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Delaware 87ers Make Three Giant Splashes In 2013 NBA D-League Draft

Along with six other prospects, the Sixers' D-League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, drafted three polarizing players, Norvel Pelle, Athanasios Antetokounmpo and Aquille Carr, in the 2013 NBDL Draft on Friday night.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

While Spencer Hawes rained threes in the Verizon Center Friday evening, Sam Hinkie and Delaware 87ers General Manager Brandon Williams wheeled and dealed in the 2013 NBDL Draft. Fun fact, the draft was conducted via Cisco WebEx Meeting Center.

And just as the 76ers did back on June 27, Hinkie and Williams made noise—well, as much noise as you can in the D-League draft—by pulling the trigger on a trade before the draft even began.

Originally awarded the 9th overall pick in the draft, the 87ers managed to get two first round draft picks. Delaware traded the rights to Jerome Dyson—who they selected in their expansion draft back in August—and several 2014 D-League picks to the Springfield Armor for the 6th overall pick and Damian Saunders, a 6-8 forward from Duquesne.

With the 6th pick in their pocket, the 87ers selected Norvelle Pelle, a 6-10 forward/center from Los Angeles College Prep Academy. A source close to Pelle told Liberty Ballers that the big man participated in a pre-draft workout for the Sixers on June 6 alongside Kelly Olynyk and Mason Plumlee. Pelle reportedly impressed the Sixers personnel, which then included Michael Curry and company, but ultimately withdrew from the NBA Draft due to an infected blister on the bottom of his foot.

I wrote about Pelle before the draft for SLAM that day as well, if you want some extensive detail on his intriguing back story.

Three picks later, the Sevens selected a player whose interminable last name has already infiltrated the NBA blogosphere: Athanasios Antetokounmpo, the 21-year-old older brother of the Milwuakee Bucks’ rookie forward, Giannis.

Yea, the Sevens own the D-League rights to the other Greek Freak. Athanasios did not enter the 2013 NBA Draft in order to develop for one more season. Now, that development will take place in Newark rather than Greece.

With the 43rd pick in the draft, the 87ers made one final splash, selecting Aquille Carr, a 5-6 guard originally from Baltimore who played several games for the Qingdao Double Star of the Chinese Basketball Association before signing a D-League contract.

Carr is a dazzling guard who’s game in high school was like a combo of Nate Robinson and Ty Lawson. He was nicknamed, "The Crime Stopper" because criminals in the city would allegedly suspend their illegal activity to go watch him play.

All three of these players will not be eligible to be called up to the NBA this season and will enter the 2014 NBA Draft next summer. However, stashing them in Delaware for the season will give the Sixers an exclusive opportunity to work with and analyze these young players.

The Sevens’ other 2013 NBDL Draft picks included:

Round 2, Pick 9 – Reggie Johnson, Miami, 6-10, Forward/Center

Round 4, Pick 9 – Nurideen Lindsey, Rider, 6-3, Guard

Round 5, Pick 9 – Mfon Udofia, Georgia Tech, 6-2, Guard

Round 6, Pick 9 – Stefan Welsh, Arkansas, 6-3, Guard

Round 7, Pick 6 – Darin Mercy, Merrimack, 6-2, Guard

Round 8, Pick 4 – JR Inman, Rutgers, 6-9, Forward

If the situation arises, all of these players will be eligible for a promotion to the NBA.

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