The Philadelphia 76ers’ needs coming into the draft were pretty clear: an athletic, back-to-the-basket big man as well as a top of the line pure shooter/scorer.
1st Round, Pick 15: Maurice Harkless (G/F, St. John’s)
Here is a full scouting report on the 6’8″ swingman out of Saint John’s, but I think when you read it one thing becomes clear: He’s almost a carbon copy of current Sixers small forward Andre Iguodala. Maurice averaged 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per game in his only college season.
Harkless is a freak athlete, playing good defense, running well in transition, crashing the glass with ferocity and getting to the rim with ease. All four of those traits are shared by Iggy, who will most likely be shipped out of town. It only makes sense that Rod Thorn would go after a player like Iguodala to replace him.
“Moe” also comes with some of Iguodala’s bad traits. He has been known for taking bad shots and over-dribbling at time. If Collins is given time to groom him, however, I think he’ll develop into a nice swingman with even more potential than “the other A.I.”.
Unfortunately, this pick also means that the Sixers won’t get the strong, athletic big man they’ve been coveting since the 2011-2012 season ended—Terrence Jones, Perry Jones III, Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller were all on the board when the 76ers made their pick.
1st Round, Pick 27 [from MIA]: Arnett Moultrie (PF, Mississippi State)
Instead of waiting to grab a big man in the second round, the Philadelphia 76ers decided to deal their No. 45 pick and a future first-rounder to the Miami Heat for 27th overall pick Arnett Moultrie.
Moultrie is another freak athletically—his upside is similar to Harkless—who will be a project for coach Doug Collins. The Sixers might now part ways with second-round steal Lavoy Allen or former center Spencer Hawes due to this move; Moultrie will bring good ball-handling in the post, fantastic rebounding on both ends of the floor and an overall offensive presence within 16 feet. He is bigger and stronger than SF/PF Thaddeus Young and more athletic than PF/C Elton Brand. He’s a hybrid big man who could be a future All-Star down the road.
One of Moultrie’s biggest knocks is that he takes too many outside jump shots—an area where he’s struggled to score consistently. His game awareness and polish on defense will need work, which means that he’ll need some mentoring from the Sixers veterans.
He’s another player with a lot of athleticism, a lot of potential and a lot of work left to do if he wants to meet first-round expectations. The Sixers may have given up a little too much, but it wasn’t likely that they’ll get a better player over the next two years with a first-round pick.
2nd Round, Pick 54 [to Nets]: Tornike Shengelia (SF, International)
Not a team that has been inclined to draft international players over the years, the 76ers decided to use the draft-and-stash technique with versatile forward Tornike Shengelia who hails from the eastern European/west Asian nation of Georgia.
Shengelia is an athletic small forward with the size to be a good role player in the NBA. Like Harkless, Shengelia is much better when he attacks the rim than when he shoots from the outside, but his ferocious rebounding and defensive intensity make him worthy of a No. 54 pick.
Trading him to the Nets for cash doesn’t really make sense; he would be a nice addition to the roster in a couple of years..