Coming in at #9 in the Liberty Ballers Community Big Board vote is Kentucky's Willie Trill Cauley-Stein, towering over the competition much like he does on the court and capturing 56% of the vote.
Cauley-Stein is everything a modern NBA big man should be on the defensive side of the ball. He possesses the ability to be a great rim protector who can hold down the paint and contest drives, while also doubling as possibly the best perimeter defender in the draft even at 7'1". The latter skill allows him to break up and lock down opponents on pick and roll sets, as integral a part of today's game as the three-point shot and the dunk.
The Kentucky product is probably the best defensive prospect since this guy:
That's where the issue lies with the Sixers targeting Willie Trillie in the draft. They have a player who replicates that skill set completely already in Nerlens Noel, a guy who already illustrated at 20 years old that he's capable of being an elite NBA defender. Noel's time at Kentucky seems so long ago, but he was a part of the same recruiting class as Cauley-Stein in Lexington. Cauley-Stein is actually almost eight months older than The Eraser.
While having Cauley-Stein and Noel switch constantly defensively would be a magical display of positionless basketball with the two giants both roaming the paint and locking down point guards, it would be an even worse fit offensively than the already questionable pairing of Noel and Joel Embiid.
I'm very high on Cauley-Stein's ability to succeed as a pro. It just doesn't seem that he'd be given much of a chance to display his unique skills with the Sixers' current roster construction.. The Sixers selection of Cauley-Stein at some point in the lottery would likely be predicated on him being the best player available and then using him as a great trade chip to move down in the draft. That likely won't happen with the third-overall pick, removing one more potential scenario that Sam Hinkie would need to do Batman-level preparation for.
Who's the next man up?
I'm feeling Myles Turner right here. His odd running form was a major red flag earlier in the draft process, but this sports science breakdown from Draft Express illustrates pretty well how Turner has tried to rebuild that form and alleviate some of the concerns about his durability. A 7' big man who has range and can protect the rim intrigues me immediately, while also possessing a body that's more ready for the physicality of the NBA than lankier prospects of late, such as Kristaps Porzingis or even Noel himself.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns - Kentucky Wildcats
2. D'Angelo Russell - Ohio State Buckeyes
3. Jahlil Okafor - Duke Blue Devils
4. Mario Hezonja - Barcelona (Spanish ACB)
5. Emmanuel Mudiay - Guangdong (CBA)
6. Justise Winslow - Duke Blue Devils
7. Kristaps Porzingis - Baloncesto Sevilla
8. Stanley Johnson - Arizona Wildcats
9. Willie Trill Cauley-Stein - Kentucky Wildcats