The 76ers held a workout today at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. And a few minutes after that workout ended, they announced they'll hold another on Thursday morning. With only about a week before the 2011 NBA Draft, scheduled for next Thursday, the Sixers are in the final few days of completing their draft board. Once again (I feel like I've written some of these sentences dozens of times this summer ... sorry everyone!), the Sixers hold the No. 16 and No. 50 picks in next week's draft.
Today's workout featured five players: Tyler Honeycutt (UCLA), Markieff Morris (Kansas), Antonio Pena (Villanova), Eniel Polynice (Seton Hall), and Xavier Silas (Northern Illionois). Tomorrow's workout also features five players: Corey Fisher (Villanova), Corey Stokes (Villanova), Bengaly Fofana (France), Justin Hurtt (Tulsa), and Charles Okwandu (UCONN).
Before we get to today's relevant prospects (Morris and Honeycutt), here's the quick-hit info about tomorrow's workout:
1. Fisher is a 5-11 point guard predicted as a second-round/undrafted pick.
2. Stokes is a 6-4 shooting guard also predicted as a second-round/undrafted pick.
3. Fofana is a 7-0 forward/center from Paris.
4. Hurtt is a 6-4 shooting guard also predicted as a second-round/undrafted pick.
5. Okwandu is a 7-0 center who is not expected to be drafted.
In essence, Thursday's workout is comprised entirely of players not expected to be drafted -- even in the second round. That was not the case with this morning's workout. Both Morris and Honeycutt are expected to be drafted in the first round, with a good number of mock drafts having Morris as the Sixers' pick at No. 16. Morris is a local kid, as well, so that also ups the intrigue with today's workout. You can check out the video of Morris from after this morning's workout, which should be embedded below. Also, feel free to follow on Twitter: Deep Sixer.
Here's the take on Morris. He fits the mold of what the Sixers are missing in their lineup: a gritty rebounder/big man who can do the dirty work. Considering that a few of the prospects who also fit this mold (and here I'm mainly talking about Bismack Biyombo) are expected to go above No. 16, it makes sense that Morris would be under consideration as the Sixers' selection. The media is not allowed to actually watch the workout, so sadly there is no insight into exactly how Morris looked today, but rather you just get a vibe of the Sixers' overall stance on players.
Here's what Courtney Witte, director of player personnel, said about Morris: "Obviously the things we like about Markieff is that he’s a big that plays big is the way I would put it. He’s not afraid to get inside and mix it up. He’s proud. He has a little bit of an attitude, obviously courtesy of his Philadelphia upbringing."
Added Witte: "I think his mental makeup is one of real quiet toughness and I think that’s a really good thing to have."
Morris said it would "mean a lot" to be selected by his hometown team, the Sixers.
"I can help the team. I'm a stretch four and I'm tough. I have that Philly pride, so, they like that about me a lot ... It was a good workout. I definitely wanted to impress these guys as much as possible."
Honeycutt seems like an intriguing prospect. Right now he's predicted to go somewhere in the late first round. Last fall, I talked with Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday about his summer workouts and he brought up Honeycutt because he'd spent the summer working out with him. Holiday said that Honeycutt and Holiday's brother were by far the superior athletes to Holiday himself. After today's workout, Honeycutt, just messing around, tossed the ball off the backboard and caught some serious air in slamming it down. He's kind of a do-everything type of player. He's also another swingman/tweener, so I'm sure that will get the fan base riled up. But coming from UCLA (defensive school), Honeycutt even mentioned he wanted to be the kind of guy who locks down the opposing team's best player. If the Sixers do indeed make a trade involving Andre Iguodala, a guy like Honeycutt could be a nice addition to groom for the future.
"You go to UCLA, you become a great team player and a better basketball player and you try to win," Honeycutt said today. "And the key emphasis is defense so a lot of players coming out of there are good defenders."
As Witte has said in previous workouts, unless there is vast separation in talent, the Sixers will make a selection based on need. Which, in translation, means they'll take a big man. Unless, when the draft gets to No. 16, a prospect is still on the board that they have ranked as clearly superior to whatever big men are left on the board.
Each week, Kate will check in from the road and answer fan questions about the Sixers. Click here to ask Kate a question or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.