In an unsurprising development, the Philadelphia 76ers frontcourt struggled mightily at times during Andrew Bynum's lost season. The question is, with that particular glaring weakness in mind, should Sam Hinkie specifically target a big man with the eleventh pick?
Not necessarily. The Sixers currently have a grand total of two players on the roster, Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young, who are thought of as surefire contributors on a contending team. That's not enough. What the Sixers have more than anything is a talent deficit, which badly needs an upgrade. When the Sixers are finally on the clock, if the best player left on Hinkie's draft board happens to be a point guard -- the same position that Holiday, the current face of the franchise happens to play-- he should select that player.
Could Michael Carter-Williams or Dennis Schroeder, two lead guards who very well could be available at number 11, end up as the Sixers' first round pick? Draft Express, an excellent resource for anyone even remotely interested in the NBA Draft, currently ranks Carter-Williams as the 12th-best prospect overall and Schroeder 13th. Invoking the great Lloyd Christmas, I'm telling you there's a chance.
These are two players that come from very different basketball backgrounds. While Carter-Williams was playing for American basketball fans on national television twice a week, Schroeder was putting together an extremely impressive season in Germany's highest professional basketball league
Michael Carter-Williams, 6'6" guard, Syracuse
Carter-Williams seems like one of the most objectively interesting players in this year's draft class. Calling the sophomore guard from Rhode Island a boom-or-bust pick is probably too simplistic, but it's certainly fair to say Carter-Williams' career could head in a few different directions.
First and foremost, Carter-Williams utilized his excellent size for the point guard position to positively impact the game during his short stint at Syracuse. He can see over the defense and complete pinpoint passes that many other point guards won't even attempt. He possess the ability to penetrate into the paint with a quick first step. He can shoot passing lanes and create havoc on defense. In what is a description usually reserved for centers, Michael Carter-Williams plays big.
Of course, there's a reason why he's only projected to go in the back-end of the lottery despite such an impressive physical skill-set: Carter-Williams is an extremely inefficient scorer. According to DX, "His 49% True Shooting Percentage ranks 73rd out of the 75 college prospects who likely have a realistic chance of being drafted this June."
Basically, when deciding whether to draft Carter-Williams or not, a team is considering one question above all: Will he learn how to shoot? Despite possessing solid form, Carter-Williams is a very poor shooter. Many of his college misses were frankly very ugly. As a rookie, he could possibly challenge Jeremy Lin for the league lead in "Oh my, that shot is going to be three feet off" remarks.
Carter-Williams' defensive potential is high, but all of his work on that end of the floor was done in Syracuse's vaunted zone, which of course makes an individual's defense harder to evaluate. How will he fare in a man-to-man system and without an extremely long backline behind him?
Dennis Schroeder, 6'2" guard, Germany
Schroeder is another very interesting case, but his burning question is simpler than that of Carter-Williams: Can he run an NBA offense? Schroeder has all of the tools. He possesses the jumper that Carter-Williams is striving to nail down. He shot 40 percent from three and made 53 percent of his catch-and-shoot jumpers in the German Basketball Bundesliga (and yes, I think it's awesome that they just put "basketball" in front of their soccer league)'s name. Funny part about all of this? Schroeder's mechanics aren't great. They aren't bad, but the shot lacks a little fluidity.
Schroeder is a great athlete, but his size won't allow him to be the physical, attacking presence Carter-Williams could potentially grow into. Schroeder will have to learn how to properly pick his spots and find creative ways to score in the pick and roll like Chris Paul. Luckily, Schroeder has some time to figure all the advanced stuff out. He's only 19-years-old and has already made himself a good player in pretty high-level European basketball.
Carter-Williams? Schroeder? Neither? Rich is an idiot? Have at it in the comments.