Thursday, August 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Sixers need to look toward lottery

The Sixers are a lock for this year's NBA Draft Lottery, and the franchise needs to prepare for the future.

Sixers need to look toward lottery

Lehigh´s C.J. McCollum. (Joe Mahoney/AP)
Lehigh's C.J. McCollum. (Joe Mahoney/AP)

The Sixers are facing an uncertain offseason: coaching questions, a probable plethora of personnel moves, and, of course, they still have to determine the best course of action for Andrew Bynum.

Despite the uncertainty, it is safe to say that the Sixers are a lock for the lottery. For much of the season it seemed as though they may be able to make a playoff push, but at this point it has become obvious that the team is eliminated from the postseason.

Thus, the organization should be looking toward the lottery.

The Bynum move was a bust, and without a deep list of franchise-changing free agents available this summer, it may be time for the Sixers to build the old-fashioned way: through the draft.

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Some teams (Boston, Miami and New York, among others) have been able to remake themselves recently without developing through the draft over the course of several seasons. These teams were able to attract top quality talent through free agency, which clearly won’t be the case for the struggling Sixers.

So with that being said, it’s time to take a look into this year’s lottery and point out some players who may be available to help the franchise going forward.

1. Alex Len, Maryland: If the Sixers don’t re-sign Andrew Bynum this summer, the team will surely be on the market for a big man. Kwame Brown and Spencer Hawes are the only other true centers currently on the roster, and neither has a real future with the franchise.

Len is an extremely athletic seven-footer with developing offensive ability. He has a nice touch and is able to shoot over others because of his size. He is quick and nimble on his feet and can finish well around the basket, as well as being adept at offensive rebounding. He is extremely long and can serve as a deterrent on the defensive end. He may very well develop into a solid starting center in the league.

2. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh: An explosive scorer who has been somewhat overlooked by playing at Lehigh, McCollum averaged around 20 points per game in each of his four college seasons, and has the ability to get to the basket and create his own shot.

It is no secret that the Sixers struggled to score this season, and adding one of the most prolific scorers in college basketball couldn’t hurt. However, at 6’3’’, McCollum’s size is somewhat of a concern. With Holiday penned in as the starting point, McCollum would be playing mainly shooting guard minutes. Starting him and Holiday together, while potentially explosive, could also be an issue as the two could easily be oversized and overmatched. Still, scoring is an area the team desperately needs to address this offseason, and it happens to be McCollum’s specialty.

3. James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina: An interesting option here. While McAdoo doesn’t directly address any of the Sixers glaring issues, the potential might be too much to pass up. At 6’9’’, 220 pounds, McAdoo is a little more fit for forward than fan favorite Thaddeus Young.

While he will certainly needs to add some strength, McAdoo can do a lot on the court, and would be able to fill a lot of holes for the 76ers, especially if Young is used as trade bait this summer.

4. Victor Oladipo, Indiana: Not too popular among Philly fans right now after the dagger he hit to take Temple out of the NCAA tourney, but Victor Oladipo may be an option for the 76ers.

Oladipo is a hard-nosed player who can get it done defensively. He is extremely active and athletic, and his hard-working habits would make him a good fit with any franchise. His lack of offensive ability is a drawback, as the Sixers desperately need scorers. But again, if Evan Turner is traded this summer, Oladipo may be a replacement option.

5. Cody Zeller, Indiana: This option follows the same logic as an Alex Len selection. If Bynum does not come back the Sixers will need a replacement in the post, and Zeller may be among the best available. Though he may not be the most exciting option, Zeller has had a solid career at Indiana, and could contribute at the NBA-level.

Like Len, Zeller is athletic for his size, and is an efficient and effective scorer. He would need to add bulk to bang with other bigs in the NBA, but he could provide the Sixers with a nice post presence.

Keep in mind these possible picks are based on the premise that, while the Sixers stunk this season, they didn’t stink enough to give themselves a good chance at a top-tier pick. They are currently projected as having a 0.8% chance of winning the lottery. So assuming popular early picks like Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, Kansas' Ben McLemore, and Georgetown's Otto Porter are taken, these are the options the Sixers may be working with. A lot can change between now and June, but there is no doubt that the franchise needs to begin preparing for the future.

Michael Kaskey-Blomain Assistant Sports Producer
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