Call this an extremely premature and way too early 2014 NBA Mock Draft, but hey, what else is there to talk about right now? The 76ers seemed determined to plunge even further — if that’s possible — down the Eastern Conference ladder in the upcoming season. Selecting Joel Embiid and Dario Saric — two players who won’t suit up in 2014-15 — in the 2014 NBA Draft almost assured that the 76ers would be horrific again this season. The only addition of any substance is Nerlens Noel and he isn’t going to add that many victories to this 76ers squad in his rookie year.
The 76ers are headed towards the top of the lottery again and could end up with another top three or five selection. Who knows how the proposed lottery changes will affect things, but that will be solved with time.
Anywho, let’s get on to the 2015 NBA Draft. If you weren’t aware, this draft is LOADED — and I mean LOADED — with big men. Most of the top prospects are either power forwards or centers, which doesn’t bode well for the 76ers since they have Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel in the front court. If Anthony Bennett makes his way over to Philly, the front court is going to be insanely crowded. Outside of big men, the two guard prospects nearing towards the top of the ladder would be Stanley Johnson and Emmanuel Mudiay. However, ESPN’s Chad Ford has the 76ers going with Duke big man Jahlil Okafor in the first edition of his mock draft:
The Sixers finished with the second-worst record in the league last year and have done little to help their cause in 2014-15. They drafted two players who likely won’t play for them this season (Joel Embiid is expected to miss much of the year recovering from injury and Dario Saric is playing in Europe) and have done little in free agency. Nerlens Noel will be the big addition to the team. So while the odds are heavily in the Sixers’ favor to land the No. 1 pick, this draft will do little to help their team needs.
The team has two young centers in Noel and Embiid. But Okafor is the consensus No. 1 pick right now and with the exception of Emmanuel Mudiay, all of the other top prospects are bigs as well. While Okafor is different than Noel and Embiid — the Duke freshman is an old-school, back-to-the-basket, below-the-rim post beast — he could create a log jam considering Philly’s roster. But for GM Sam Hinkie, assets are the key right now and Okafor appears to be the most valuable asset in the draft.
Obviously this is really early and not much, if anything, should be drawn from this mock. However, it would be interesting if the 76ers were on the board at No. 1 overall and Okafor was still the consensus first overall pick. What would you do?