After a relatively successful season two years ago in which the Sixers reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals where they fell to the Boston Celtics in seven games, Philadelphia is coming off a disappointing year in which they failed to make the playoffs and big-name acquisition Andrew Bynum didn't play one minute on the court.
With that said, the NBA draft is the perfect tool to rebuild, reshape and revitalize a roster and look toward a bright future, something the 76ers and their fans need in the worst way. Over the past few weeks, rumblings have swirled across the NBA and its fanbase on what the Sixers should do with the 11th overall pick come Thursday night. Lucky for you, I'm here to digest it all.
While this year's draft is not considered to have an overwhelming amount of top-end talent, as in, say, the 2003 NBA draft, there is no doubting that teams across the league can find solid, young depth players throughout the two rounds.
This Sixers team needs just that.
A team with no real superstars, at least none who actually took the court last season, the Sixers have holes throughout their roster that need filling.
One of those holes is in the frontcourt. Without a true big man last season, the Sixers struggled in the paint and failed to have much of a presence inside.
The majority of mock drafts for this season have Cody Zeller, a 7'0", 230-pound center, going to Philadelphia at No. 11. The Indiana University product has been highly regarded as the Sixers' top choice and a likely destination for Zeller:
Indiana's Cody Zeller tested off the charts at Combine & believes he has a jumper worthy of "stretch four" status. Definite fit for #Sixers.— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) June 4, 2013
Sixers need to go for Cody zeller— Chief Thief (@Notimeoff4) June 24, 2013
With Andrew Bynum's future in Philadelphia uncertain, it is entirely possible that Zeller will make his way to the City of Brotherly Love by Friday.
However, not all Philadelphia fans are thrilled with the idea of Zeller wearing a Sixers uniform next season. Many fans have come to question Zeller's ability to play in the NBA, as well as his toughness level. Despite Zeller's athleticism and ability to score, some fans just don't want it to happen:
The ESPN lottery simulator refuses to let me believe in any scenario that doesn't stick the Sixers with Cody Zeller.— Giancarlo Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) May 22, 2013
I don't care if I have to stay up all night, I'm going to keep replaying Chad Ford's mock lottery until the Sixers don't draft Cody Zeller.— Ian Cohen (@en_cohen) May 8, 2013
A lack of a frontcourt was only one of Philadelphia's problems last season. Unlike two seasons ago in which Lou Williams, a non-starter, was the team's leading scorer, the Sixers practically had no production off the bench last year. Because of this, Philadelphia has been linked with several players who could immediately produce for the team in a role situation.
One of those players is C.J. McCollum. Having played his college ball at Lehigh University (an hour or so away from Philadelphia), McCollum would give his local team a chance to instantly improve their scoring. Despite only playing 12 games this past season for Lehigh due to injury, McCollum shot 51.9 percent from three-point range.
With the 76ers lacking a true scoring threat from the bench, McCollum could give this team something that they simply didn't have last season. According to their fans, the 76ers drafting McCollum would be a dream come true:
Definitely would love to see MCW or C.J. McCollum drafted by the Sixers. McCollum would be a nice fit IMO. They need a scorer.— Chris (@DurtyPuckhead) June 24, 2013
The more I watch C.J. McCollum, the more I want the #Sixers to take him. Also, the more I think he looks like Franklin the Turtle.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 19, 2013
if CJ McCollum drops to the Sixers at pick 11, it would make up for the Phillies so far this season #NBADraft— Mike Rozanski (@MikeRozanski) June 25, 2013
Despite the obvious want for McCollum, the question for the Sixers and their fans is: Will the team have the chance to take McCollum at No. 11?
With the 76ers struggling like they did this past year, this draft is a perfect opportunity to give their fans something to hope far. While Thursday night will most likely not solve all of Philly's roster problems, it sure is a chance for the team to add quality talent to a depleted roster and start building a solid team together.
Whether it's Zeller, McCollum or a name I haven't even mentioned, I'm sure Sixers fans can agree on one thing: Just draft a player who will be great.
Who would YOU like the Sixers to take with the 11th overall pick in Thursday night's NBA draft? Zeller? McCollum? Somebody else? Share your opinions and predictions for the Sixers' selection in the comment thread below!