Draft combine: Sizing it up

Tristan Thompson (left) could be a player the Sixers are targeting in the NBA Draft. (Michael Thomas/AP)

The NBA Draft combine in Chicago is well underway and it makes sense now to re-evaluate potential prospects. The combine doesn't include live playing, 5-on-5, but it does include drills and physical measurements and the interview process. So in that way it gives us a head start on weeding out who might be on the 76ers' draft board and who might not.

The Sixers brass of president Rod Thorn, general manager Ed Stefanski, coach Doug Collins, and assistant general managers & player personnel guys Tony DiLeo and Courtney Witte are all in Chicago to help with the draft evaluation. The Sixers, when all is said and done, will interview 18 players while in Chicago. Considering how important team chemistry and cohesion are to this specific franchise (that's just the kind of coach Collins is), the interview process, in which Collins participated, is relatively important.

The 2011 NBA Draft, which will be held June 23, is considered a weak draft. Light on point guards and centers, but heavy on power forwards. In past seasons, the Sixers have drafted the best available player, regardless of position, but in a weak draft most experts predict that teams will lean more toward drafting for need. The Sixers don't need a point guard and they don't need a small forward. They need either a bruising big man or a center.

The Sixers are expected to start bringing in players to PCOM for workouts beginning around June 1. What follows is a list of potential draft picks (Sixers select at No. 16) and each pick's updated information if he's gone through the combine's measurement process. Each of these potential draft picks has landed as the Sixers' selection on somebody's mock draft board (ESPN, NBA.com, etc.).

1. Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas. During his days at Texas, Thompson was listed as 6-foot-8 and it seemed like some NBA execs were concerned about his ability to play the power forward in the NBA. On Thursday, Thompson measured in at 6-9 without sneakers. Some folks think he has moved himself higher in the draft, possibly into the lottery, but he's an option for the Sixers at No. 16.

2. Bismack Biyombo, PF, Congo. Yes, believe it or not, one mock draft has Bismack dropping to the Sixers' spot at No. 16. Realistically, most mock drafts have him as a lottery pick, but Jrue Holiday was also expected to be a lottery selection during the 2009 NBA Draft. Bismack will be measured in later today, haven't yet seen the results from here in Chicago, but here are the most recent measurements: 243 pounds, only 4.3 percent body fat, 6'7.75'' without shoes, 6-9 with shoes, 7-7 wing span, 9-3 standing reach. And there's this quote, which would probably make Sixers' fans happy since this team could use some of this attitude: "There is nothing and no one scares me in the NBA."


Who is closest to the end of the line?

3. Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas. Most mock drafts have his brother, Marcus, going higher, but more than one mock draft have the Sixers selecting Morris with the No. 16 pick. Morris just measured in at the combine, here were his numbers: 6'7.75'' in socks, 6'9.25'' in shoes, 6'10.75'' wingspan. Here's this rough interview with Markieff from the combine: Morris interview.

4. Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania. This guy is a legitimate 7-footer, but he could very easily be a lottery selection. He has yet to measure in at the Chicago combine. ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford has Motiejunas as the No. 17 overall prospect, but considering how rare legitimate centers are (size-wise, anyway), that means very little and Motiejunas could go as high as No. 8, or fall to the Sixers at No. 16.  

5. Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State. I couldn't find any of the major mock drafts predicting the Sixers would select Farried, but it's not a ridiculous notion since some of the mock drafts have him going in the No. 15 spot. Also, I've recevied more emails about Faried than perhaps any other potential draft pick (save Enes Kantner). Seems like Sixers fans really like the way he rebounds and hustles and most feel he could be a perfect complement to the Sixers' current roster. Faried measured in at the Chicago combine earlier today and his numbers surprised some people: just 6-6 in socks, 6'7.5'' in shoes, but with a 7-foot wingspan and 9-foot standing reach. Morehead State had him listed as 6-8, so some were surprised that he's actually just 6-6 in socks. Even so, it seems Faried's stock is rising after his performance at the combine because of his "constant motor."

6. Enes Kantner, C, Turkey/Kentucky. This guy has absolutely moved himself into the top of the draft order after his performance at the combine, but we thought we'd include him because he might be the only legitimate big man/center in this year's draft and we wanted to update everyone on his performance. Here in Chicago, he measured 6'9.75" in socks, 6'11.25" in shoes, with a 7'1.5" wingspan, and 9'1.5" standing reach. Word out of Chicago is that Kantner has impressed the NBA brass. 

We know some of this stuff is overlapping earlier posts, but people seem to want to talk about the NBA Draft and discuss which player might be the best fit for the Sixers. If you want to follow on Twitter, you can do that here: Deep Sixer. Also, we'll be holding a Live Chat at 1 p.m. here on Philly.com, you can join that here: Live Chat.


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