While Karl-Anthony Towns will certainly be unavailable, it will depend on what the Lakers do with their pick at #2. Rumor has it that they will go with either Okafor or Russell, with Philly likely to choose whichever player the Lakers do not go with. I will quickly go over a few options the Sixers can go with at #3 overall.
D'Angelo Russell- PG Ohio State
Russell is the best option for Philadelphia right now, and Hinkie is really hoping the Lakers pass on him. The Sixers have gone with a center first in the last two drafts and they have a glaring weakness in the backcourt. Well, they have quite a few glaring weaknesses, but having a talented point guard goes a long way to improving your team. Unlike MCW, Russell can shoot the ball well. He is highly capable at running the offense and is a very talented passer.
However, his biggest weakness is his lack of athleticism. To say an NBA player is unathletic is absurd, since he is a professional athlete. But compared to the Russell Westbrooks and John Walls of the league, he is a below average athlete. Russell has more than enough skill and basketball IQ to make up for it, but he is a risky pick. I personally think he will be a great player, but only time will tell.
Jahlil Okafor- C Duke
At the beginning of the college basketball season last year, Okafor looked like a lock for the first overall pick. He is one of the best offensive talents in the post to come out in years, with post moves like Hakeem Olajuwon and the ability to score against any defender down low. What knocked him out of the top spot is his below average defense. Towns showed that he is a much better rim protector and surpassed Okafor for the top prospect.
However, when it comes to his fit in Philadelphia, he would be a perfect compliment to Nerlens Noel. While Noel can make up for Okafor on the defensive end, Okafor can be the low post presence on offense that Noel likely won't be. Of course, Hinkie planned on Embiid being that compliment to Noel. But with Embiid being sidelined yet again, the Sixers might not get another chance to replace him like they can with Okafor.
Emmanuel Mudiay- PG China
If Mudiay had played at SMU last season like he had originally planned, we could possibly be talking about Mudiay going first overall to Minnesota. However, Mudiay was declared academically ineligible and decided to play overseas for a year to better acclimate himself to the professional game. The last player of his caliber to do this was Brandon Jennings over six years ago.
Coming out of high school, Mudiay was the top point guard prospect. He is comparable to John Wall, with his elite athleticism and playmaking ability. His biggest weakness is his inability to shoot. Shooting, if taught by the right coach, is one of the easiest skills to improve upon. However, I'm not sure how likely Hinkie is to select a point guard with a lack of shooting ability, especially after what happened with Michael Carter-Williams. Mudiay is the polar opposite of Russell in terms of their game. Being compared to John Wall is a pretty good compliment, but Hinkie is more likely to take Russell if both are still around.
Kristaps Porzingis- PF Latvia
Hinkie is most likely to go with one of the three players listed above, but the lanky Latvian is a slight possibility. Not much is known about his game, since he has yet to play a game in the United States, but scouts have been raving about his abilities for months now. He has been compared to Dirk Nowitzki, since he is a taller power forward who can shoot the ball really well.
Over the last few years, the NBA has seen a shift in their landscape to a league where shooting is pf the utmost importance. Having a stretch 4 who can shoot from long range is very important. Take a look at the Golden State Warriors. Obviously Curry and Thompson received a lot of deserving credit, but Draymond Green was a huge factor to their success. Pairing Porzingis with Noel would not only give the Sixers a high and low post presence, but it would stretch out their offense and give Noel more room to work down low.
However, Porzingis is a very risky pick, since nobody is certain of how he will fare against NBA competition. He can be a Dirk Nowitzki, but he can also be a Yi Jianlian, a guy who impresses in workouts but never can translate that talent to an NBA game. I think he will most likely end up as a rich man's Danilo Gallinari. He will be a terrific shooter, but not much of a creator on offense.
By: Dan Goggin
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