76ers Draft Review: Billy King Does Good

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76ers Draft Review: Billy King Does Good

IconSurprised?

 

If you know Billy King, you shouldn't be.

 

In my predraft report, I said the Philadelphia 76ers would use their glut of picks to move up in the draft. As so often happens to Philadelphia fans, I let my hopes cloud my vision.

 

As much as I wish he'd made a move, though, I do think King made good selections with his picks.

 
The more I read about Thaddeus Young, the more I like the kid. He's a top-tier athlete who can thrive next to Andre Iguodala in Mo Cheeks' up-tempo offense.
 
As a lefty, he can attack from the side opposite Iggy. Also, Young's quick feet make him a tough exterior defender. Finally, my favorite thing about him: He seems like he will gel with this team.
 
He's a smart kid (4.0 GPA at Georgia Tech), and is by all accounts a hard worker. The Sixers are nowhere near ready to compete for a championship—but at the tender age of twenty, Young will be around for awhile.
 
I became even happier with Young after learning more about Al Thornton. Thornton is the anti-Thaddeus Young: His aggregate GPA in ten semesters at Florida State barely adds up to 4.0.
 
It's said that Thornton loses focus easily and needs to work on his mental toughness. These aren't traits that allow an athlete to survive—much less prosper in Philadelphia.
 
In acquiring Jason Smith from the Heat, meanwhile, the Sixers added the power forward they desperately needed. Smith is a seven-foot big man who can shoot and run the floor. He's also capable of passing out of the low post, which is very important to the system the Sixers are trying to establish.
 
Smith's range of skills has drawn comparisons to that of Yi Jianlian. His mobility makes him a solid defender, and gives hope that he can continue to develop his post game. 
 
Though the team was in the market for a point guard, there weren't many prospects on the board when the Sixers' second pick came up. They drafted Petteri Koponen from Finland and traded him for Derrick Byars, adding to an already crowded pool of swingmen.
 
I really do like Byars—he plays defense and has range on his jumper. He also finishes strong at the hoop and absorbs contact on the way to the basket. That said, the Sixers' depth at swingman and limited roster space make me question the trade. 
 
Because they aren't contenders, the Sixers don't need immediate help. Koponen wouldn't hold a roster spot while playing in the Euroleague, and could ultimately develop into a very good point guard.
 
He would have been a better fit for Philly than Byars. 
 
I expected the Sixers to draft Kyrylo Fesenko—but I didn't expect them to trade him immediately afterwards. Fortunately, they swapped him for another big man: Herbert Hill.
 
Hill brings classic big-man ability that should be valuable off the bench. He rebounds, blocks shots, and rarely takes a bad look.
 
The fact that John Hollinger ranked Hill the 16th-best prospect has to mean something, doesn't it?
 
Overall, the Sixers drafted four very good players in a very deep draft. They filled their most gaping hole at power forward, and they didn't make any horrible trades.
 
In Philadelphia, that alone constitutes a small victory.
 

 
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