Drafting Decisions

Rounding out “draft week” – that got derailed, didn’t it – I’ll discuss the different options that the Sixers will have in the draft. I already mentioned what types of players the Sixers should look for and whether they should trade or not.

I’ve mentioned lately that I am in business school. When making decisions, I tend to lean toward concepts like economic value and opportunity cost and such. That is, I take the best value option. For example (I’ll be saying this a lot in the article), the O.J. Mayo situation in Memphis last year had me at odds with other Sixers fans over whether we should try to trade for him. What I saw was an undervalued asset who could potentially help a 41-win team. Though repetitive, he has talent, averaging 17 points per game in his rookie year. Other fans saw a chemistry problem and a repetitive player with others on the roster. While I take my approach, I don’t follow it empirically, and can understand how he would mess with team chemistry midway through the year.

So this piece will be written from a value-driven perspective. But, as I said before, the ultimate decision should be made by Doug Collins, who may not use this approach, but will certainly be influenced by those who do.

Project vs. Ready-To-Go

The Sixers front-office has a goal of winning 50 games next year. The squad has a ways to go to get to that point talent-wise, and this pick likely will not get the team there by himself. But, with the team hoping to compete relatively soon, a player making an immediate impact will have more value for the team because of its goals compared to a project player. So unless the project (say, Bismack Biyombo, for the sake of example) is deemed so valuable that he cannot be passed up, then picking someone ready-to-go is the way to go, like a Morris twin.

Now vs. Later*

At 16, somewhat deep in the draft, the Sixers have the choice to stash a player away in Europe to develop their games against weaker competition. For example, let’s say Donatas Motiejunas was available. This isn’t totally unrealistic, since some drafts have him falling to the Sixers or even further down. Now, maybe, with a lockout looming, they decide that having a player who can play in Europe will be better than getting a project to develop on their own. So maybe, with the extra time to develop, they decide to go with a player who plays in Europe now and can stay there, like Donatas, instead of a project (say Josh Selby) who is American and needs time to prepare for the NBA game. I don’t know Donatas’ plans, but I imagine that this could happen.

*On this topic: I never liked the Now and Later candies. I might have been doing it wrong, but they always killed my teeth. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Free Agency vs. Draft

Let’s bring in another example. Let’s say Kenneth Faried is readily available in the draft. He would fill a huge team need as an energy guy/rebounder who can play the 5 off the bench. Granted, we’ll have 2 backup centers, but whatever. Anyway, Faried is a clear option for the Sixers at this point. However, a readily available free agent, former Sixer Reggie Evans, will also be available as a free agent and, given his age and skill set, should be readily available to the Sixers even in the case of a lockout. Do we fill that hole with the pick or the free agent?


There are many more decisions to make, but these provide a blueprint to what the thought process is. Of course, no scouting was involved here. I’m admittedly not qualified enough to offer analysis on all the players. After the team scouts and goes through this decision process, we’ll be able to look back and see how they came to make their selection.

“Draft week” is pretty much over (I’ll have a mock draft collection sheet later today to round everything up). On draft night, I’ll be live updating the blog for every selection. Usually, I would do it on twitter, but I want it on record here, so it will happen. It won’t be Simmons-like – it will just update the draft with each pick, talking about the team’s options at all points.

Tags: 2011 Draft