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Drafting Strategy

The draft is a few weeks away, the start of a summer which will define the NBA for years to come. Unlike the NFL, teams have only a little time after the season ends to prepare for the draft.

In the poll on the sidebar of the blog, I asked whether the Sixers should draft big at 16, small at 16, or trade their pick. Now, I’m slightly in favor of one of the three, but I won’t just give that away, yet. First, I’ll go over each option, the scenarios in each, and what picks will be available.

Drafting Small at 16

The Sixers are pretty much set on the perimeter in their current rotation – Holiday, Meeks, Iguodala, Williams, and Turner are a strong 5 to put out there. Yet, they could use someone who can consistently score on the perimeter. At 16, there shouldn’t be anyone that fits this bill. Alec Burks is the closest someone will come to this, but it’s a long shot that he will still be on the board. He’ll likely go in the second half of the lottery.

If the Sixers move, then going small might be a potential solution. But where they stand today, it’s not a great option. Really, a point guard is the only viable option here if going small, and the Sixers seem happy with their situation there as they tackle other needs.

Drafting Big at 16

This draft lacks surefire stars, swingmen, and centers. But, if looking for a decent point guard or smaller big, there is a vast selection of players. Some, such as Bismack Biyombo, would be great fits for the Sixers, but won’t be available this far down in the draft. Neither would Enes Kanter, the only true center near the top of the draft.

Players that may be available at this point include the Morris twins, Kenneth Faried, Tristan Thompson, and Donatas Motiejunas. At 16, in a weaker draft, all of these are good value for the pick. Faried and the Morris twins look like low-risk bets to become valuable role players. Thompson and Motiejunas have greater potential but greater risks associated with selecting them.

Trading

The Sixers have the assets to move up and the flexibility to move down the draft order. Moving up can take two paths: the first would be to make a move toward the top of the draft board. Making such a move would force the team to give up a highly valued asset, such as next year’s pick or Andre Iguodala. In this draft, with no top player clearly filling the team’s holes, this isn’t the smart move unless they are overwhelmed by an offer. Moving out of the first round entirely isn’t out of the question. But the Sixers have a nice spot in the draft given their needs, and like before they would need to be overwhelmed to make an extreme move. Trading up or down depending on who’s still available should definitely be considered.

My Plan

Now, the Sixers should not paint themselves in a corner. With so many variables in the draft, the key is flexibility. I’m going to approach this in a business sense, so try to stay with me. Since the Sixers (and all teams) lack information, they depend on gaining knowledge through discussions with other teams, scouts, and agents. Using this knowledge, along with their personal assessments of the prospects, they should be open to all possibilities come draft night. They should prepare to make a deal with several teams.

But along with this, as Darryl Dawkins told me, you have to let the basketball people handle the basketball issues. That is, the decision on who to draft should ultimately run through Doug Collins. He will be the one coaching the pick, putting him in position to succeed. In other words, get who Doug Collins wants to get. In all likelihood, it will be a big that can be available at 16 but probably not for much longer afterward. If you have to move up, do it. If you need to trade down, so be it. But whatever you do, trust the coach.

We’ll round up the draft talk for a little while tomorrow, with SNS coming tomorrow night.

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Tags: 2011 Draft Doug Collins

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