A Conversation About the Draft

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That foot though

Jim and I discuss the Sixers draft. I’m bold, because boss.

 

Good morning. Where are you on a scale from 1 to Wow, They Fucked That Up?

Last night I was probably close to a seven or an eight, but the more I think about it, I’m probably at around a four or five.

I will say that when I did the Draft Primer a few days ago, I said that the worst thing the Sixers could do was take Embiid at three and Mr. “I’m Staying in Europe” Dario Saric at 10. That’s basically what happened, but I feel a little better about the way it went down.

Of course you do, because you called it. Anytime a commenter doubts your abilities or calls you a goddamned hipster, just remind them that you predicted (sort of) the Sixers, during the draft of great expectations, would draft an injured volleyball player from Cameroon who’s only been playing basketball for five years and a Croat who can’t play in the league for two years and who looks like a Bond villain, scar and all:

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That’s the snarky take. But let’s get into each pick until we run out of steam in the second round much like Hinkie did last night.

Joel Embiid.

Would I prefer someone who could actually play and do something for the team now? Yes. But since he went and screwed up his foot and ruined our boy Wiggins for us, I think taking the risk on him here is a solid move. If he recovers, he’s still got that huge upside, and if he doesn’t, we’ll have three or four more years in the lottery to continue to build the team. Still wish he never hurt his foot though.

Agreed. By some measures, the Sixers got the best player in the draft two years running (not to mention the 2014 Rookie of the Year), so it’s hard to argue with getting yet another player who many felt was the number one pick before [insert injury]. But. But I am concerned about Embiid. Lower body and back issues in big men are nothing to gloss over: I watched Jason Fraser at Villanova go from a borderline lottery pick to working as I think a mortgage broker on the Main Line, and somewhere in there he was briefly a Globetrotter nicknamed “Apollo.” And we’ve all seen what they did to Greg Oden (ESPN’s split-screen comparison of Embiid to Oden last night made me sick a little). There are countless other examples, too. Embiid is the classic this freaky athlete from another world should be a great basketball player once he gets some more coaching and if he ever gets past those pesky injury issues. That doesn’t make me feel great about The Draft for the Sixers. And Bill Self, Embiid’s college coach, said Embiid probably won’t be a top 5 big man in the league, but that he’d be close. But close? I didn’t want the Sixers to come away from this draft with a guy who will only be close to a top 5 player at his position according to one of that player’s biggest cheerleaders.

Yeah, I think it’d be silly not to be worried. Also, I’m pretty sure if you really want to be one, they just make you an honorary Globetrotter, so we should all consider ourselves Globetrotters. And the Oden comparisons are definitely terrifying, but they also compared Julius Randle to Derrick Coleman, so I don’t put too much stock in those. The consensus seems to be that the Sixers really wanted Wiggins at one, but wouldn’t give 3, 10 and 32 (or the Cavs wanted even more than that). That’s an understandable sticking point. So while it’ll be real shitty to watch Wiggins grow and (probably) blow up in this league, the real “other” in this draft was Dante Exum. That’s who the third pick basically came down to. So while Embiid may take forever to be good — or never — I think I’m okay with Hinkie taking the riskier move on the big guy with the injury rather than the super-hyped Aussie no one knows about. Time will tell with that one, but I think the Embiid pick shows Hinkie means it when he says “rebuild.” He’s not gonna tank one year, grab pieces that work right now, and then become a borderline playoff team stuck in that zone. He wants to build a championship team in a few years, and if that takes a while, than so be it.

Dario Saric.

Well, first let me say that I DID NOT expect him to be at the draft. “If you draft me I must first play in Europe for two years, but please, can I get a +1 for the Barclays Center?” I will also say that I watched the draft in a bar that didn’t have the sound on, but Adam Silver’s mouth moves SO MUCH it’s very easy to read his lips. So when they picked Payton at ten, there was confusion amongst the five people in the bar who cared. Everyone was also wondering why, after the Sixers drafted a point guard, they had to immediately show MCW on camera. Like, if dude is being replaced, let him be replaced in peace. But yeah, beyond “he won’t be here for few years,” I have little to say about Saric. Everyone seems high on him, but the Sixers’ track record with foreign players isn’t spectacular. I do like what Hinkie ended up turning Jrue Holiday into over the span of two drafts. That’s some good GM-ing. Some people could take notes.

