Two months ago I briefly mentioned five college prospects who I'd like to see the Sixers draft this June, given current need and projected draft position. Since then, two prospects – John Henson and Jordan Hamilton – have likely played themselves into the lottery, decreasing their chances of landing with the Sixers. With Henson and Hamilton playing beyond the Sixers reach, I'm adding a few more prospects who should be available in the late teens or second round to my early wish list.
I don't claim to be a great evaluator of college talent, nor do I watch enough games to be considered an expert. Our resident draft expert, Derek, who watches an obscene amount of college basketball and moonlights at Draft Express, will periodically produce in-depth articles on draft prospects well into the off-season, so stay tuned for those.
Chris Singleton (ESPN: 22, DX: 14)
At 6'9" 220 Singleton is an athlete with growing basketball skills, who could very well play himself beyond the 14-17 range, where the Sixers will likely select. The junior's strengths are his defense and ability to run the floor and finish in transition, making him a nice fit with the Sixers, and an adequate replacement for Thaddeus Young, should he leave during free agency.
As DX pointed out in December, Singleton has improved his jump shot since last season, particularly in catch-and-shoot situations. He's also improved his shooting percentage on threes, from 30% last season to 35% this season. (His free throw percentage has risen from 50% to 69%.) Given the lack of shooting on the Sixers, Singleton's improving jump shot, paired with his defense and athleticism could earn him significant minutes with the Sixers during his rookie season, and decrease the chances of the front office from signing Thad to an ill-advised extension.
Singleton is probably too small to guard large post players consistently in the NBA, but his defensive versatility makes him an intriguing prospect. In Jonathan Givony's words:
With his terrific size, length, lateral quickness and intensity, Singleton puts tremendous pressure on the ball and is an absolute menace in passing lanes ... and is the type of player who would have no problem guarding multiple positions at the NBA level -be it face-up 4's, shot-creating wings, back-to-the-basket forwards, or even switching out onto quicker guards on the perimeter (if that's how his coach elects to defend the pick-and-roll).
Overloaded with players who need to ball to be effective, Singleton would serve as a breath of fresh air for the Sixers roster. He could start next to Holiday-Iguodala (or Turner), giving the Sixers the potential for the most wingspan-y and disruptive perimeter defense in the league, or he could play the Thaddeus Young role off the bench.
Personally, I'd like to see him play the majority of his minutes at the three, because he'll struggle defending, scoring, or rebounding with most NBA bigs. His defensive rebounding percentage is 17.0 this year – good for a small forward, below average for a power forward.
Patric Young (ESPN: 30, DX: 22)
Young is a fairly unknown commodity at this point. A freshman at Florida, he's averaging 3.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 17 minutes per game. At 6'9", 235 he has a 7'1" wingspan and a nice body. Since he's freshman his off-season will likely go one of three ways. 1) He'll stay in school, 2) He'll declare for the draft, get drafted too early and be labeled a bust, or 3) He'll declare for the draft after being advised he's a first rounder, but fall to the second, much like Daniel Orton and Hassan Whiteside.
The reason Young makes my wish list is because he's a big body with potential as a shot-blocking, rebounding big man – an asset the Sixers desperately need. However; If he does declare this year, I'd much rather take a flier in the second round, rather than using a first round pick on him.
For some perspective, Young played a combined 54 minutes against teams led by highly-touted big men, Sullinger, Singleton, and Faried. In those 54 minutes he grabbed a total of 5 defensive rebounds. That's not going to cut it.
Lucas Nogueira (ESPN: 29, DX: 31)
Nogueria is another raw, big-bodied prospect with potential to become the shot-blocking, rebounding presence the Sixers desperately need. Even more-so than Young, Nogueira is a relative unknown. The 18 year-old seven footer was last seen playing for the Asefa Estudiantes in the Spanish EBA, averaging 11.8 points and 10.5 rebounds the last time DX wrote about him.
At 7'0'' 225 he definitely needs to add some bulk, but at 18 years old, it's bound to happen. Check out this picture of him standing next to Dwight Howard (sweet fro!), and these highlights via Youtube (highlights start at 50 second mark), proving Lucas actually exists.
I'd take Lucas with a mid-to-late first, even if he amounts to nothing more than another version of Sam Dalembert – as long as he can provide some weak-side shot-blocking, and finish lobs from Jrue, Andre, Lou and Evan.
The question is, will he be available to draft this June? Both DX and ESPN have him ranked with the 2011 class, but DX has him going #14 in their 2012 mock draft. Either way, the Sixers don't have much of a history with international prospects, and drafting a player who's likely to play at least another season internationally (ala Serge Ibaka) doesn't seem like their style, unfortunately.
Unofficial Sixers Draft Wish List - 02/05
- John Henson
- Kenneth Faried
- Chris Singleton
- Lucas Nogueira
- Jordan Hamilton
- Patric Young
- Tyler Honeycutt
- Aaric Murray