Sixers second-round picks eager to prove they belong

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New 76ers Jahlil Okafor, Richaun Holmes, and J.P. Tokoto (from left) were introduced during a news conference at the team's practice facility. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

For Richaun Holmes and Jean-Pierre Tokoto, being second-round selections of the 76ers translates to great opportunities.

That's because the players realize they could get meaningful minutes in what will be the franchise's third consecutive rebuilding season.

Since Sam Hinkie was hired as general manager in May 2013, the Sixers have been focused on player development, evaluating talent and developing a culture. So it doesn't matter if you're a lottery pick, second-rounder or undrafted rookie free agent. If you secure a roster spot, you're most likely going to play.

"I know, personally, I'm thankful for the opportunity the Sixers are giving me to play," said Tokoto, who was selected 58th out of North Carolina in Thursday night's draft in Brooklyn. "They're very big on development. Coming into the league, you know rookies are trying to prove themselves. Coming in as a second-round pick, I have a lot to prove and a lot to work on.

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"It's the perfect situation to be in as far as that's concerned."

The 6-foot-6, 200-pounder will get an opportunity to prove that he can play the guard spot on the next level. At North Carolina, he lined up at the one through four spots. While his dunks were highlight-reel material, he struggled shooting the ball while averaging 8.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.5 steals this past season. Tokoto shot 46.2 percent from the field and 54.4 from the foul line in his three seasons at North Carolina.

Of the two, Holmes has a better opportunity to make an impact as a rotation player. The 6-9, 245-pound power forward averaged 11.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in three seasons at Bowling Green. The Lockport, Ill., native is the only player in school history with over 1,000 points (1,089), 600 rebounds (652) and 200 blocks (244). His blocks total is a school record.

"I'm just thankful for the opportunity to get a chance to play here in Philadelphia and develop my game and get a chance to help this organization win games," Holmes said.

"I'm just looking forward to getting to work and trying to help this team win."


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

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