2012 NBA Draft: 6 Undrafted Free Agents the Philadelphia 76ers Should Target
The 2012 NBA Draft has come and gone, and the Philadelphia 76ers had another active draft in which they surprised many by selecting Moe Harkless with No. 15 overall pick and trading for the No. 27 pick, Arnett Moultrie.
Now comes the offseason, which includes the process of trades, re-signing one's own players, signing veteran free agents and looking at the league's undrafted free agents (UDFAs).
There are always the select 60 whose names are called by David Stern or deputy commissioner Adam Silver, but there are dozens of others who weren't fortunate to make the cut. Sometimes it is because of injury or because of other concerns that make NBA executives less willing to take a flier on them.
2012 is another great example, featuring at least fifteen high-caliber college players who could help NBA rosters in the short-term. The goal of signing any undrafted free agent is to get an effective role player, and if you're lucky, find a potential NBA starter whose potential was unaccounted for by the rest of the league.
Here are six such players who GM Rod Thorn and the Sixers should be looking at.
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Hollis Thompson (G/F, Georgetown)
The 76ers' biggest weakness in the playoffs last season was shooting, and more specifically hitting jump shots from all over the floor.
Thompson was an excellent shooter in college, averaging 12.5 points in his junior year at Georgetown while shooting over 43 percent from beyond the arc. He can fill it up on any given day and could be one of the deadliest three-point threats to don a Sixers uniform.
Thompson is also a willing passer and rebounder, two things the Sixers will need out of a shooting role player. He'll most likely be getting his minutes—probably around 15 of them per game—at small forward, a position that will be stretched thin by the imminent departure of Andre Iguodala.
Not only will he fill a glaring need, but he'll be there to take some of the pressure off of first-round pick Moe Harkless.
Scott Machado (G, Iona)
One of the several players on this list who was expected to be drafted, Machado is a pure point guard who could serve as a nice backup to youngster Jrue Holiday.
Machado was impressive in his four years at Iona, but more so in his senior campaign. He averaged 13.6 points, 9.9 assists—which led the nation—and shot nearly 50 percent from the field. He also got 1.6 steals per game.
Machado lacks the defensive presence and athleticism currently to be an NBA-quality starter, but he is one of the best facilitators in the 2012 rookie class and will be a more-than-serviceable reserve behind Jrue.
Zack Rosen (G, Penn)
Since Rosen played at nearby Penn for four years, Sixers fans know what the 2012 Ivy League Player of the Year can bring to the table in 2012-13.
Rosen gave Ivy League defenses fits over his four years, scoring with ease and facilitating the offense. He is a point guard in the very sense of the word—similar to Machado, in fact—because he has great floor leadership and knows how to get his teammates the ball. In addition, his ability to score in traffic makes it tougher for defenses to predict what he's going to do next.
Rosen won't have the physical capability to play for 30 minutes a game, but like Machado, he'll be a serviceable backup to Jrue Holiday.
Michael Eric (C, Temple)
Another local college product, Michael Eric would be a nice fit in the Sixers frontcourt rotation.
Now that the team re-signed Lavoy Allen, the biggest weakness is center with the likely departure of starter Spencer Hawes.
Eric won't bring much in the way of scoring, but then again that's what Moultrie and Nikola Vucevic are there to do. The Sixers struggled mightily when it came to rebounding and blocking shots last season, two things Eric excelled at in college—he averaged 8.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in his senior season.
If the Sixers don't sign another high-profile center and save the cap space for 2013, then Eric will be a quality backup to share minutes with Vucevic.
Tu Holloway (G, Xavier)
Tu Holloway, one of the highest-scoring guards in the country, would be a nice fit as well backing up Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner.
Holloway played the point in college but has the scoring touch to play shooting guard in the NBA. He is an excellent penetrator with a decent outside shot; he could work a little on shot selection, but overall he is an excellent all-around scorer—he averaged over 17 points per game in his junior and senior seasons.
The 23-year-old is also an above-average passer and rebounder. He will be able to distribute the ball pretty well in the NBA and he is a fierce rebounder who goes for loose balls. Holloway is also a decent defender and excellent free throw shooter; in short, he'll be one of the better backups in the Eastern Conference.
Scoop Jardine (PG, Syracuse)
Scoop probably isn't as good as Holloway, but his Philly roots—he played at Neumann-Goretti in high school—make him a good one-year fit for the Sixers.
Jardine is subpar when it comes to being a floor general and playing defense, but he's a fantastic ball-handler with a sweet mid-range game. All he'll be asked to do on this team is work the clock and find open looks for his athletic teammates—Thaddeus Young, Moe Harkless, etc.
He isn't by any means a long-term project, but Jardine could end up being a nice role player for Philly in 2012-13.
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