I’ve long dismissed the notion that the 76ers would jump at the chance to draft Cody Zeller if he’s available at the No. 11 pick in the June 27 NBA draft. As The Inquirer’s former Temple beat writer, I’ve covered Zeller against the Owls in the NCAA tournament. Let’s just say that I was not impressed.
Temple’s Anthony Lee manhandled the 7-foot center/power forward from Indiana in the East regional third-rounder the Hoosiers won, 58-52.
But Chad Ford of ESPN, Steve Kelly of Hoopsworld, The Sporting News, Draft Express, NBA.com and NBA Draft Insiders all have the Sixers using their first of three draft picks on Zeller. The other picks – 35th overall and 42d – are in the second round.
If the GMs working out Zeller think he's going to make a seamless transition to the 4, he's probably gone before he reaches the Sixers. But if he isn't, he's a great fit in a depleted Philly frontcourt and could be a real steal for the Sixers.
- Chad Ford, ESPN.
Observations: Zeller, who left Indiana after his sophomore year, could be viewed as a risk for a franchise coming off a 34-48 season. He does several things soundly. He has a high basketball IQ, runs the floor well, is skilled around the basket and has three-point range. However, he lacks strength and the physicality needed to flourish in the paint against NBA caliber post players.
Here are players some other mock drafts have the Sixers selecting:
Mock draft: SI.com
Observations: McCollum is a scoring machine, who can take opponents off the dribble and scorch them on three-pointers. However, he needs to become a better ballhandler to excel as an NBA point guard and may lack the size to be a dominant NBA two guard.
Mock drafts: HoopsHype, NBADraft.net
Observations: A shot blocker and rebounder, the 20-year-old would fill a need for the Sixers. However, he’s extremely raw and need to add some strength. Noguiera has project written all over him.
Mock drafts: Gary Parrish of CBS Sports; Yannis Kourtroupis of Hoopsworld
Observations: Olynyk has a face-up shooting touch that extends beyond NBA three-point range. The downside is his small wingspan (6-9 ¾) and perceived lack of strength and toughness.
Mock draft: Joel Brigham of Hoopsworld
Observations: The 20-year-old'ssize is why he's projected to be a first-round pick in June's draft. He needs to get stronger and polish up his post game in order to contribute in the NBA.
Mock draft: Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld
Observations: An athletic big, Plumlee can put the ball on the floor, rebound and defend. However, he has to work on his low-post game. And he rarely was the go-to player at Duke.
Follow Inquirer staff writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers