UHey guys - first post here on LB! I'll pretend someone is going to read this. After hours of ignoring my responsibilities, not paying attention in class, and blowing off social engagements to sit on the john watching hours of DraftXpress's excellent scouting reports or engage in another useless Jabari v. Wiggins debate with my brother, I think I have an idea of who I want the Sixers to ordain as their next franchise player based on the guys coming out of the draft. Obviously a lot depends on what pick they land, but we know they can fall no further than #5.
Ignoring fit for a moment, here is my top 5 strictly off of who I believe will have the best NBA career:
1. Dante Exum - Very good ball-handler (devastating crossover and in/out dribble) with elite quickness/first step reminiscent of a young Kobe or Jordan. Very capable passer and rebounder. Great size and length with potential on D - his wingspan, at 6'9", is two inches longer than MCW. Shot 41% on catch and shoot threes. The transition to the NBA game would be a concern, as would his strength and jumper off the dribble. Seems like a gamer who loves competition. Also has a post game, which is remarkable for a player so young (one of the youngest players in the draft).
2. Andrew Wiggins - You already know. Phenomenal athlete in every way, enabling him to get easy buckets in the half court and transition. I believe he can be an NBA sharpshooter from 3 and mid-range. Would instantly take the opponent's best wing player on D. Needs to finish stronger at the hoop and work on his ball-handling, both major weaknesses at this point. Also could put on a few pounds. The biggest concern for me, though, is his weirdness (a very scouty term). His whole off-the-court personality throws me off - I've never seen a superstar player with his type of personality. It's a real concern but I believe it is worth the risk.
3. Joel Embiid - This is assuming he is healthy going into the draft. Even if he is given a clean bill of health, however, a back or knee injury is concerning, and with the rash of big-man busts that come as a result of injury, I think its a risk to take him higher than 3. His talent (ignoring injury for a moment) would make him a premier two-way big similar to Duncan. I think his athleticism is slightly overrated, but I also believe his fluidity, footwork and skill is underrated.
4. Jabari Parker- Great feel for the game, good in transition, finishes at the rim, post game, aggressive and competitive. He can make any shot on the floor and has great intangibles and character. Unfortunately he can't defend anyone (help-side or on the ball) and struggles to get easy buckets in the half court. Watching him try to "Evan-Turner" his way to the hoop against teams such as Mercer, ND and EMU was painful at times. He is often compared to a high character Melo, but he doesn't have nearly as quick a release nor is he as lethal a shooter. Parker's position would be a concern as well as his unwillingness to give up the ball (27!!!!!!!!!!! games with 1 assist or less).
5. Aaron Gordon - Has the potential to be an all-NBA defensive player both in the post and on the wing. Unparalleled combination of athleticism and defensive technique, from close outs to walling up to staying out of foul trouble while still being aggressive. Low ceiling as an offensive player due to his rigidity and awkwardness, but is reminiscent of a weird Shawn Marion/Blake Griffin combo.
I put a lot of importance on a players ability to generate easy buckets. Part of the reason I have Parker at 4. Random thoughts on a few other players (not necessarily ranked in any order):
Julius Randle: Pretty conflicted about him. Plays no D, a little undersized for a PF, short arms, struggles to get easy buckets, and has no right hand while playing below the rim. However, he was lauded for his inside-out play coming to Kentucky, leading me to believe he could be very effective if he re-gains his outside shot. Honestly, though, I have no clue if I really want him to end up on the Sixers.
Noah Vonleh: Haven't looked too much at him, but first reaction - Could be one of those Serge Ibaka types who seems to have a high ceiling, but whose rigidity and lack of a true back-to-the-basket game leaves you wanting more. My best bet is that he'll be an effective role player who can cause mismatches and serve as the 3rd best option on a championship team.
Not in love with any of the SG's:
Gary Harris: Nice defensive player, would actually pair well on D with MCW (getting around picks) and good 3pt shooter. Not much of a mid range game and undersized.
Nik Stauskas: As an offensive player, he would pair great with MCW. Lights-out shooter, underrated athlete. Poor lateral quickness on D despite OK effort, and overall would be a defensive liability. NBA comparison: Klay Thompson. I'll take it.
Rodney Hood: Any offense he provides will be negated by the atrocious D he plays. Just horrible. No. NBA comparison might be an undersized Rashard Lewis.
Doug McDermott: Man he's a skilled offensive player. Like Stauskas, gives some effort on defense but unlike him doesn't have an athletic bone in his body. He might be able to guard 3 guys in the league, Brandon Davies being one of them. I'd take him as a scorer off the bench but no where near the top 10. Late 20's.
KJ McDaniels - One of my sleepers. Actually plays similar to Gerald Green (though not quite as explosive). A better comparison might be a less-Iggy (and more fluid) version of our old friend Andre Iguodala. Talented defender and capable as a scorer in a supporting role. Great in transition and knows how to finish strong. Needs to work on his 3pt shot and feel for the game.
These are just my opinions! If anyone reads this, I would love to hear your thoughts! I thoroughly enjoy debating this stuff.