That bit about Silver will quite possibly be the weirdest analysis of the draft online today. Well done. I bet it has something to do with his MASSIVE FUCKING EARS.

His bone structure is UNNATURAL.

Also, MCW was apparently there because of a Nike event, or to remind people that the Sixers do plan on fielding a team next season. But having him sit in basically the first row and be available for reaction shots and interviews reminded me a little of The Truman Show. Ohhhhhh let’s all watch and see what he does when his heart’s ripped out. Somewhere, Ed Harris was running shit and called for the Sixers to draft a point guard at 10.

That’s where not having sound was a negative, because MCW did NOT look thrilled, but he never does, and I had no idea what anyone was saying because unlike Silver, MCW’s mouth is basically motionless.

A commenter this morning wrote: “Sam Hinkie just turned Jrue Holiday into Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric, a future 1st, and a future 2nd.” It’s impressive when you put it that way, and almost undoubtedly a net win for the Sixers. But none of those players have ever stepped on an NBA court. Saric sounds like the real deal, and Fran Fraschilla likes him, so that’s a bonus. And it was a clever move by Hinkie to draft Payton and then flip him for the guy he wanted all along – Saric – and get two more draft picks out of it. Sam is like that kid when you were 10 who always managed to pull off ridiculous baseball card trades– like two Wally Joyners and a Darren Daulton Topps jawn for Ken Griffey Jr.’s Upper Deck rookie card. You came away feeling like you just got fleeced, but you wanted Dutch so bad and couldn’t argue.

Yes. And you probably hated that kid, but I bet he’s really good at his job now.

He’s literally playing in the Cincinnati Reds’ farm system. [I never actually gave up the Griffey card, though. I lied about that for effect.]

I see a two-fold problem in drafting two players essentially in the top 10 who won’t play next year: 1) In a way, the Sixers are drafting on upside by taking injured players and foreigners. Even though you can predict professional success in basketball perhaps better than in any other sport, the odds says that at least one of Noel, Embiid or Saric won’t pan out. Too many injuries and question marks. 2) Even if they do pan out, you’re kicking the ball down the road YEARS. Rookies don’t just come into the league and dominate from day one– they take time to develop. By drafting players who can’t play right away, you’re just prolonging that process. If it all works out, the Sixers will be great in, like, 2017, but if it doesn’t, they are going to be really bad for a loooooooooong time. Drafting Embiid and Saric in such a stacked draft is a huuuuuuuge risk. Hinkie seems risk averse, which is why this is weird. I wasn’t counting on the Sixers being competitive tomorrow (unless they sign LeBron and Melo and oh my God please do that), but players like Wiggins, Parker, Randle and maybe even Exum are more sure-things than Embiid or Saric, I think. Even the shooters – McDermott and Stauskas – will probably have solid careers— if you can shoot, you can shoot. The Sixers swung for the fences. If they connect, look out. If they don’t, we’ll be talking about this draft for 30 years.

The best non-Sixers thing we can all hope for is that Exum just flops. That way even with an injured Embiid we can feel better about not picking Exum and not trading MCW. The Sixers supposedly had the most tape on him, so their passing could say a lot about him as a player (or about how much they love Embiid). But if Exum just tanks completely, I will personally hunt down Sam Hinkie and give him the best high five he’s ever received.

Sam doesn’t do well with human interaction.

The one thing that I still feel really good about is that they have A TON of cap room– even more now since they don’t have to pay Saric yet. They can do literally anything in free agency. And, with such highly touted players and draft picks, they can both sign and trade their way into contention. No one is talking about this. Who says you need to rebuild through the draft? The Sixers have valuable assets, and they can move them to expedite this process.

