Unfortunately, the Philadelphia 76ers find themselves in a familiar place, late in the NBA Draft Lottery. As it stands, the Sixers will likely pick 11th overall. With that said, the top-end players such as Trey Burke, Nerlens Noel, and Ben McLemore won’t be available when new general manager Sam Hinkie takes his turn.
The most obvious need for Philly is a front court presence. Spencer Hawes played well sporadically but never put forth the consistency the team desperately needed. With the Sixers signing Kwame Brown to a two-year contract with a player option for the likes of $3 million, it shows the lack of confidence Tony DiLeo, Doug Collins, and company had in the big man. Arnett Moultrie showed some promise toward the end of the season, but shouldn’t be counted on to be some sort of franchise savior just yet.
Cody Zeller will almost certainly be on Hinkie’s radar. If the preseason favorite to win the Wooden Award as college basketball’s best player is still around when the Sixers are on the clock, it will have to be something the front office strongly considers. Zeller has his issues, such as strength and rim protection defensively, but the high expectations for his sophomore season were warranted.
Gorgui Dieng also established himself as one of the more physically dominant centers in this year’s draft. At 6’11″, 240 pounds, the Louisville product has the frame to contribute right away at the next level. Shot blocking and rebounding are things you can count on from Dieng almost off the bat. His offensive game is a work in progress, but it is improving, and his passing ability is already impressive for a guy his size.
Kelly Olynyk established himself as the best low-post scorer in college basketball a season ago. He led Gonzaga to their first ever number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. While the season ended disappointingly for the Bulldogs, Olynyk showed that he has the ability to fill it up in a variety of ways. He can score with his back to the basket, in transition, from the high-post, and in catch-and-finish situations. The Sixers lack a steady scoring threat in the post, and Olynyk has the potential to fill that void.