For the first time since 2007, the Philadelphia 76ers selected more than one player in the NBA draft. It was a luxury for Doug Collins and his gang to select two players with the potential of making contributions to the roster.
With their first selection at No. 16, the 76ers took 6-10, 240-pound forward Nikola Vucevic out of the University of Southern California.
The 20-year old native of Montenegro improved greatly from his sophomore season at USC, from 10.7 ppg and 9.4 rpg to 17.1 ppg and 10.3 rpg.
His game features and array of back-to-the-basket low-post moves, and he can even hit from deep. He will need to become more physical to be able to compete with the bigs of the NBA.
At No. 50, the 76ers went with local product Lavoy Allen, who played his home games on Broad Street in Philadelphia for Temple University.
Allen is a 6-9, 225-pound forward who is a tremendous rebounder. He left Temple as the all-time leader in rebounds with 1,147.
Allen will have to make an impact on the defensive end of the ball if he wants to be effective in the NBA. His scoring numbers were not eye-popping as he only averaged 11.6 ppg. He will never be a star, but can can be used as a banger down low for many years if he dedicates himself to the little things.
So who will be the better big man? The league will lockout on June 30 if a deal is not made. This probably means no summer leagues, which are the first chance for newly drafted players to develop their skills.
For these young men, it will come down to learning their roles and mastering them.
Vucevic has the potential to become a good player, but he must work at the things he is good at to make those skills nearly perfect and improve in the areas where he is mediocre to execute them well in the NBA.
Allen will have to embrace being a role player, but work to become one of the most dedicated role players in the NBA. Hard-nosed play and rebounding will be his meal ticket.
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