True. But the main issue I have is that you’re asking the fan base to believe because we’re doing it “together,” and that was fine for a season, but you can’t trot the same product (plus Noel) out on the court and expect people to be excited about it. They can believe in what you’re doing, but that doesn’t mean they’ll go watch the team play now. So free agency has to be something they are a part of. What scares me is that so many of the people they drafted and were looking at drafting had the same line in their scouting report: “Does not have a jump shot.” This team needs to score. Even if you aren’t going to win, that’s the product you have to put out there.

John Gonzalez made a good point last night, though— the Sixers are increasing in value simply by existing in the league. Harris is making money regardless. They can afford to do this. And while you can respect Hinkie’s plan and Harris’ patience, that doesn’t mean, as a fan, you can’t be disappointed that this is probably going to take a while.

Oh it most definitely is. There are undoubtedly some people out there who were not Sixers fans for a while because they just stopped caring. When they come back to the team (or came back if they’re already here), what’s gonna stop them from not caring again? But I still think we’re on the positive end of “not gonna do anything for a few years” while teams like the Knicks and Wolves are on the wrong end of that spectrum.

As for the other picks, I don’t have STRONG OPINIONS on them as I do the first two, but Grant and McDaniels seem to show promise, even if both of their scouting reports featured that all too common “lacks jump shot” tag. Micic looks like an exciting prospect, but once again the Sixers foreigner track record isn’t great.

Feel the same way. Really, I don’t know enough about the other guys to have a real opinion on them, and no one can accurately predict the NBA success of second rounders. This draft was all about the cream. Though I do like the fact that the Sixers got a guy – Vasilije Micic – whose name sounds like some sort of completely treatable vaginal infection.

At least for those who got to hear the deputy commish say his name. I was not that lucky.

If only Silver had still been up there, you could’ve seen it.

I’ll say this, Silver’s first draft as commish was great. The Isaiah Austin thing was a really great thing for the league, and it’s about time we get to see him do the first round. Something about Stern being up there felt weird. Basketball is a game of giants, and it’s nice to have someone pose for pictures with them who is at least six-foot-three-ish. Stern made every player look like some gigantic hill beast sent to raze your village. Silver makes them look human.

Let’s end on that high note. Your Silver analysis was impeccable.

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41 Responses

  1. As someone who gave up on the Sixers when they traded AI, I am really excited about this draft. They got arguably the most talent of any team in the last two drafts and I don’t care about waiting. They’re actually committed to rebuilding instead of just hoping for mediocrity/competing for the 8th seed every year. I don’t give a damn that they won’t be close to good this year – if they make the playoffs this season, they have to give their 1st round pick to the Celtics next year anyway. Stockpile assets, talent and potential now and hope it pans out after a few patient years. Ruben could learn a thing or a thousand from Hinkie and his approach to rebuilding.

    1. Sad thing is all of this “talent” won’t be around when and if this plan works. Free agency and the salary cap in addition to injuries won’t allow this plan of Hinkie’s to work.

      1. You obviously don’t understand the Sixers’ current cap space (which doesn’t seem to be changing anytime quick unless OMG we sign Lebron + Melo + Love + another high priced free agent) and the rookie pay scale which doesn’t see players get “paid” for their first several years in the league.

        Other than that – spot on analysis Francis.

        1. The problem is jerkoff is that you are completely clueless about everything. No free agent is going to want to come here. This team won’t win for another 6 years and by that time most of these guys will be on another team. Guys want to get paid as well as win. This Sixers team and the “plan” they have in place is not going to work. Guys become free agents in 4 years. You can only have so many MAX contract players on a team. If all of these “assets” pan out how are the Sixers going to pay for all of them. Stop believing everything that is said on ESPN and understand how the cap works and how teams win in the NBA. The Sixers don’t have a shooter or a 20+ point scorer. So, all of these so called assets won’t win shit until they get those type of players and have experience.

          1. Why would free agents not want to come to a team with seemingly limitless cap and young players with loads of upside again?

            You are dumb.

          2. The team isn’t going to be good for 6 years… so until like 2020, right? And this is based on what? Your analytics? Numbers you’ve run? Season simulations?

