Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJune 19, 2010
Philadelphia 76ers -The Sixers enter the draft in probably the most intriguing position. It will be The Iladelph's move here that will do the most to dictate the remainder of the lottery. Assuming John Wall goes No. 1, what do Sixers do? The biggest area of need is probably the point guard position. However, in his first season of full-time duty, Louis Williams averaged just over 14 points a night despite dishing only 4.2 assists per contest. He was relieved admirably at times by rookie Jrue Holiday, the UCLA product that logged just over 24 minutes a game while averaging 8 points and 3.8 assists. Moreover, there is not a point guard promising enough to take in this spot if Wall is off the board at No. 1 as expected. What looked like a surefire pick of Evan Turner here just a few days ago all of a sudden is not automatic. The Sixersadded two solid pieces in the swapping of Samuel Dalembert to Sacramento for Andres Nocioni and the still-developing Spencer Hawes. Pencil Hawes into the starting lineup at center and think of Nocioni as a potential Sixth Man of the Year kind of guy in this roster's current makeup. That leaves Thaddeus Young as the most likely starter at small forward. Then there is Andre Iguodala. Is he the face of the franchise? Does he stay or does he go? If the Sixers are intent on keeping the only thing they have that is close to an all-star caliber player, then it would seem that drafting Turner at No. 2 would conflict with that philosophy. It would also add one more body to an already crowded young back court. What Philadelphia really needs is front court help. And it needs it in the worst way. Elton Brand makes way too much to be a 13-6 guy. And the law of diminishing returns has caught up with him. Gone is Dalembert, taking his 1.8 blocks and 9.6 boards per game with him. Young can help out here when new coach Doug Collins runs a small lineup, but he is not going to log major minutes at the position if the Sixers expect to get out of the lottery. That leaves Hawes, who many think will be a bust, and Jason Smith, who everyone recognizes is a bust, as the only other guys to log minutes. It is an unenviable roster situation to say the least.
So what about July 1? With the roster's current makeup, the selection of Turner at No. 2 would be a mistake. No matter what he provides, Philly cannot justify loading its back court down even more with all of the problems it has down low. More than anything, they need a trade. Maybe two. Iguodala has been the subject of trade rumors for the past two seasons and no one outside of the Clippers organization is relieved that Brand is in Philadelphia. One of those two must go for the sake of the team's salary cap. Iguodala is more movable but also offers the most value to the Sixers. Besides Igoudala's on-court abilities, he will draw some fans who already connect him with the team. Nobody is buying tickets to see Elton Brand. It just isn't happening. Even if he experiences a renaissance, Brand is a very unglamorous 20-10 guy. If I had to bet, I'd say the Sixers work hard to try and move this pick, making everyone believe they are sold on Turner. At the last minute, the trade attempts fall through as all the teams with the cap space to absorb the contracts of Brand or Iguodala will not be willing to sacrifice it with the free agent class that is looming just a week later. The Sixers will have more luck trading one of those two to a team that misses out on its free agent wish list. Again, see the Knicks. Moreover, the Sixers are rumored to be seeking a young all-star in exchange for some combination of Brand/ Iguodala/No. 2 pick. No one who owns a young all-star is going to be too eager to do that deal. So here are three scenarios. If the Sixers trade the pick, Turner will go No. 2 overall to whomever was enamored enough to make the deal. If they somehow draft Turner, Iguodala will be moved before the summer is out. But the most likely scenario is much simpler. When all trade attempts fall through, Philadelphia will finally tip its hand and pass on Turner for Georgia Tech power forward Derrick Favors. Face it. Favors is 6-10, 245 and has yet to turn 19. He is an athletic freak that could provide everything in the post the Sixers current combination of players cannot. Favors will need to continue to develop his offensive skill set, his defense is already strong and his potential is immense. While I personally like Favors as the long-term complement to New Jersey's Brook Lopez, Favors makes the most sense for Philadelphia here given its current roster. Besides, word is that Collins prefers Favors to Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins and you don't bring in a guy with Collins' chops to ignore what he wants on the roster. Call if Favors to Philly.
Sidenote: The last time Philly picked in the lottery, it took Thabo Sefalosha with the No. 13 pick in 2006. While Sefaloshaquickly became a Chicago Bull, it wasn't an atrocious pick given the lack of depth in the first round that year. However, a little better scouting could have netted Philadelphia its franchise point guard as Rajon Rondo was taken at pick No. 19. Don't fret too much Philly faithful, Hawks fans know how you feel. It has been a terrible decade drafting for the ATL. In 2006 the Hawks took Shelden Williams at No. 5, leaving Brandon Roy to go sixth to the Blazers and Rudy Gay to go eighth to Memphis. Williams, whose nickname "The Landlord" may have reflected his aptitude for real estate ownership as much as it did his ability to defend the post, may well be the only man in the history of the NBA whose wife, Candace Parker, can beat him in a game of one on one. And as bad as that draft was for Hawks fans, it only exasperated frustrations from the 2005 draft in which Atlanta took Marvin Williams with the second pick, allowing Deron Williams to go third to Utah and Chris Paul to go fourth to New Orleans. Even Raymond Felton would have been a better value for Atlanta. He went fourth to the Bobcats. So it would be hard for Philadelphia to be the worst-drafting team in the history of the league.