The 2012 NBA draft has afforded the Philadelphia 76ers a great opportunity to target some intriguing prospects. With picks No. 15, 45 and 54, the Sixers should be able to select some necessary scoring and size that can help morph them into one of the Eastern Conference's elite squads.
With the news that Sixers' leading scorer Lou Williams chose to opt out of the final year of his contract, the Sixers have no legitimate go-to scorer on their roster.
As for the big men, Elton Brand looks like he could be a casualty of the amnesty clause while Spencer Hawes is headed for unrestricted free agency. Luckily, this year's draft is stocked with power forwards and centers, leaving them with plenty of intriguing talent to choose from.
Here are seven bold options for the Sixers to consider in this year's draft.
When the Philadelphia 76ers selected Evan Turner with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft, he looked like the Sixers' shooting guard of the future.
In the two years since being drafted, Turner has fallen in and out of the starting lineup due to inconsistent play on both ends of the court. Turner has struggled to find his jump shot, and like many of the Sixers' guards, has failed to score consistently. While Turner certainly won't be on his way out, the Sixers would we wise to draft some perimeter scoring to supplement Turner's inside presence.
The Sixers offense struggled mightily against the Boston Celtics in the playoffs, and without a consistent source of scoring, they were forced to play their way out of some brutal offensive stretches.
If the Sixers are fortunate enough to select Austin Rivers with pick No. 15 they will be acquiring a legitimate shooting guard, one who's undaunted by pressure situations in which he's forced to score the basketball.
Baylor forward Perry Jones is an athletic specimen, one who would fit perfectly with the Sixers' up-tempo style of play.
What makes Jones so special is that he's a power forward capable of playing like a small forward. With great length and athleticism, Jones has all of the tools of a wing player, but he's more explosive down low.
Jones is similar to Sixers forward Thaddeus Young, who wasn't quite NBA-ready when he was drafted. Eventually, Young figured out how to play in the low post and polished his jump shot, making him one of the most valuable bench players in the league.
If Jones can use his athleticism to carve out a role for himself off of the bench, he could soon become a starter on one of the league's brightest young teams.
Selecting Royce White at No. 15 would certainly be a gamble for the 76ers, but a player with White's potential can't be ignored.
White is a wing player in disguise, possessing the athleticism and length to play on the perimeter, but he uses his size (6'8,'' 261 pounds) to attack the basket.
White's comfort zone can be described as 15 feet and in, but he's really at his best when he's working down low on the blocks. Averaging 13.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season at Iowa State, White was efficient working in the post, shooting 53.4 percent from the field.
One item of concern: White had a lower percentage shooting from the free-throw line (49.8 percent) than he did from the floor.
A teammate of Perry Jones at Baylor, Quincy Acy is a 6'6'' tweener whose game is more suited for the power forward position.
While he doesn't possess elite basketball skills, he's the definition of an energy player, one who could be a matchup nightmare for opponents.
A possible target with pick No. 45, Acy is very capable of running the floor in transition and would be an ideal fit for a Philadelphia 76er team in search of some strength and energy off of the bench.
With the departure of Elton Brand looming, Thaddeus Young may be forced into a starting role, leaving his bench spot unoccupied. Acy would be a natural replacement, especially if he can develop some low post moves.
Acy would also be a great body to have on the defensive end, one that's not afraid of contesting shots and crashing the boards.
Henry Sims enters the NBA draft coming off of the lone productive season of his four-year college career.
Fit for bench duty before his senior season, Sims was a revelation for the Georgetown Hoyas, averaging 11.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and a surprising 3.5 assists per game.
Sims may be a bit of a project at the next level, but he has all of the tools to become a well-rounded NBA center. While Sims could stand to add a bit of muscle (6'11", 245 pounds) he has a fairly polished mid-range jumper and has excellent court vision for a player with his size.
While he may be a tad undersized, Sims makes up for it with his athleticism. Surprisingly good at moving in transition, Sims could be a nice fit for a young, speedy Sixer team.
Although his name has been absent from nearly every mock draft, Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine could have a nice career in the NBA if the right team gives him an opportunity.
Like Maalik Wayns, Jardine would appear to be under consideration for the Sixers' final selection (No. 54), and it doesn't hurt that his hometown team took the time to work him out.
As CSNPhilly.com's Dave Zeitlin points out, Jardine should not be flying under the radar:
As the starting point guard on two No. 1 teams, he possesses all the intangibles to be a solid backup, if not a star, in the NBA. And while ex-Syracuse teammates Dion Waiters, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph might be considered more pro-ready, it’s no secret that Jardine was the engine that made the Orange purr over the past few years.
As opposed to Wayns, who is a shoot-first guard, Jardine is a more selfless player. The Philadelphia product will look to facilitate first and foremost, but he's also an adept scorer, especially when driving to the basket.
He may be a bit of a sleeper, but Jardine could be worth a look for the Sixers at No. 54.
A local prospect out of Villanova, Maalik Wayns projects as a late-second round draft pick.
Wayns is a fearless shooter who knocked down 41.4 percent of his shots in his junior season en route to 17.6 points per game.
Although he doesn't possess qualities that would make him a prototypical point guard, that's likely the spot he will play in the NBA due to his stature. Wayns stands just 6'2'' and would have trouble guarding taller, stronger two-guards.
With Lou Williams recently opting out, Wayns could fill a need as a bench scorer but would likely not seen much action in his rookie season. Wayns has fallen out some mock drafts, which means he would likely garner pick No. 54 from the Sixers, if he garners one at all.
A good sign for Wayns, the Sixers are not opposed to drafting local talent in the second round. Last year's second-round selection Lavoy Allen was more productive than any Sixers' second-rounder in recent memory, and his play has earned him a spot in Doug Collins' rotation for years to come.