With the NBA Playoffs now in full force, there’s only one thing on the mind of Sixers fans at the moment — the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery. The Sixers were able to secure themselves with the second-worst record in the NBA this past season (19-63) but that only gives them a 19.9-percent shot that the No. 1 overall pick and just a 55.8-percent chance at a Top 3 selection. Assuming the ping pong balls to fall in their favor, here’s a ranking of the potential selections the Sixers will be targeting on draft night.
No.1: Andrew Wiggins
If Wiggins drops into the hands of the Sixers on draft night, he’s got to be the guy Sam Hinkie and Company select. The guy is simply loaded with potential and on a rebuilding team he’s exactly the type of talent that you want to bring in.
At 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot wing span, he’s got the measurements and athleticism to become one of the top wings in the NBA. Critics can look to his 17.1 points per game as a freshman at Kansas and say that he didn’t quite measure up to his expectations as a Jayhawk, but at just 19 he’s still got the best days ahead of him.
If Brett Brown can truly push Wiggins to reach his full potential, you might finally be seeing a perennial All-Star suiting up for the Sixers once again.
No. 2: Julius Randle
Randle plays very similar to a young Elton Brand. He’s someone that can dominate in the paint offensively and defensively while cleaning the glass and taking smart shots. His 6-foot-9, 248-pound frame will be a handful for any power forward in the league to deal with.
As long as he keeps up with his conditioning, the Sixers could have themselves one of the most ferocious defensive duos in the league with Nerlens Noel accompanying him down low.
Randle helped Kentucky reach the national championship game in early April and he’ll improve the Sixers immediately next season.
No. 3: Jabari Parker
He’s the freshman player of the year and the most polished player at the top of the draft. His 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and overall consistency this past season for Duke make him a hot commodity to any team looking to rebuild.
Still, there are a couple red flags when it comes to his game. When times are tough offensively, a lot of times you’ll see Parker try to get things going with his mid-range or outside game but this is not where he’s at his best. When Parker is taking the ball to the hoop and drawing fouls he’s almost unstoppable. He averaged 6.1 FTA’s a game last season for Duke and it should’ve been even higher than that.
The other worry is his position in the NBA. Is he a three or a four? His 6-foot-8, 235-pound frame is the perfect tweener size for an NBA forward. This has hurt Thaddeus Young’s stock considerably over the years.
Does Parker have the athleticism and quickness to keep up with NBA small forwards? Does Parker have the power and strength to continue his rebounding prowess in the NBA? These are some troubling issues which come with drafting Parker.
No. 4: Joel Embiid
Embiid has arguably the brightest future out of anyone in this draft. He’s a true center at 7-feet tall and 250 pounds and had a very promising freshman year at Kansas.
He averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in his first year and unlike the average player of his size, he was able to get out in transition for the Jayhawks to make them one of the quickest teams in college basketball. With a 7-foot-5 wingspan, Embiid can really protect the rim as well as score around the cylinder. He doesn’t have too many post moves just yet, but he converts on dunks with ease and he shot an astounding 62 percent from the field last season.
The main worry about Embiid is his health. He sprained his knee and then later had a stress fracture of his lower back last season for the Jayhawks. The injuries required him to miss seven games, including the NCAA tournament. Embiid is still in recovery from the back injury.
Do the Sixers front office want to take a risk on yet another injury prone center? The potential here alone makes it too difficult to let him slip past No. 4.