NBA Draft 2012: Breaking Down Best Fits for Philadelphia 76ers in First Round
After finishing the season with an overall record 35-31 and clinching the No. 8 playoff seed in the East, Philadelphia feels close to hitting it big.
The 2012 NBA Draft will prove crucial to the Sixers as they look to bring in those few missing pieces that will make them contenders next season.
With the help of NBADraft.net's reputable mock draft—and hopeful thinking—here's a look at the best fits for Philly in Round 1 of the NBA Draft.
Tyler Zeller: PF/C, North Carolina
One thing is for sure—Philly needs a new big man who can score down low.
This could come in either the form of a power forward or a center, but the Sixers need someone more offensively skilled than their current guys.
Elton Brand served as Philadelphia's primary go-to guy at power forward last season, but at 33 he won't be so reliable for much longer. At center, Spencer Hawes is mediocre at best. In 2011-2012, Hawes averaged 9.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Tyler Zeller could fulfill Philly's need at either position during games. At 7', Zeller played for North Carolina for four seasons before entering the 2012 NBA Draft. He averaged 16.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in 2011-2012.
The combination of size, experience and scoring ability puts Zeller on the top of Philly's wish list, but it's improbable that a player of his caliber will last until pick No. 15.
Terrence Jones: SF/PF, Kentucky
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While at Kentucky, Jones averaged 12.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, and he also averaged 1.8 blocks per game. He's a well-rounded player that can play defense as well as put up decent point totals, and he has a solid low-post game.
At only 6'9" Jones may not be built exactly like the type of player Philly is looking for, but he would bring a lot of the floor.
John Henson: PF, North Carolina
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Junior John Henson is also an extremely well-rounded athlete, and he is one step above Terrence Jones.
Although predicted to hang around until pick No. 18, Henson would be a great fit for Philadelphia—both offensively and defensively.
At 6'10" and 216 pounds, Henson boasts an incredible 7'4" wingspan that helps him at either end of the floor. He averaged 13.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game in 2011-2012.
For Henson to reach his full potential in the NBA, however, he should gain some weight and become a bit more aggressive on the floor.
Jared Sullinger: PF, Ohio State
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Jared Sullinger could be a great fit for Philly if he's still around at No. 15.
Sullinger is one of the higher-scoring PFs on the list, and he could effectively serve as Elton Brand's successor. In his sophomore year at Ohio State, Sullinger averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game—numbers that would certainly inflate Philly's offensive game.
The one knock against Sullinger, though, is his physical health. The young player has recently been suffering from some back issues, and NBA doctors have red-flagged his medical records prior to the draft.
Arnett Moultrie: PF, Mississippi State
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NBADraft.net expects Philly to actually pick Arnett Moultrie at No. 15, and I agree with the prediction. Coming out of Mississippi State as a junior, Moultrie will best fit the Sixers' needs at their point in the draft.
Moultrie stands at 6'11", and he's a solid scorer for a man of his size. Not to mention, he also has the frame that can transition between power forward and center depending on the team's needs. Moultrie's NBA-ready low-post game will boost Philly's offensive game, and he's also able to shoot from the perimeter.
B/R writer Sam Quinn adds the following regarding Moultrie's court presence:
[Moultrie] also has great speed, which will fit in well with the young runners on the Philadelphia roster. He also seems comfortable with falling back into a role-player spot, which is perfect for the Sixers, as they don't really have one guy who runs the show every night.
He exhibits a plethora of shots in his arsenal, showcasing a hook shot and a baseline jumper, as well as the ability to make turnaround shots. He's also great at scoring after he initiates contact in the air.
Here's hoping the mock draft proves correct and Moultrie dons a Philly uniform.