LL: 2011 NBA Mock Drafts, Rod Thorn Interview

Liberty Links: daily post with links to all things pertaining to the Philadelphia Sixers

Jonathan Givony of Draft Express has the Sixers taking Nikola Vucevic in his latest mock draft.

Doug Collins and 76ers brass have made no secret that they'd like to improve their frontcourt as much as possible on draft night, and have reportedly narrowed in on USC's Nikola Vucevic as their primary target. The Montenegro native would offer many of the same things as current starting center Spencer Hawes, but has a better body and is a little tougher around the rim.

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Chad Ford of ESPN has the Sixers taking Jordan Hamilton and Keith Benson in his latest mock draft.

Jordan Hamilton | SF | Texas

Analysis: The Sixers need size, but they also need shooting. With Andre Iguodala on the trading block, don't be surprised to see them grab Hamilton.

His ability to shoot the ball from range, combined with solid rebounding ability, could make him a surprise pick for Philly. Nikola Vucevic, Donatas Motiejunas and Markieff Morris are also possibilities here.

Keith Benson | C | Oakland

The Sixers continue to need bigs and Benson is one of the biggest players in the draft. He's skilled and a very good athlete for his size, he just needs to get stronger and improve his motor.

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Tom Moore of Philly Burbs has a video interview with Sixers President Rod Thorn. Here are some key points:

He admitted he has initiated some trade talk about Andre Iguodala, but claimed Iguodala isn't the only Sixer that other teams are interested in;

The Sixers are unlikely to move up from No. 16 in Thursday's draft, in part because of how there doesn't seem to be a big deal of difference "after the first three or four picks";

The new ownership hasn't suggested making any changes, such as adding or subtracting payroll;

There's a good chance the Sixers will use the 16th pick on a big man.

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Kate Fagan of Deep Sixer has the full transcript of the Rod Thorn interview.

This is my favorite quote:

"So to say that we're going to pick big, there's a good chance that we will, but we also may not."

Informative as hell, Rod!

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Raul Barrigon of Hoops Hype has an interview with Jrue Holiday.

I think we kind of found our core, we are a young team. I think that we'll make some changes... Finding a big man because we do need more rebound and shot-blocking on the defensive end.

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Many Sixers fans are interested in the prospects of Jonas Valanciunas falling to the Sixers at 16 after news broke that he'll stay overseas next season, but Jonathan Givony says he won't fall past 10, and Chad Ford says he won't fall past 14.

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Must read alert:

These situational stats breakdown posts from Draxt Express are absolutely must reads.

Big men

Overall, Biyombo ranks last in this group in points per-possession at 0.86, primarily because he didn't finish at the rim at a high rate and turned the ball over frequently. Like Valanciunas, Biyombo saw more than 80% of his shots at the basket, but he finished them at a 12% lower rate, making just 56.1% of them last season. He also turned the ball over on 25.8% of his half court possessions, the highest mark in this group, showing that, despite his ridiculously large hands, he struggled to hold onto the ball in traffic at times.

Forwards

Chris Singleton is known as one of the best defenders in this draft class, but his offensive efficiency of .86 PPP leaves a lot to be desired, as it ranks 2nd worst in this group after Chris Wright.

Singleton's mediocre ball-handling skills seem to be the main culprit here. He turns the ball over at a fairly high rate, (14.2% of possessions), which ranks him 6th in this group.

He gets out in transition more than any prospect at 3 possessions per game, but ranks dead last in scoring efficiency in this category, at a dreadful .905 PPP.

Singelton would be well served cutting out the 1.5 pull-up jumpers he shoots every game at the next level, as he only makes 29% of these attempts.

In catch and shoot situations he's far more effective, making 43% of his attempts at 1.28 points per shot, the 4th best in this group.

Guards

Jimmer Fredette unsurprisingly stands out in a variety of categories, most notably leading everyone in possessions per game by a wide margin at 26.97. Fredette's 1.03 PPP also ranks fifth overall, with him having the same ranking in the halfcourt.

The most ball-dominant player in the group, Fredette's spot-ups only account for 8% of his total possessions, while isolations and pick-and-rolls amazingly combine for over 50%. Fredette posts an average .889 PPP and .888 PPP on isolations and pick-and-rolls respectively, but the numbers are slightly more impressive given the immense number of possessions he uses and the defensive attention he sees.

Fredette doesn't disappoint with his pull-up jumpers, as his 0.952 PPS ranks fifth of all players, and his 227 attempts easily rank first overall. Jimmer likewise ranks fifth on guarded catch-and-shoots, though his 1.342 PPS aren't far off the first place mark of 1.390 from Charles Jenkins.

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