Apr. 7, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Devin Ebanks during the game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Lakers 125-105. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
With the news broken yesterday that the Sixers decided not to sign Dewayne Dedmon for the remainder of the season after consecutive 10-day contracts, the speculation on who the team’s next project is begins.
Now that teams are able to sign players to 10-days, and two consecutive at that, it gives them a chance to evaluate prospects without being obligated to pay them large amounts of money. Typically, this is the part of the season that guys down in the NBA D-League start receiving phone calls and get their chance to audition for an NBA contract.
Some guys have had chances, some even having successful stints in the Association, but regardless, for whatever reason, they have been unable to find a long-term home in the NBA. With that said, here is a list of players that the rebuilding Sixers should keep tabs on.
1. Devin Ebanks, Forward, Texas Legends
- 6-foot-9, 215 lbs
- Per Game: 24.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals
Ebanks is someone who has already tasted the NBA level, and while he didn’t experience that much success as an individual, he did experience playing with Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest competitors that professional sports has ever witnessed.
In 28 games this season for the Legends, the versatile forward has posted eye-catching numbers. The intriguing part about Ebanks is that while he has already developed a tremendous amount of talent, his upside still remains a huge factor. With his size and athleticism, the sky will always be the limit.
Despite being thought of as a small forward out of West Virginia, Ebanks is establishing himself as one of the undersized power forwards that are becoming so popular due to their quickness advantage over bigger, bulkier guys. He is still a work in progress at the offensive end, and lacks a true go-to move in the post that he will need to become a consistent scorer at the next level, but with the Sixers’ roster the way that it is and the potential that Ebanks possesses, it is definitely worth giving him a shot with a 10-day.
2. Darius Johnson-Odom, Guard, Springfield Armor
- 6-foot-3, 212 lbs
- Per Game: 22.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.5 steals
Brett Brown has not been shy when calling out his team’s effort and attention to detail on the defensive end. Countless times this season, the Sixers have scored well over 100 points and lost, sometimes by significant margins.
Their defense has been Brown’s biggest concern during his rookie season as a head coach. Despite their lack of a true go-to scorer, he is happy with the up-tempo, attacking offensive style the Sixers have played this season. However, their defense, particularly on the perimeter, has been sketchy at best.
Darius Johnson-Odom is a prospect that may catch Brett Brown’s eye. As a two-way guard, he has been tearing up the D-League. There is no denying that Johnson-Odom will always compete at both ends and is a capable defender at any level, but his scoring output in Springfield has to make NBA personnel people extremely pleased.
With the Sixers lack of a defensive presence on the perimeter and their love for players with hyphenated last names, it is easy to see the fit here.
3. DeAndre Liggins, Guard, Sioux Falls Skyforce
- 6-foot-6, 209 lbs
- Per Game: 15.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5 assists, 2.7 steals
DeAndre Liggins made a name for himself at the NBA level with the Oklahoma City Thunder before playing his way into the D-League. The talent was never the question, however, the mental aspect of the game hindered his development.
Now, once again, nobody is questioning his ability at the D-League level. He has the capability to defend the wing with the best and does well to use his length to get into passing lanes.
In addition, Liggins is a terrific rebounder for a guard, something Brett Brown seems to like early in his NBA head coaching career.
Liggins has just scratched the surface of what his ultimate potential is, and with an all-around skill set like his, it won’t be long before he gets another chance to latch on with an NBA team.
4. Seth Curry, Guard, Santa Cruz Warriors
- 6-foot-1, 180 lbs
- Per Game: 19.6 points, 7 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals
Seth had a chance to make a home in Memphis early this season but failed to do so. However, the Sixers roster is in a totally different situation than that of Memphis’s.
With a team in rebuilding mode that really struggles to shoot the three-ball, who better to bring in than the best shooter in the game’ s brother? While Seth isn’t fooling anyone into thinking that he is the type of player that his brother is, he is still a very serviceable shooter.
Unfortunately for him, his size projects him to be a point guard in this league after spending his college career off-ball. However, Philadelphia does present him a unique situation. With Tony Wroten playing the role of second-unit point guard for the Sixers, it would give Curry the opportunity to play the 2-guard offensively while still guarding smaller point guards while his facilitating skills develop.
The size and length of the Sixers’ point guards, Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten both at 6-foot-6, would allow Curry to produce from a familiar position right now while he works on becoming a point guard, and who better to develop point guards than Brett Brown?
5. Jarvis Varnado, Forward, Iowa Energy
- 6-foot-9, 230 lbs
- Per Game: 14.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, 5 blocks
Despite the statistical success of Spencer Hawes, it remains apparent that the Sixers desperately lack toughness inside. Dedmon provided them with some energy and rebounding prowess, but still, they really struggle to protect the rim.
Jarvis Varnado could be part of the solution to that problem. While not being the recipient of much playing time during his stint with the Miami Heat, the Sixers would be able to offer him much more playing time and the chance to establish himself as an NBA talent.
Brett Brown remains displeased with his team’s defense, and nobody will question that defense starts inside. With a rim protector like Varnado, it will make everyone else better. At the very minimum, even when he isn’t blocking shots, the Mississippi State product is contesting and altering every shot possible.
There is no question that Varnado is already on a lot of team’s radars, especially with the way that he’s played in his brief run in the D-League this year. If the Sixers want to sign him to a 10-day, they better act fast.