Less than two months removed from the highly-hyped 2014 NBA Draft, ESPN has already released their first 2015 Mock Draft.
“It’s way too early for a mock,” you may say to yourself, but as Chad Ford points out, interest in the 2015 draft is already high among NBA executives, scouts, and front offices.
It is beyond safe to assume that 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie is already familiar with some of the ’15 prospects, and considering the reports of the Sixers’ opposition to proposed lottery changes, it seems that the 2015 draft is at the forefront of the franchise’s agenda.
To come up with their order for their too-early mock draft, ESPN’s panel of writers and editors predicted the odds of each team taking home the title, and then reversed those odds.
This approach landed the 76ers in the top selection spot. From ESPN:
“The Sixers finished with the second-worst record in the league last year and have done little to help their cause in 2014-15. They drafted two players who likely won’t play for them this season, and have done little in free agency. Nerlens Noel will be the big addition to the team. So while the odds are heavily in the SIxers’ favor to land the No. 1 pick, this draft will do little to help their team needs.”
The 2015 draft doing little to help the team is in reference to the fact that the several of the draft's top prospects are frontcourt players, an area the Sixers have already solidified with the selections of Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.
ESPN’s mock sees the Sixers selecting 6’11’’ center Jahlil Okafor, who will be hitting the hardwood for Duke this coming college season. The problem with such a selection, however, is that the Sixers spent the past two drafts selecting centers. Again from ESPN:
“The team has two young centers in Noel and Embiid. But Okafor is the consensus No. 1 pick right now and with the exception of Emmanuel Muliday, all of the other top prospects are bigs as well. While Okafor is different than Noel and Embiid – the Duke freshman is an old-school, back-to-the-basket, below-the-rim post beast – he could create a log jam considering Philly’s roster. But for GM Sam Hinkie, assets are the key right now and Okafor appears to be the most valuable asset in the draft.”
Mocks and player positioning will change countless times leading up to next June, so the projection of Okafor to the Sixers, which is far from set in stone, is not worth getting too hung up on at this point.
The larger takeaway from ESPN’s first mock draft is that the Sixers are in for another struggle of a season, and that many feel they will be in excellent position again to add assets come draft day.
That is unless of course the NBA changes around the lottery system in response to the Sixers’ scheme.