NBA Draft 2012: 4 Realistic Draft Targets for the 76ers
The NBA Draft is here, and every team is scrambling to get a good look at each player in the draft.
Especially the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Sixers made the second round of the playoffs and nearly made the Eastern Conference Finals, although they were defeated by the Celtics in seven games.
Despite their playoff run, they have some gaping holes they must fill.
Sixth man and leading scorer Lou Williams will opt out of his contract, and the Sixers likely won't re-sign center Spencer Hawes.
While Hawes wasn't a great center, he still leaves a hole down low. Philadelphia will be very active in free agency and on the trade market looking for a big man because the draft is a way to fill both holes.
Here are four realistic draft targets for the Sixers.
Terrence Ross (Shooting Guard) Washington
Stats: 16.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.4 APG
What's not to like about Terrence Ross?
Ross scores in high quantities, he rebounds very well for a guard and he has tremendous athletic ability. He is a good perimeter defender and a fast, explosive guard.
Even though the Sixers pick 15th, they can definitely snag him.
Ross is one of the most underrated players in the draft. Since a lot of teams are looking for big men and there are guards and forwards rated higher than Ross, he may very well fall to 15th.
In his rookie year, he could take the place of Lou Williams.
If the Sixers traded Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner could move to small forward while Ross could start at shooting guard. If Ross wasn't ready to start, Thaddeus Young could start at small forward while Turner stayed at shooting guard and Jrue Holiday ran the point.
While Ross only played two years in college and may need some time to hone his decision-making and shooting skills, he can definitely make an impact in Philadelphia.
If Ross is available at 15th, the Sixers should definitely pick him.
That is, if they don't trade up.
Andre Drummond (Center) Connecticut
Stats: 10 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 0.4 APG
While Drummond isn't my favorite prospect on this list, the Sixers seem to be very high on him.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld has reported that the Sixers worked out Andre Drummond and could trade up for him.
There's no way Drummond will be available at 15th, but Philadelphia could trade up.
The Sixers could trade up with another team to get Drummond, even if they need to trade into the top five.
Drummond is a very athletic, strong center who isn't much of a scoring threat—even though he has a 53.8 field goal percentage—but is a good post defender and shot-blocker.
Drummond is raw and needs to improve in a lot of categories, but he could benefit the Sixers.
Overall, Drummond has a lot of athletic talent but is a high-risk prospect. The Sixers would be fine without Drummond.
If they trade up for him he could fill the void at center, although he is raw.
Arnett Moultrie (Power Forward and Center) Mississippi State
Stats: 16.4 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 1.2 APG
If the Sixers stay at 15th, they won't get to take anyone from the top of the draft class.
However, they may get a shot at Arnett Moultrie.
Moultrie is a strong, athletic power forward who rebounds and shoots well. He had a 54.9 field goal percentage in his final year at Mississippi State, and he shot 44.4 percent (8-for-18) from beyond the arc.
Although Moultrie is a great player, his draft stock has fallen.
He didn't participate in the combine, and his team lost in the first round of the NIT—despite Moultrie's 34 points. Because of the depth at the power forward position, Moultrie should still be there at 15th.
While Moultrie needs to be more aggressive and would benefit from some time to polish his skills, he should be ready to go right away.
He could play center, as he is 6'11" and 230 pounds. Moultrie can post up and hit a turnaround, and he can hit mid-range shots.
Overall, Moultrie is a great player. The Sixers could draft him and trade for a center who becomes a free agent in 2013, so Moultrie can develop his skills and start at power forward or center by the 2013-14 season.
Tyler Zeller (Center) North Carolina
Stats: 16.3 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 0.9 APG
As Meyers Leonard and John Henson's draft stock rose, Tyler Zeller's fell.
Zeller didn't perform well at the combine, so he should be available at pick No. 15. While he may not be Philadelphia's top target, if no one else was available, he would be a good guy to pick for the Sixers.
Unlike Moultrie, Zeller is a true center.
He is 7'0" tall and 245 pounds, but he can shoot very well. Zeller shot 55.3 percent from the field in his senior season, and he proved that he could hit mid-range jumpers consistently.
Zeller is a strong defender and a good rebounder—he can clean the glass well. He would be a great fit in Philadelphia because the Sixers need a center. Zeller would be a great target down low for Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner.
Holiday would get Zeller involved, and he would get a lot of good looks. Zeller is a strong defender, and he rebounds well on both defense and offense.
Zeller is a solid all-around player who would be a good fit in Philadelphia. While he may not be the Sixers' top draft target, they should be more than happy if they end up with the UNC seven-footer.