76ers Draft: Make or Break for Billy King

Ron GloverSenior Analyst IJune 28, 2007

IconOn Draft Day 1986, the Philadelphia 76ers traded the number-one overall pick (ultimately Brad Daugherty) to the Cleveland Cavaliers for forward Roy Hinson. They also traded Moses Malone to the Washington Bullets for the rights to Jeff Ruland and Cliff Robinson.

I remember crying when I heard that Moses was traded. My faith in the 76ers franchise was crushed for many years.

In 1996, with a new front office in place, the 76ers once again won the draft lottery. This time they kept the pick and selected Allen Iverson, who followed in the footsteps of Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Malone, and Charles Barkley in becoming the face of the Sixers franchise.
In 2007, in one of the deepest drafts in history, Sixers GM Billy King has some holes to fill and some bargaining chips to work with...and he has to deliver if he wants to stay employed.

Philadelphia has three first-round picks—numbers 12, 21, and 30. The general consensus is that the Sixers need a point guard and a power forward.
I m more inclined to think they'll go after the latter.

Since his arrival in the Allen Iverson trade, Andre Miller has paid huge dividends for the 76ers. He's a pass-first point guard who elevates the play of his teammates—particularly Kyle Korver and Samuel Dalembert and I think the Sixers are committed to him over the long-term.  

Assuming the Sixers go after a power forward, then, Florida State's Al Thornton is the most logical candidate at number 12. At 6'8" and 220 pounds, Thornton is generally considered "NBA ready" —a versatile scorer, capable of putting the ball on the floor or using his outside range to keep defenders honest.

As late as June 27th, the rumor mill had the 76ers trading picks 12 and 21 to the Milwaukee Bucks for the number six—apparaently with an eye towards taking Jeff Green from Georgetown or Yi Jianlian from China.

This news came to light after word surfaced that Yi's agent would not allow the Bucks to attend his workout (the Sixers were allowed to attend) because he wants Yi to play in a large market.

He proceeded to warn the Bucks that Yi would not report if they drafted him.

I'm all for the 76ers moving up, and I don't mind giving up the 12th pick to get there—but 12 and 21 are too much.
I would give up 12 and 30—and maybe a player—to move up to number six. Or I'd wait to see if Yi's agent scared off enough teams for him to drop all the way to 12.
If the Sixers do move up to six, they'll have a number of options beyond Yi: Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah (whose stock is dropping), and of course Green (whose stock is rising).

Brandan Wright may also be there, but his refusal to work out against some players raises a flag for me. Still, I like his upside.

But enough speculation. If the Sixers do stand pat at 12, 21, 30, and 38, these are my selections:

12. Al Thornton—Florida State

A legitimate three, and a better shooter than Rodney Carney. Thornton would give the Sixers a true slasher/shooter and allow 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 who can come in and contribute.

Splitter has a thorough understanding of the game at both ends of the floor. At 7'1" and 245 pounds, he also has good footwork and a nice touch on the blocks.

Defensively, he rotates well to the ball, has very active hands, can face up the opposition, and doesn't mind physical play.

Morris Almond of Rice would also be a nice selection here—a bona fide scorer who can help off the bench.

30. Glen Davis—LSU

A feast or famine pick for King and the Sixers.

With Davis, you're either going to get Charles Barkley or Oliver Miller. The fact that he's unstoppable deep in the paint is enough for me to roll the dice.

Davis' wide base makes him an effective rebounder and a force in the middle. Nick Fazekas of Nevada—a 6'10" big man with a perimeter game—is also a possibility, but he may still 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?

Alternatively, Taurean Green of Florida would bring a winning attitude to a team sorely in need of one.

Of course, the likelihood of the Sixers keeping all four picks is low. If they do deal, I think three scenarios are especially intriguing: the 21 to Memphis for Hakim Warrick; the 21 and Willie Green to Portland for LaMarcus Aldridge; and the 30 to the L.A. Clippers for Shaun Livingston.

My hope is that the Sixers become more athletic and more defensively-sound in the draft—they need long players who can play unselfish D if they're going to make it work.

It's hard to say how things'll play out on Thursday, but some combination of the players above would go a long way towards getting the Sixers back to the playoffs in a wide-open Eastern Conference.

To say nothing of saving Billy King's job.


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