It’s now March, and Sixers’ fans have lost all hope in the 2012-2013 team. With Andrew Bynum doing everything but confirming he will sit out the rest of the season, there is no reason for optimism either. Luckily, the Sixers’ struggles this year will get them a lottery pick, likely from the 7th-12th range. There’s just one small problem with that. This year’s draft class consists of no Anthony Davis, no Kyrie Irving, and no Damian Lillard. There are very few, if any, impact players in the NBA draft this summer.
Of course, decisions on draft day will be influenced by the team’s plans for Andrew Bynum and others such as Evan Turner, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and Jason Richardson, who missed the majority of the season with knee issues. Regardless, my belief is that the Sixers need to take the best player on the board that is not a point guard with their first-round pick. Maybe we’ll get lucky, and the experts will be wrong. There are a few players that I pray the Sixers don’t pass on if still on the board when they pick.
Obviously, players such as Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Shabazz Muhammad, and Cody Zeller probably won’t be on the board unless the Sixers strike it lucky in the lottery, but picking in the top-ten or so may give them a possibility of getting a useful player for the future.
Here’s a look at a few players I wouldn’t mind seeing in a Sixers’ uniform next season.
1. Victor Oladipo, Indiana
Oladipo is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard in junior year at Indiana University. Playing next to the preseason favorite to win the Wooden Award, Victor is now known as the better contender for the honor. The junior guard is a strong, physical, explosive athlete. His physical tools make him extremely effective in the transition game, where he averages 1.25 points per possession on 66% shooting. Oladipo is known as mostly a threat in the open court and slashing to the basket. Regardless of whether he’s scoring in the open court or half court, finishing is one of his strengths. In the half court alone, Victor is shooting 69% at the rim. While Oladipo can put the ball in the basket, he is mostly known as a lock-down defender. He has the ability to guard multiple positions, from point guards to small forwards, and brings a great intensity to that side of the ball. Playing the passing lanes, picking up ball handlers full court, shutting down the opponent’s best player are all abilities of Indiana’s shooting guard. Averaging 3.5 steals per 40 minutes leads to a lot of his easy baskets in transition at the other end. Oladipo’s high motor is possibly his best quality due to the fact it affects every aspect of his game. Not only does it help him shut opponents down and allow him to shoot such a high percentage, but it is a big part of why he is a tremendous rebounder for his position. His effort alone makes him a threat on the offensive glass, along with his nose for the ball. The biggest criticism of Victor Oladipo is his inability to create his own offense. However, Oladipo really struggled to shoot the ball in his first two seasons at Indiana. His work ethic and will to get better has made that into a strength of his game. He is an excellent shooter off the bounce and a much improved shooter in catch and shoot situations too. While the criticism may be honest now, I fully expect Victor to do everything he possibly can to make sure that is not a flaw in his game by his rookie season. His ball-handling needs some work though, as he is pretty much limited to straight-line drives to the basket. I wouldn’t put anything past Oladipo though, the kid continues to impress and do the unexpected.
2. Otto Porter, Georgetown
Otto Porter is a 6-foot-8, 200 pound small forward from Georgetown. For some reason, everyone that John Thompson III coaches has a high basketball IQ. I understand that he does the recruiting and all, but whether it be Greg Monroe or Roy Hibbert, every player he develops just sees the game in a different way then most kids do in college. Otto Porter is no exception. His high IQ is what sets him apart from the rest of the draft class. Unlike most players that are the star on their team, Porter does a great job of moving without the ball. Always finding open spaces or just opening up an area for a teammate, the sophomore just always seems to be in a good position. Otto is one of the best finishers in the country, averaging 1.39 points per possession at the rim. His 7’1″ wingspan makes him so difficult to defend around the basket, hence the great numbers. Offensively, he never forces up a bad shot and limits his turnovers. Porter’s mid-range game is his bread and butter scoring wise. He shoots an incredible 68% inside of 17 feet, and averages 1.4 points per possession inside that distance. 1.53 points per possession also indicates he has a great ability to shoot off the dribble, which will help him beat wing players in the NBA. While not fully developed, the defensive potential for the kid from Georgetown is high. With his length, he should be able to develop into a lock-down wing defender if he adds just a little bit of strength to his frame. Porter has a great nose for the basketball, probably attributed to his high IQ, but it helps him with rebounding because he’s not great in box-out situations due to his lack of strength. For a guy that isn’t great at holding opponents off, he’s a very good rebounder though. In his sophomore season so far, he’s averaged 9.5 rebound per 40 minutes, which is well above the average for small forwards. One more thing scouts rave about is Porter’s potential. With an IQ as high as his and the physical upside he possesses, the 6-foot-8 wing has an extremely high ceiling.
While most believe this is as weak as a draft class as the NBA has seen, I do believe there are a few players capable of being impact guys throughout the span of their career. These are just two guys that may possibly do good things in the association, but another guy I’m really high on is Kelly Olynyk, from Gonzaga. Olynyk is a 7-footer that can run the floor, shoot the ball, and score in the post. The NBA Draft isn’t until June 27, and the NCAA Tournament has yet to begin. Many things will change between now and June, but don’t expect the Sixers to draft the next LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony in 2013.
Topics: 2013 NBA Draft, Georgetown, Georgetown Hoyas, Gonzaga, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Indiana, Indiana Hoosiers, Indiana University, Kelly Olynyk, NCAA Tournament, Otto Porter, Philadelphia 76ers, Preview, Victor Oladipo