With just less than a week to go until the 2014 NBA Draft, we have recently received news that could be detrimental to the Philadelphia Sixers. Joel Embiid, the seven-footer from Kansas, has suffered a stress fracture that will require foot surgery. This injury could significantly change the future of the Cavaliers, Bucks, and Sixers. With Embiid out, let’s take a look at how this will impact who the Sixers select in this draft.
Pick No. 3: Jabari Parker (SF, Duke)
Although Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins would be the ideal pick for the Sixers, I believe that they will end up with Parker, who is definitely not a bad alternative. Wiggins has more potential than Parker and perhaps would help the Sixers more in the long run, but Embiid’s foot injury will severely hamper the Sixers’ ability to draft Wiggins (barring a trade).
Parker is one of the few players in the draft who are ready to make an impact in the NBA in his first year. Parker would be a great scoring option to accompany Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, and the No. 10 pick in the draft. It is likely that Thaddeus Young may be traded at some point during this draft in return for another draft pick which would the Sixers weak at the forward position.
I believe that Wiggins will be taken 1st by Cleveland and Dante Exum will go to Milwaukee. Exum makes sense in Milwaukee, because the 6’6 guard would fit nicely in the backcourt next to Brandon Knight and can take on a portion of the scoring load. In recent years, the NBA Draft has shown great unpredictability, and so I think Parker will still be on the board when Philadelphia is on the clock.
Pick No. 10: Zach Lavine (SG, UCLA)
The stock of the former UCLA guard Zach Lavine has been on the rise since his vertical leap was measured at 46 inches. Lavine would complement Carter-Williams well in the backcourt due to his length and athleticism. Being an athletic guard enables him to be more well-rounded because not only can he drive to the basket and score on offense, but he can also be a good defender.
His play style draws comparisons to a young Andre Iguodala, who came into the league as a shooting guard and started as just an athlete. Iguodala has developed his game over time and he was recently voted to All-Defensive 1st Team. The athleticism and growing talent within this possible starting lineup is ridiculous:
PG: Michael Carter-Williams
SG: Zach Lavine
SF: Jabari Parker
PF: Thaddeus Young/TBD
C: Nerlens Noel
Although this starting lineup lacks a pure shooter, every one of these players will have a couple years to work on their jump shot before this team is contending anyway. In addition, signing a floor-spacer to come off the bench is not the hardest thing to do in today’s NBA.
Pick No. 32: Patric Young (PF/C, Florida)
Patric Young would be good player to put in off the bench because of his size and athleticism. Young is a player who will give 110% on the court and is a high-motor player. His post game needs to be polished, but defensively he can fight down low and provide some interior protection.
Pick No. 39: DeAndre Kane (PG/SG, Iowa State)
During his time at Iowa State, DeAndre Kane proved he can be a good scorer, especially during the NCAA tournament. He scored 24 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out 7 assists, and scored the game-winner as his Cyclones beat UNC in what turned out to be Kane’s final win in college. Kane could be a reliable option off the bench for the Sixers at both guard spots.
Pick No. 43 (from Atlanta): LaQuinton Ross (SF, Ohio State)
Trade: Sixers trade picks No. 47 and No. 52 to the Hawks in return the No. 43 pick and the Hawks’ 2015 2nd round pick. The Sixers would be moving up to get a decent bench player, while the Hawks would gain more depth to help deal with the injuries that severely affected them last year.
LaQuinton Ross would be a solid wing player for the Sixers off of the bench because of his 7-foot wingspan and his ability to score. He could play either the 3 or the 2 because of his length and athleticism which makes him more of a valuable player. If he develops his jump shot, he could be a key role player for the Sixers in the future.
Pick No. 54: Jordan McRae (SG/SF, Tennessee)
Jordan McRae would be asked to play a slightly different role for the Sixers, as opposed to his role with Tennessee. In college, he carried much of the scoring load for his team, but with the Sixers he would need to be a role wing player who can not only score but defend as well. He can also hit his mid-range and outside jumpshots with consistency, which could come in handy for a team whose starting lineup lacks an outside shooter.