This should be a good draft for the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers should be able to come away with a player when they pick at No. 15 in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday, June 28 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
The Sixers have looked at a number of NBA prospects over the last four weeks. And most of them have been big men. That appears to be the team’s greatest need. Some of the top frontcourt players who have come in to work out have been 6-foot-9 Terrence Jones (Kentucky), 6-foot-10 Arnett Moultrie (Mississippi State), 6-foot-11 John Henson (North Carolina), 7-foot Tyler Zeller (North Carolina), 6-foot-9 Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure) and 6-foot-10 Kyle O’Quinn (Norfolk State).
Jones and Moultrie are major players. Henson and Zeller are solid players as well. Nicholson and O’Quinn have a lot of ability, too. Most of these players should be available when the Sixers make their first round pick. Nicholson is viewed as a late, first-round pick. O’Quinn is expected to be selected in the second round.
With two picks in the second round at No. 45 and 54, O’Quinn wouldn’t be a bad pick for the Sixers. The Spartans’ big man was the MEAC Player of the Year. He averaged 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds a game. O’Quinn gained national attention for his play in the NCAA tournament. He was a huge reason why Norfolk State upset Missouri in the first round. He’s a strong inside player who can score and rebound. O’Quinn is also a good defender. His stock has been rising over the last few weeks. If the Sixers take him, they will more than likely have to use the first of their two picks in the second round. He probably won’t be there at No. 54.
The Sixers are coming off a season where they finished with a 35-31 record landing in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. They defeated the Chicago Bulls in six games in the first round, then battled the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals before losing in seven games.
If they could add two players from this draft, they should be in good shape. The key is to get two players who can get into the rotation. A year ago, the Sixers drafted 7-foot center Nikola Vucevic from USC in the first round (16th pick). They also picked 6-foot-9 power forward Lavoy Allen from Temple in the second round (50th pick). Vucevic averaged 5.5 points and 4.8 rebounds a game his rookie year. Allen tallied 4.1 points and 4.2 rebounds a game his first season. Of course, Allen really stepped up in the playoffs and particularly against the Boston Celtics where he did a good job of guarding Kevin Garnett. Allen’s numbers went up in the postseason averaging 6.1 points and 4.9 rebounds a game.
The Sixers are in a similar position this year where they could get a couple players who could make a difference.
The Philadelphia 76ers will have the No. 15th pick in the first round of the NBA draft on June 28. The Sixers also have two picks in the second round at No. 45 and No. 54.
The Sixers will be looking to add a player or two to next year’s roster. The team is coming off a season where they finished in the eighth spot in the NBA Eastern Conference. However, the Sixers made an impressive run in the postseason, losing to the Boston Celtics in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Sixers could use a dominant big man at center or a strong player in the post. They may be able to draft a couple of big men with two of their picks. The Sixers have some power forwards and centers that will be available when their slot comes in the draft. Here are some players the Sixers could focus on with the draft just a few weeks away.
Terrence Jones, Kentucky, 6-foot-9, 252 pounds:
Jones was a key player on Kentucky’s national championship team. He averaged 12.5 points and 7.0 rebounds a game. He took up a lot of space around the basket. Jones can score inside. He complimented Anthony Davis, who will be the No. 1 pick in the draft. He’s a solid defender.
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State, 6-foot-10, 230 pounds:
Moultrie has great size and length. He can put the ball on the floor. He can take it to the basket. He averaged 15.8 points and 10.6 rebounds a game. He has good range on his shot. He’s a good rebounder.
Jared Sullinger, Ohio State, 6-foot-9, 280 pounds:
Sullinger is a big body. He knows how to get position around the basket. He was a dominant inside player in the Big Ten Conference. He averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds a game. Whenever Ohio State needed a big basket, they went inside to Sullinger. He’s a strong inside player.
John Henson, North Carolina, 6-foot-11, 220 pounds:
Henson has the height and length to play center and power forward. He averaged 13.8 points and 10.1 rebounds a game. Henson is a big man who can run the floor. He has a nice touch from 10 to 12 feet away from the basket. He’s fundamentally sound. He plays hard at both ends of the floor.
Meyers Leonard, Illinois, 7-foot-1, 245 pounds:
Leonard is one of the true centers in the draft. He averaged 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds a game. He does a good job of going to the boards. Leonard takes good shots in the post. Leonard has the height and size most teams are looking for at this position.
Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure, 6-foot-9, 225 pounds:
Nicholson looks like a late first round pick. He averaged 18.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. Nicholson can score inside as well as outside. He played extremely well in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament and the NCAA tournament. He’s a good all-around player.
Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State, 6-foot-10, 240 pounds:
O’Quinn opened up a lot of eyes in the NCAA tournament leading Norfolk State to a huge upset over Missouri. He averaged 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds a game. O’Quinn was named the MEAC Player of the Year. He had a terrific showing in the Portsmouth Invitational Camp. He has already worked out for the Sixers. O’Quinn’s stock seems to be rising.