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:
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.
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.
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.