)", so clearly the Sixers know that they need to address this issue.
If they decide to draft a shooter, I think that they should draft Vanderbilt's John Jenkins. Jenkins is a pure shooter who has one of the quickest releases that I have ever seen at any level. Jenkins shot 44% in his college career from three and would be a major upgrade over the Sixers' current three-point specialist, Jodie Meeks. Other three-point options in the draft are Washington's Terrence Ross and Kentucky's Doron Lamb.
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The 76ers are likely going to use their amnesty clause on Elton Brand, so the Sixers will have a serious need at the power forward position. Lavoy Allen, who played great in the playoffs, could be the answer, but the Sixers must add some depth to that position.
Allen and Brand are the only power forwards currently on the roster, so it will definitely be a position of need during the offseason. The Sixers could go after either Michael Beasley or Kris Humphries in free agency, but if they decide to draft a power forward instead they should select St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson.
Nicholson is a top tier defender and has very good offensive skills. He proved during his senior season that he is a very good shooter for his size and has an excellent motor. Other power forward options in the draft are West Virginia's Kevin Jones and Virginia's Mike Scott.