Last night's NBA Draft Lottery locked the Sixers into the third pick in this year's upcoming draft, a good (but not totally great) place to be. It's unfortunate Philadelphia won't have the pick of the litter, and Los Angeles jumping to two grosses me out, but the Sixers will undoubtedly leave the 2015 NBA Draft with an excellent player.
Most outlets have the Sixers using the third overall selection on a guard.
ESPN's Chad Ford tweeted out last night that he has the Sixers taking Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell. In his latest mock, he wrote:
This really isn't a bad outcome for the 76ers. They desperately need both a point guard and a shooter, and Russell is the best on both counts. They would've been tempted to take a big if they had gone higher just because it would've been a more valuable asset. But Russell is the best fit with this young team and will make them look really smart moving Michael Carter-Williams out of the way for him. I really think Russell has the chance to become a star, and with Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel clogging the paint, they found the perfect guard to spread the floor.
SBNation's Kevin O'Connor writes that despite Russell's defensive struggles, he's well worth the selection at three:
Positional versatility is valued in the modern NBA and Russell can provide plenty of that with his ability to play both guard positions. Russell is a nifty ball handler with amazing vision thanks to his 6'5 frame -- he frequently delivered accurate passes off the dribble. But he also possesses a knockdown jumper, which could make him a threat shooting off the catch. Russell will give the 76ers the type of point guard they need, and his weaknesses on defense will be mitigated since so many athletic players surround him.
Tim Bontemps of the New York Post is also riding the Russell bandwagon:
The 76ers have stacked up one big man after another over the past few years. Now they have a chance to add Russell, a dynamic playmaker who should thrive in the up-tempo system they’re running under coach Brett Brown.
Chris Mannix from Sports Illustrated decided to go against the grain this morning, selecting guard Emmanuel Mudiay over Russell on behalf of the Sixers. Here's his reasoning:
Here’s where the draft gets a little murky. The Sixers need a playmaker; two potential elite ones are on the board. Mudiay is unknown—he spent an injury riddled season in China—but he is an explosive point guard cut out of the mold of Russell Westbrook. Expect Philadelphia to go back and forth on Mudiay and Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell.
When the Sixers pick rolls around, it's likely that Russell and Mudiay will be the top players on the board (unless you're into super lanky Latvians). Popular opinion will have the Sixers likely selecting Russell, but that might be because people are so much more familiar with his game. Watching the Guangdong Southern Tigers isn't necessarily easy on local television.
Despite the 19-year-old being halfway around the world, I'm sure Sam Hinkie will be as educated about Mudiay as he is Russell. Last year, the Sixers hired a roving scout to follow Dante Exum around Australia as he played high school games, and with the organization showing an affinity for foreign prospects, you can bet they've done their due diligence on Mudiay.
However, nobody will know Sam Hinkie's preference between the two guards until draft night.
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