As many long-time readers of Liberty Ballers know, I am draft-agnostic. I barely pay attention to college or international basketball, do some “scouting” by watching some Draft Express highlight videos at some point during the NBA finals so I can remember what the prospects look like after the top 5 or so picks, and usually refuse to commit to specific rankings until the very end of the draft process. My historical draft rankings are ill-informed. I have no problem admitting that.
All of that being said, part of the reason I don’t invest much in the draft myself is that, unless you dedicate your life to studying prospects (like our own Marc Whittington, Derek Bodner, the other good people at Draft Express, Sam Vecenie, and the like) it’s hard to gain enough information to properly assess the top of the draft.
But I can measure the strengths and weaknesses of the Sixers, consider their needs, and then assess which draft pick’s purported strengths and weaknesses are theoretical fits. Over recent years this process involved typing three capitalized letters and letting go. This year, due to having a clear team foundation combined with even more incomplete information, deciding on my favorites has been much more difficult.
As Kyle mentioned in yesterday’s post, your team-building philosophy is on trial with these next few selections. If you think the Sixers’ future is rooted on building a potentially dominant defense, through sheer size and wingspan, Jonathan Isaac sure seems like he should be your guy. Or maybe it’s Ntilikina? If you want a more conventional team, maybe Dennis Smith is your “point guard” of the future. If you think Ben Simmons is too unconventional to not be a point guard, then Mailk Monk fits the mold as your off-guard. If you’re still set on taking BPA, De’Aaron Fox may well be your guy. If you like just sheer scoring ability, then Jayson Tatum is there.
We don’t have definitive conclusions on Joel Embiid’s health, Ben Simmons’ health, Simmons’ abilities, how Simmons and Embiid work together, and how the peripheral players will mesh with them. But unlike last year, we “know” that if Joel Embiid can keep healthy that the Sixers have a player with top player in the league potential. My philosophy is that you should build around that one highest-upside known and hope everything else can fall into place.
Isaac is a solid choice, in my opinion. Though ideally he works as a four or five in a more modern setting, the sheer defensive potential of a huge frontline of Covington-Embiid-Isaac is drool-worthy. I can see the arguments for everyone I mentioned above. Ntilikina is a really intriguing option given the same potential fit.
Because of the closeness of the last vote, we’ll continue with the existing crop of college prospects. Dennis Smith’s eye-popping athleticism might be too much for me to pass up here, even if he doesn’t fit the defensive bill. Vote below, and we’ll be back tomorrow with the next guy.
LB Community Big Board
Who is #5?
This poll is closed
Dennis Smith, Jr.