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Strengths and Weaknesses of Each Sixers 2014 NBA Draft Pick

The Philadelphia 76ers made a lot of noise at the 2014 NBA Draft, with General Manager Sam Hinkie coming close to outdoing his 2013 performance. After taking injured Kansas center Joel Embiid with the 3rd pick, he took point guard Elfrid Payton only to trade him to Orlando for the guy he really wanted, Croatian point-forward Dario Saric. In doing so, he gained a 2015 2nd-rounder and protected 2017 1st-rounder. He then made a lot of smart second-round picks, taking guys with first-round talent and upside.

Let’s look at the strength and weaknesses of each of the players the Sixers added to their roster on Thursday night:

Joel Embiid (C, Kansas – 3rd overall pick)

Strengths

Embiid has great potential as a rim protector (photo: Topeka Capital-Journal)

  • Solid frame for NBA big man (7′ tall, 7’6″ reach)
  • Very mobile and agile offensively in the paint (76.3 shooting % at rim, per Hoop-Math)
  • Array of offensive moves (can go back-to-the-basket and hit midrange jumpers)
  • Can get out and run in transition, has top-notch athleticism
  • Uses height/vertical jump to finish put-backs and dunks at rim
  • Good, aggressive weak-side defender, can cover ground quickly
  • Potential to be fantastic rim-protector, altered many shots at Kansas
  • Sets good screens

Weaknesses

  • Relatively new to basketball, far less experience than most prospects
  • Below-average court awareness, takes longer to act/react
  • Frequently in foul trouble due to slower defensive decision-making
  • Questionable durability (knee, back, foot injuries within last 12 months)
  • Very turnover prone in the post, gets stripped too often
  • Would benefit from adding a few pounds to deal with bigger centers

NBA Comparison: Hakeem Olajuwon (best-case), Sam Dalembert

Dario Saric (SF/PF, Croatia – 12th overall pick from ORL)

Strengths

Saric showed his stuff at the U-19 world championships against some of the US’ top prospects (photo: Getty Images)

  • Could play point-forward or wing in the NBA
  • Skilled post player AND competent floor general
  • Incredible court vision and feel for the game, rare for player of his size (6’10”)
  • Very underrated rebounder and is aggressive on the boards
  • Solid mid-range game
  • Defensively, rarely makes mental mistakes, almost always in right place at right time

Weaknesses

  • Athleticism and foot speed leave much to be desired
  • Too small to defend post-up 4s, not fast enough to defend wings
  • Lack of explosiveness above the rim
  • Below-average three-point shooter
  • Jack-of-all-trades, not master of any

NBA Comparison: Boris Diaw

KJ McDaniels (SF, Clemson – 32nd overall pick)

Strengths

McDaniels has the tools and skills to be a great NBA defender (photo: Fansided)

  • Outstanding athlete
  • Uses jumping ability to rebound basketball effectively
  • Very strong offensively in transition
  • One of the best on-the-ball defenders in the draft
  • Can guard PGs, SGs, and SFs
  • Hard to post him up due to good footwork
  • Reads game well defensively, disrupts plays off-the-ball as well
  • Competent scorer (17 PPG at Clemson)

Weaknesses

  • Bad shooter off the dribble
  • Struggles with offensive decision-making
  • Limited number of ways to finish around the rim (can really only dunk)
  • Needs to improve ball-handling

NBA Comparison: Andre Iguodala (best-case), Jeffery Taylor

Jerami Grant (SF, Syracuse – 39th overall pick)

Grant is the latest athletic wing Sam Hinkie has picked up (photo: Getty Images)

Strengths

  • Very athletic
  • Measurables were great, with 8’11” standing reach and 7’3″ wingspan
  • Runs the floor extremely well
  • Length, lateral quickness, size, and athleticism could allow him to be top-notch wing defender
  • Finishes well around the rim
  • Good pick-and-roll player
  • High motor, plays hard

Weaknesses

  • Classic tweener, may never find true position in NBA
  • Needs to put on weight
  • Poor shooter and ball-handler on perimeter
  • No post-up game
  • Below-average facilitator

NBA Comparison: Thaddeus Young

Pierre Jackson (PG, Turkey/D-League – from NO)

Jackson was too good for the D-League, so he went overseas (photo: NBA.com)

Strengths

  • Very aggressive scoring mentality (29.1 PPG for NBADL’s Idaho Stampede)
  • Solid three-point and mid-range shooter
  • Has shown elite quickness to get to the rim
  • Can create shots for himself
  • Well above-average ball-handler
  • Much-improved facilitator

Weaknesses

  • Lack of size (only 5’10”)
  • Defensive liability due to size
  • Not great in transition

NBA Comparison: Ty Lawson (best-case), Isaiah Thomas

Vasilije Micic (PG, Serbia – 52nd overall pick)

Micic is a prototypical floor general (photo: Sportklub)

Strengths

  • Good size (6’5″) and sturdy frame, can withstand NBA PGs
  • Elite passing ability
  • Very solid pick-and-roll player
  • Great basketball IQ and good feel for the game
  • He’s a leader
  • Not turnover-prone
  • Sound defensive fundamentals

Weaknesses

  • Average athlete
  • Inconsistent shooter
  • Could be defensive liability due to bad lateral quickness

NBA Comparison: Jose Calderon

Jordan McRae (SG, Tennessee – 58th overall pick from SA)

McRae will likely compete for the starting SG spot with Hollis Thompson and James Anderson (photo: AP)

Strengths

  • Good length and jumping ability
  • Solid outside and mid-range shooter
  • Confident scorer
  • Unselfish, can find open teammates
  • Can block passing lanes defensively
  • Good shot-blocker

Weaknesses

  • Very thin frame, needs to get stronger
  • Struggles to deal with contact
  • Unconventional shooting mechanics
  • Could improve shot-selection
  • Below-average ball-handler

NBA Comparison: Lawrence Moten

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Categories: 76ers, Editorial

Author:Manav Khandelwal

I am the founder of Khandyman Sports, and follow all Philadelphia pro sports teams religiously. I also write for the Hoop76, covering the Sixers for ESPN, and am a credentialed Flyers reporter for Main Line Media News.

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