Friday, June 24, 2011

The experts grade the Sixers 2011 draft

The 2011 NBA Draft is in the books and the Sixers accomplished what they set out to do in drafting the best big man available to them. According to most reports, the Sixers had targeted Nikola Vucevic from the start and were happy to see him there for the taking at pick 16. While the Sixers got who they wanted, the draft experts were less than excited with the selection. Here is a sampling of what some experts are saying about the Sixers draft:

Chad Ford, ESPN: C
The Sixers needed size and so they took the biggest guy on the board, but this was a case of drafting need over talent. I think better players were on the board, even if they weren't 7-footers. Vucevic will be solid in the NBA, but he's far from being a potential star. Allen doesn't exactly get you excited after a lackluster four years at Temple.

Tom Ziller, SB Nation: C-
Most mocks had Vucevic here for the past couple weeks; even's pathetic mock drafter, Tom Ziller, got it right! But that doesn't make it a good pick. Not at all.

You've gotta beware these workout wonders. Before the NBA Draft Combine, where Vucevic measured as the biggest player in the draft, he was a borderline first-round pick. He played at USC for three years. He's a well-known entity by the people who play closest attention, and he was a borderline first-round pick until everyone realized he was tall. That's not good!

Fit has to be balanced with talent. The Sixers needed a big man and can probably give Vucevic more early minutes than they could a wing. But guys like Chris Singleton looked like such better prospects, it's hard to cheer such an uninspiring punt.

Mike Misek,
: B
Philadelphia wanted to go big, and they came away with the safest NCAA big man selection in the draft. Nikola Vucevic is a skilled scorer inside and out, makes good decisions with the basketball, and given the snail's pace of USC did not receive the proper appreciation for being a solid rebounder. Additionally, having played for Kevin O'Neill and Tim Floyd, he is a step ahead in terms of defensive preparation. While Vucevic is not going to be Dwight Howard, he has learned to be committed on that end, and has three years of former NBA coaches drilling man-to-man defensive principles into him. In the second round, the Sixers took a local kid in Temple’s Lavoy Allen. He won over Philadelphia in his two predraft workouts with the team, and worked his way to having the right to compete for a roster spot. C+
The Sixers needed size. They would have taken any big that was available here and Vucevic was the best available at 6-10. Taking Motiejunas would have been a bigger gamble and at least Vucevic has work ethic. He has no athleticism, none to speak of, and is, in a lot of ways, Spencer Hawes. But there's no point in creating a logjam for yourself just to avoid drafting for need. The Sixers could have done worse for how their roster is constructed. Lavoy Allen will not be joining us next year.

Chris Mannix,
There wasn't much size in the draft, and Vucevic can provide that and much more for a team that was relying on Spencer Hawes at the center spot. Vucevic is a physical and solid player who measured out as the biggest prospect of this class. His improved post game and mid-range game played a big part in his rise, too.

For more on my thoughts of the Vucevic selection, read my piece from yesterday.

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