Heading into the 2011 NBA Draft, the Sixers were rumored ad infinitum to do two things: 1) Trade Andre Iguodala; 2) Trade Andre Iguodala and move up in the draft. When they did absolutely nothing but sit on their hands and pick Nikola Vucevic and Lavoy Allen quietly at their assigned numbers of 16 and 50, it didn't exactly excite the pundits. Here are the Sixers draft grades from around the web.
Fit has to be balanced with talent. The Sixers needed a big man and can probably give Vucevic more early minutes than they could a wing. But guys like Chris Singleton looked like such better prospects, it's hard to cheer such an uninspiring punt.
More after the J.
The Sixers needed size and so they took the biggest guy on the board, but this was a case of drafting need over talent. Vucevic will be solid in the NBA, but he's far from being a potential star. Allen doesn't exactly get you excited after a lackluster four years at Temple.
Ben Golliver and Matt Moore, CBS Sports: C+
Taking Motiejunas would have been a bigger gamble and at least Vucevic has work ethic. He has no athleticism, none to speak of, and is, in a lot of ways, Spencer Hawes. But there's no point in creating a logjam for yourself just to avoid drafting for need. The Sixers could have done worse for how their roster is constructed. Lavoy Allen will not be joining us next year.
Brian Ward, SBN Philly: (no grade, just a great line)
I think we've moved on from the "you can't teach height," period of talent evaluation, though it seems our front office has not.
Jordan Sams, Liberty Ballers: C/C-
I probably went a little overboard driving the "F This Pick!" bandwagon on Twitter. My rationale being, I really wanted to come out of this draft with either the best player available, a prospect with a high ceiling, or a significant defensive improvement at center. Vucevic fits none.
Michael Levin, Liberty Ballers: C-
I'm glad they got big men because it is certainly a need but they simply picked the wrong guys. Their decision-making is inspiring in its lack of inspiration. I know Doug Collins has a bigger basketball mind than I and Stefanski and Thorn are probably smarter people than we are as well, but that doesn't mean they made the right call.
Good pick up with Nikola Vucevic, the kind of genuine, low-post center and rebounder they could use. Sorry Spencer Hawes.
Kelly Dwyer, Ball Don't Lie: C+
This is sort of the opposite feeling that I have about the Knicks, ending up with the same grade.
I like Vucevic's game. He can shoot, boards like crazy, and is a better athlete than some analysts gave him credit for. This is a legitimately good NBA player. I just wonder where he fits in Doug Collins' system, and amongst that loaded frontcourt in Philadelphia. I get that you have to draft the best player available, but I also wonder if the next team in Vucevic's career is his best team available.
Allen? Not feeling it.
Once again, I'd like to reiterate that this is not a damning pick. It won't send the team into a tailspin for years and years. But they did not maximize the pick's value and take the best player there, which is what you have to do when you're not close to contending for a title. Another year where the Sixers get outdrafted by seemingly everyone else and remain mediocre. This is starting to feel redundant.