For Billy King It's Make or Break.
Draft Day 1996: With a new front office in place the 76’ers once again win the draft lottery this time around keeping the pick and selecting Allen Iverson. Iverson would follow in the footsteps of Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Malone and Charles Barkley in becoming one of the faces of the 76’ers franchise.
Draft Day 2007: This years draft has the potential to be one of the most talented drafts in history. Headed by freshman sensations Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the 76’ers have three first round picks at nos. 12,21 and 30. 76’ers GM Billy King has some bargaining chips to work with and should be able to address the need for a scorer, defender and a low post presence all in one night.
Looking at the 76’ers needs, the consensus seems to be a point guard and a power forward, The 76’ers are in dire need of a power forward that can come in a contribute right away. I’m confident that the 76’ers will commit themselves to point guard Andre Miller, since his arrival in the Allen Iverson trade Miller has paid huge dividends for the 76’ers. Benefiting most from Miller’s arrival were sharpshooter Kyle Korver and Samuel Dalembert. Miller is a pass first point guard, which is what the 76’ers need.
Stepping out of Iverson’s shadow was Andre Iguodala; the third year pro posted career numbers (18ppg. 5rpg. 5gpg and 2spg) last season and assumed the leadership role in the locker room - something the young franchise sorely needed.
I see the core of the 76’ers as being Iguodala, Miller. Korver, Dalembert and Rodney Carney, with Willie Green, Shavlik Randolph and Louis Williams as key players off the bench. One player that I would like to see brought back is Joe Smith who is a free agent, Smith who came over in the Iverson deal played like anything but a throw in, averaging 9 points and 7 rebounds since joining the 76’ers, including double-doubles in the last three games.
The overwhelming consensus has the Sixers standing pat at #12 and taking Florida State forward Al Thornton. At 6’8” 220 lbs., Thornton at age 24 is polished and by many accounts “NBA ready”. He is a versatile scorer, capable of putting the ball on the floor or using his outside range to keep defenders honest.
As late as 6/27/07 the rumor mill has the 76’ers trading picks #12 and #21 to the Milwaukee Bucks for the #6 overall pick, from what has been put out there the Sixers are either posturing to take forward Jeff Green out of Georgetown or Yi Jialian from China. This development came to light after word surfaced that Yi’s agent would not allow the Bucks to attend the workout (Philadelphia was allowed to attend) because he wants Yi to play in a larger market. He proceeded to warn the Bucks that if they drafted Yi he would not report to them.
I’m all for the 76’ers moving up and I don’t mind giving up the 12th pick to get there, but #12 and #21 is too much for me. I would give up #12 and #30 and maybe a player to move up to #6. Or I would just see if Yi’s agent scared off enough teams for him to drop into Philly’s lap. But let’s say this trade is pulled off you have several options at #6 – Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah (stock is dropping) and of course Green (stock is rising) remember I want a forward with the first pick, Brandan Wright is also there, but his refusal to work out against some players raises a flag for me as well as some GMs causing his stock to drop a little, but I like his upside.
Let’s say for all intents and purposes the Sixers stay at nos. 12,21,30 and 38. Here are my selections:
#12 Al Thornton – Florida State – a better shooter than Rodney Carney, Thornton is a legitimate “3”. This gives you a true slasher/shooter at the position and allows Kyle Korver to be more of a threat off the bench. Joakim Noah is still a possibility here.
#21. Tiago Splitter – Tau Vitoria. Euroleague – Finally the Sixers draft a foreign player that will come in and contribute. At 7’1” 245, Splitter has a thorough understanding of the game at both ends of the floor. Has good footwork and has a nice touch on the blocks, uses a right-handed half hook. Defensively, he rotates well to the ball and has very active hands, can face up the opposition and doesn’t mind physical play. Morris Almond – Rice - is a nice selection here, a bona fide scorer that can help the bench.
#30. Glen Davis – LSU - This is a feast or famine pick not for Davis but for Billy King and the Sixers. I think here you’re going to get visions of Charles Barkley or Oliver Miller. The fact that once he gets deep in the paint he is unstoppable is enough for me to roll the dice on Davis. His wide base makes him an effective rebounder and a force in the paint. Nick Fazekas – Nevada - is a 6’10 big man with a perimeter game, may even be available at #38.
#38. D.J. Strawberry – Maryland – Considered by many to be the best athlete in the draft, why not get him on a team full of young thoroughbreds. Taurean Green – Florida – Brings a winning attitude to a team sorely in need of one.
Now I know the likeliness of the Sixers keeping all three picks are slim but you never know.
Here are some trade scenarios that interested me.
1. Trade 21st pick to Memphis for forward Hakim Warrick
2. Trade 21st pick and Willie Green to Portland for LaMarcus Aldridge
3. Trade 30th Pick to L.A. Clippers for Shaun Livingston
My hope is that the Sixers become more athletic and more defensively sound, I believe that you need “long” players willing to play defense and sacrifice in order to make it work. These may not be their selections tomorrow night, but these are the players I feel can put them on the road back to the playoffs in an Eastern Conference that is wide open.
And possibly save one man’s job.
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