            You. Are. Fucking. Clueless.

            I’m so glad you’ve already deemed Hinkie’s rebuild a failure that won’t succeed – why don’t you write in to let him know about this? Last time I checked he was GM of the Sixers and you’re just some dbag at home stroking your cock to homo erotic pictures of zac berman.

            Fuck off you douche nozzle.

          3. To the two blowhards who are acting like internet tough guys because someone doesn’t agree with their opionion, how about you explain to me why you think it will work? Because the media is telling you it’ll work so that means it will? The whole plan is nothing but “ifs” and potential. You both haven’t given one intellectual answer answer as to why it won’t. I personally don’t think it will and i’ve given some “potentially” good reasons why it won’t work. Back your weak answers up with good points and maybe you’ll be taken seriously. Otherwise, you both are just clueless blowhards who get a hard-on over any name the media throws out there. Lets see what you can come back with now fellas.

  2. “I’m bold, because boss.”

    Not to be a contentious dick, but I hate this way of writing. Seems to be a go-to device for sports bloggers, because I’ve noticed the Deadspin guys use it a lot too.

      1. It doesn’t matter. It reads like you were just talking to yourself anyway, which I’m not convinced isn’t what’s actually happening. “Jim” has been taking at least half the heat from the commenters recently. But if you thought people would respect your posts more because you “hired a new writer” that writes even dumber shit than you do, you fucked up, because suck.

        1. Kyle + a one-hour skim of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style = Jim

      2. You can’t be bothered to use proper formatting because you’re terminally lazy, but you’ll turn around and blast real reporters for their perceived laziness.

        Dude, your job is pretty much 75% copy/paste work with a little bit of commentary here and there. You’re not making tons of calls or crisscrossing the nation for these stories. The few times you do get an exclusive, the story comes to you seeking a payoff. You’re not doing much, so put some damn effort into what little you do do.

        1. I don’t even care about the formatting. It’s the whole “_______ because (singular) _______.” That irks the Christ out of me. Come up with something fresh. Like an 80s movie reference.

  3. I’m cool with ignoring the 6ers for a few more seasons. Let them rebuild, Phillies take note.

  4. I wanna see Embiid on the court around the beginning of December.

    Forget the sit out the whole year nonsense,he should be ready to go in December.

    On a side note,Embiid’s mother looks like a beautiful African Queen.

  5. So what’s up with Jesse Biddle?
    Dude had a mental meltdown and got put on the inactive list? Did his hot gf dump him?

  6. None of these draft picks could possibly make the sixers any worse than they are now. This is the process of rebuilding, and the sixers picked who they thought had the biggest upside. Most would agree with the picks they made, where they picked them. It’s not like Wiggins and Parker were still on the board when they picked Embiid. It’s not like there was anyone with as much upside as Embiid drafted at #4. It’s not something you “fucked up” at. It’s drafting the third pick who would have been picked 3rd by EVERY SINGLE NBA team who had the chance, if he was still on the board. Some teams may have picked him 2nd.

  7. I think his dad is Bunny Colvin. I hope namond brice is dead in real life….that ponytail gump clown wasn’t cut out for that game.

  8. Please make the new guy stop doing that Deadspin ALL-CAPS thing so often. It’s grating.

  9. Calm down Philly fans.

    You guys are supposed to have the patience of JOB

    So stop bitching about the Sixers draft.

    You clowns won’t be drawing a paycheck from Philly teams anytime soon,so shut your yaps.

    1. you are so awesome i love you. what an amazing post the cowboys are so good mmm let me suck on your dick

      Fuck you troll.

  10. Dear Kyle,

    If you think Jason Fraser at any point looked like a boardeline lottery pick, then you may actually be mentally handicapped.

    Love,
    People with eyes who have watched Jason Fraser play

    1. Fraser was a top 5 prospect out of high school, he would have been a lottery pick had he gone straight to the NBA. a billion knee and hand injuries seriously derailed his career, but anyone who payed attention to basketball back then would know he actually could have been a lottery pick at one point

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