Courtney Witte, the 76ers Director of Player Personnel, couldn't hide the smirk on his face when asked a question about mock drafts.
The Sixers brought in five prospects on Monday, with 6-foot-10, 245-pound University of Georgia forward Trey Thompkins the most highly regarded among the group.
When a reporter suggested that Thompkins stock was dropping into the second round by virtually all mock drafts, Witte had heard enough.
"I can guarantee you those mock drafts are wrong," Witte said in an exasperated, but respectful manner. "He is a first round talent."
Of course we've seen other so-called first round talents last until the second round, or not get drafted at all. Either way, the Sixers, who select 16th in the first round, have had trouble getting players who are projected to be selected among the top 20 players, to come work out for the team. Kate wrote about this on Sunday.
Witte feels that Thompkins, who averaged 15.7 points and 7.8 rebounds this past season as a junior is a talented, but far from finished product.
"He is a very skilled player," Witte said.
Witte says that Thompkins has a good face-up game and showed during Monday's workout post-up skills.
"He also has a high basketball I.Q.," Witte said.
"It's fair to say that most people in the league want to make sure he is ready for the physicality of the NBA on a nightly basis as a power forward," Witte said. "He went a long way today to show us he could do that."
We're not sure an hour workout can prove much of anything, but the bottom line is the Sixers, who also pick No. 50 in the second round, seem to like Thompkins.
And with so many players having similar type skills, there may not be much difference between the end of the first round and the midway point of the second. Draftexpress.com projects Thompkins to be selected as the 11th pick in the second round, 41st overall.
Thompkins says he doesn't look much at mock drafts, the internet or newspapers, which probably boosts his stock with NBA teams.
He says he has been to Chicago, Milwaukee and Charlotte for workouts with one also scheduled with the New York Knicks. Thompkins isn't shy about expressing a potential role he could play.
"I know a lot about the Sixers and have a lot of friends who play for the Sixers and I have watched them closely," he said. "I feel I can contribute right away."
If that is the case, then he would have indeed been ranked low in the various mock drafts.
Recapping Monday's Workout
Besides Thompkins, the other players the Sixers brought in were 6-8 forward Antonio Pena from Villanova, 6-11 forward Joffrey Lauvergne of France; 6-10 center Lester Prosper of Division III SUNY-Old Westbury (NY); and 6-9 forward Willie Reed of St. Louis.
Do we detect a pattern here?
Nobody under 6-8 came to the workout. On Saturday the Sixers brought in four power forwards, one center and one small forward.
Inquiring reporters checked to see if there was sign at PCOM saying "No guards allowed."
Of course the Sixers have made no secret that they are looking for size in this draft.
Reed is an interesting player in that he was suspended from the University of St. Louis this season for violating the school's code of conduct. As a sophomore he averaged 12.4 points and 7.9 rebounds.
As for the others, well, they are looking to get teams to look at them. Pena is an example.
He was a selfless player at Villanova, having averaged 9.8 points and 7.1 rebounds as a senior. Pena also worked out for Cleveland and will have a workout with New Jersey.
"I am given a chance and whatever chance it is very humbling," Pena said.
Witte says it was a great workout, which keeps a record in tact. When hasn't a team said that things went great during these settings?
Either way, the Sixers will bring in players later this week and word has it that the group could include somebody who might even be listed in the first round of a mock draft.