I am a bulls fan and avid poster at the sbn site Blog-a-Bull. Recently, being the offseason and all, one of our posters decided to play a game (which is common throughout sbn sites) where various different posters would play gm for some team and go through a "mock draft" of sort, choosing prospects (in order) and explaining why that pick works for their team. I volunteered to the 76ers, because the creator of this "draft thread" stated that it would be extremely challenging, and i like challenges.
Of course I myself am not a sixers fan, so i had to do some research on the sixers situation both cap wise, direction wise, and what they were trying to create. The challenge became thus; the 76ers, to me, seemed to have no real direction in their roster at this current state. A lot of what was happening with the roster was a big question mark. It was hard to consider the sixers roster because it seemed that in a matter of two seasons there could literally be a brand new core of players (well, with the exception of maybe jru holiday and thaddeus young).
At any rate, I tried my best to play gm, and made a pick for the sixers, i tried to evaluate what prospect could possibly help the sixers the most going forward, and tried to piece together whatever tidbits i could find in articles about prospects, i did put a lot of thought and work into my choice, and so id like to share with you my pick. Sinec im an outsider and not an actual sixers fan, i just wanted to have my pick evaluated by peers who actually understood the subject matter better than me, and to also find out how much i suck at picking (if that ends up being the case). So below is my pick:
This was genuinely hard for several reasons. A lot about the 76ers is up in the air. Its not even just the bynum situation. If they sign bynum they still dont know how evan turner is going to pan out, the limits of Jru Holidays growth, how hawes fits with bynum, if Lavoy allen can consistently bring it night in and night out. If they lose bynum, by some standards they might be better off for a rebuild, if they keep bynum then they have to figure out how effective bynum could be, if he could be built around, and how to compliment that roster.
Because of this drafting for need should be thrown out the window for the Sixers. At the same time, drafting the bpa in this draft is amazingly difficult because of the nature of the draft. Everyone from 10-20 are almost completely interchangeable. Heck i could see guys who are supposed to be second rounders chosen by the mid-first.
The 76ers are in a situation where this draft pick matters to them, they need to establish a core with or without bynum and regardless of bynums decision, they are looking to the future to be a competetive team, not in the present.
The best commodity the 76ers have right now is cap space. If bynum leaves they have a ton of it, if he stays, well the next year some of their bigs expire and they can eventually bring themselves to a level of flexibility to build around him.
Im sort of glad that THEKILLERWHALE’s blazers picked zeller. I might have picked Zeller as the “safe” pick, but probably not the best pick. For example, adams has the potential to be a better center (or even pf), ditto with dieng, plumlee might just be as good as zeller (which might not be a good thing actually), and if bynum stays, zeller could effectively be the 4th best big on the roster (with Allen and Hawes just being better due to experience and skill). Not only that, zeller didnt really fit a need, though many believe he might. The 76ers even without bynum have a good selection of bigs in hawes and allen. Its not great or dominating, but it is enough for them to not be absolute garbage while still rebuilding. Zeller might not really be better than them, and dieng as high as i am on him, is more designed to be a complimentary big just like hawes.
In real life i full expect the 76ers to make a trade involving their pick with one of atlantas picks, i wouldnt even be surprised if the two traded their question mark bigs (smith and bynum) for each other…but this excersise isnt about figuring out trades (i dont think). Regardless of when they make the selection, i think the result would be International Prospect Sergey Karasev.
The 76ers shouldnt select a big because even if someone like dieng is an upgrade over what they have, he probably wont be such a huge upgrade that they can build around him or quickly establish a core around him and if they keep bynum they would have a tougher choice on how to jettison and who to keep in bench bigs. They wont select any point guards or hybrid guards because they already have a very good one in jru holiday and are still torn on evan turner and his potential. They cant really invest too much in a project because they have already a few projects on the team in turner, allen, and possibly the other holiday brother.
When it came down to it only two prospects made sense for the 76ers as the best player available and the best choice regardless of what the 76ers planned to do in the future. KCP and Sergey. If you think that kcp probably has the higher cieling and versatility to be the best player available, i agree with you. So why then would the 76ers choose Sergey? The reason is pretty simple.
I can tell you about sergeys strength, dudes a pure shooter. From a mechanics standpoint, or from a percentage standpoint, dude is efficient. Hes a potential 3pt contest winner, already used to be a the primary option on his Olympic Russian team and he just turned 19 this last october! the guy has talents that sometimes make him seem like manu light (down to the lefty stroke, crazy court awareness, and motor) and has a pretty high floor to start off with, with his biggest weakness really being his athletic potential.
Regardless of what team you have, what kind of offense, what kind of players you have on that team, or what you lack….having a pure shooter (as the bulls learned this year) makes a huge difference and is a huge advantage. While all of this is part of why the sixers take Sergey, its not the biggest reason.
The biggest reason is because with an international prospect like sergey, the sixers can utilize the draft-and-stash strategy. According to most reports Sergey is very flexible on when he wants to come to the nba, this is key for the sixers who need that kind of flexibility. If Bynum stays and is good, they lose capspace but can call in Sergey, and have him added to the team regardless of their cap situation. With bynum in the post sergey makes a good complimentary piece as a shooter. If Bynum doesnt stay the sixers can go ahead and call in Sergey immediately and start rebuilding their team with the cap space that will be available to them. If Bynum stays and is terrible well the sixers can keep sergey off the books for a few seasons until they figure out what the hell they should do. This flexibility immensely helps the sixers who are desperately waiting to something to hold onto in terms of roster construction.
Again ill reiterate that most likely in real life the sixers will find a trade partner (and im positive atlanta will be that team) to move lower in the draft to nab sergey, which is usually how this stuff works with international prospects. Sergey has already been sent back to russia early during the combine because most likely he had found a suitor for him in the first round. But regardless, one way the pick for the sixers should be Sergey Karasev; A high floor, shooting specialist with incredible bball iq, who played as the primary scoring option on a very good olympic team and a solid international team who can be stashed away for a season or two (or three) and not count on the books as the sixers figure out what they are trying to do. And when he does come to states to play, if nothing else they can count on him to give them some offense from the perimeter.
check out his profile page, especially the vids of his shooting from draft express
for anyone looking to follow the rest of the draft or just see the comments, here is the link to the Thread