The Philadelphia 76ers are now in the position that they wanted to be in before this previous season started.
When the Sixers traded Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2013 NBA Draft, the team signaled that it was time for a true rebuild which is exactly what began to happen starting with this past season. The 76ers were awful, finishing with the second-best lottery odds of any NBA team. The team was comprised of extremely young players who were either unproven talents who have been journeymen in the NBA for a few years or undrafted players who were signed to simply fill out the roster. First-round pick Michael Carter-Williams was able to showcase his talents along with Thaddeus Young, but the other veteran players on the team, Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes, were traded at the deadline for draft picks and players who ultimately led to more cap space for Philadelphia.
All in all, the season turned out exactly the way management wanted it, and the team now has two lottery picks in the 2014 edition of the draft. The 76ers have been looking at forward Andrew Wiggins since the tanking began, and he is still the team’s primary target. Unfortunately, with Joel Embiid‘s foot injury, the chances of the Cleveland Cavaliers taking him with their No. 1 overall pick are very slim, making Wiggins more likely to go to the Cavaliers at No. 1 or the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 2. Unless the Sixers trade up, they most likely do not have a shot at Wiggins anymore.
With that being said, there are a few intriguing players that the 76ers could take a gamble on. The most obvious choice outside of the Embiid, Jabari Parker and Wiggins trio is point guard Dante Exum.
Exum is a 6-foot-6 combo guard out of Australia capable of playing both the one and the two due to his unique size and scoring capability as well as his ability to be a catalyst for the team’s offense. Exum is long and quick, and he can get into the lane to really cause problems for opposing defenses due to his ability to finish inside or dish out to an open teammate for a shot from deep. While Exum could certainly learn to play alongside Carter-Williams, Exum is more of a point guard and would more than likely work better as the only point guard in the lineup, meaning that Philadelphia would have to trade Carter-Williams in order to really make room.
This leaves another intriguing player on the board for Philadelphia to seriously consider: Noah Vonleh.
Vonleh is a 6-foot-9 power forward out of Indiana who can really be a force on both ends of the floor. Vonleh has the size and athleticism to block and change shots in the post on defense, and he has enough moves to score both in the lane and outside from beyond the three-point line. Vonleh is a special talent because of his ability to stretch defenses on the offensive end. The Sixers would be wise to give him a real look in the draft because of how he could match up with center Nerlens Noel. Noel is a rim protector and an inside finisher, while Vonleh is a stretch threat on offense and can still guard his position and help Noel inside on defense.
The Sixers also have the tenth pick in the draft, and if the team goes with a big man for its first lottery pick, then a shooter on the wing is a must for the second lottery pick. Gary Harris comes to mind because of his ability to not only shoot the ball very well from deep, but he is also able to play point guard at times and check his man on defense. Harris was a very good defender at Michigan State, and his defensive abilities and toughness as well as his shooting ability should translate well to the NBA.
As for the Sixers’ second-round picks, it is tough to tell what the team will actually do with all of those picks that they have between their own and ones that they acquired from trades at the deadline. I believe the 76ers will somehow package picks to move up in the draft and possibly get a first-rounder, but no one truly knows for sure. After all, the draft is anyone’s guess nowadays.