With only eight days left until the 2014 NBA Draft, and more information coming out about who the Philadelphia 76ers might be interested in, I felt it would be a good time to throw out another mock draft.
Note: This is not who I would pick for the Sixers, but whom I think Sam Hinkie would select/trade up for based on fit and talent.
Pick No. 3: Andrew Wiggins (SF, Kansas)
According to Chad Ford’s latest mock draft on ESPN (subscription required), the Cavs were enamored with Joel Embiid after his recent workout and the Bucks are leaning towards Jabari Parker over Wiggins, Dante Exum, and others.
This suggests to many that Andrew Wiggins will be available when the Sixers are on the clock at No. 3, and according to some, he is their guy. Wiggins also visited the Sixers for an extended period of time on Monday and Tuesday, working out privately for the team with zero media access. While it is tough to take anything Hinkie does at face value, it would appear that Andrew Wiggins to Philadelphia is the likely scenario here.
And it makes a ton of sense. Wiggins has, arguably, the most upside of any player in this draft. He is freakishly athletic, extremely long, and fits the mold of a Brett Brown-type player (reminiscent of Kawhi Leonard). He can drive to the hoop off of the pick-and-roll, he can use his athleticism and length to shoot over smaller defenders, and, with some coaching, he can become a force offensively from the wing position. He is also a versatile and effective defensive player—adding credence to the Leonard connection—who will cause trouble for opposing perimeter players next to Michael Carter-Williams.
Pick No. 10: Nik Stauskas (SG, Michigan)
I am of the belief that Julius Randle will not get past Los Angeles/Sacramento (or the team either of them trades down with) at picks 7 and 8. With that in mind, I think the Sixers find a backcourt mate for Michael Carter-Williams with the 10th pick.
Stauskas is a really talented basketball player. Yes, a basketball player, not shooter. While he can still ball out from beyond the arc—he shot 44.2% last season for Michigan—the 2013-2014 Big Ten Player of the Year added new dimensions to his offensive game last season. He can now slash into the lane and create his own mid-range jump shot, which make him even more valuable; in fact, according to Hoop Math, only 34.6% of his field goals around the rim were assisted. His lateral quickness also suggests he will be less of a defensive liability than a guy like Doug McDermott.
Stauskas is the perfect 3rd option on a championship contending team, and the Sixers hope he can become just that next to their 3rd overall pick, in this case Wiggins, and MCW.
Pick No. 22 (from Memphis): Cleanthony Early (SF/PF, Wichita State)
Trade: Sixers send picks No. 32, No. 39, and Thad Young in exchange for No. 22 and Tayshaun Prince. The Sixers take on Prince’s $7.7 million for one year, and the Grizzlies get a much-needed wing scoring threat.
Sam Hinkie’s fireworks may not pop as early in the draft as they did last year, but believe me, they will pop big time on June 26. With a plethora of extra 2nd-round picks, he will use them and Thad to move back into the first round to grab a player who fits a remaining need.
Early is a rather polarizing figure late in the first round; I’ve seen him go anywhere from 18 (Phoenix) to 29 (OKC) and even early in the second round. I think he will go somewhere in-between, and that somewhere in-between is to the Sixers via a trade up to 22.
Early was the star of the undefeated Wichita State team that earned a No. 1 seed in the tournament, averaging 16.4 points per game. He is a great scorer around the rim, using an array of moves and his athleticism to score near the basket. According to Hoop Math, 31% of his shots last year were at the rim and he converted 69.8% of those attempts. He can also stretch the defense with an above-average mid-range game. His offensive capabilities would provide a great complement to the more defensively-minded Nerlens Noel in the frontcourt.
We will be doing another mock draft later in the week with both rounds covered. Between then and now, for the latest Sixers draft news, follow us on Twitter: @KhandymanSports