Jun 27 2013

Draftapalooza 2013: 4 Things That Might Happen, Probably Won’t

hinkie-e1368615969645Nobody knows anything about what the Sixers intend to do tonight–with the exception, one hopes, of the Sixers. Hinkie and Co. have been so extraordinarily tightlipped these last few weeks that, save a passing rumor about interest in Michael Carter-Williams, it’s been damn near impossible to even speculate credibly about their intentions.

But this has never stopped us before.

Below we unpack, in no particular order, a few moves old Hinkie might have up his sleeve tonight. 

1.) The Sixers trade up

The Wizards and Bulls, depending on who you believe, may have explored a trade that would have shipped Luol Deng from Chicago to Washington for the draft’s No. 3 overall pick. Luol Deng is a fine player, but the fact that a discussion like this even (maybe) happened underscores something folks in the media have been chattering about for months: at the top, this is regarded as an especially weak draft.* Meaning: if the Sixers have interest in trading up into the top 5–if they have their eye on someone like, say, Victor Olapido or Ben McLemore–they almost certainly have the resources to pull it off. At the risk of making too much of the Deng rumor, Thad Young had a better TS%, offensive rebounding rate, defensive rebounding rate, steal percentage, and block percentage than Luol, and he turned the ball over less, beat him in win shares and PER, and is three years younger. Point being: if Deng can fetch the No. 3 pick–and, again, all “trade rumor of questionable veracity” qualifications apply–Thad should be able to fetch the No. 3 pick.

*Brief aside: while I agree that the 2013 class is a particularly undistinguished group, when was the last time you heard a draft class, or even a free agent crop, in any professional sports league described as strong? Even in the weeks and months preceding the 2012 NFL Draft–the RGlll, Luck year–I don’t remember too much slobbering over the ceiling of the prospects. Death by a thousand nitpicks. I blame this on the Internet.

2.) Trading down

There’s nobody in this draft worth falling in love with, and even if there were, Hinkie isn’t the sort that falls easily. Even the surest things aren’t a sure thing, play the odds, etc. The Rockets, during Hinkie’s tenure, valued second rounders more than most, and actually had a fair amount of success turning those picks into productive players. So, considering this philosophy, the distribution of talent in this particular draft, and the fact the 76ers now have a D-League team where they can sock away talented/flawed players and let them percolate for a few before they’re ready for the big stage, there seems a good chance Hinkie will be working the phones and looking for an opportunity to flip draft pick quality for quantity. 

3.) Steven Adams a Sixer?

He’s fascinating guy. His numbers at Pitt were, on balance, terrible, but he got much better as the year wore on, is possessed of what all agree are extraordinary natural abilities, is a healthy 7-feet, 250-pounds, is from New Zealand and, according to Chad Ford, is funny. Like, a legitimate laugh riot. He’s not ready to contribute now, and likely won’t be anytime soon, but that’s what the 87ers are for. I’m not sold on him by any stretch–I prefer my first round centers to average better than 7.2 points/6.3 rebounds–but he’s been increasingly tied to the team in recent mock drafts and seems the sort of swing-for-the-fences pick the Sixers are in a position to make. Keep an eye on him. 

4.) Sixers draft Kelly Olynyk, fans plan revolt (nobody shows)

Spencer Hawes is so roundly loathed within Philadelphia that just being vaguely similar to Spencer is enough to earn a player the animus of the city. This is where we’re at with Kelly Olynyk. The Zag is a polished, skilled offensive player who managed to score efficiently despite reasonably high usage his junior year…and a complete liability on the other end. Philly doesn’t like him because of the Hawes comp. The advanced stats guys like him because he doesn’t miss a lot of shots. Wonder which argument Hinkie will find the most compelling?