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With the 3rd pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Sixers select......


No, I’m not ignoring the fact that the Phillies were no-hit for the first time since I was two months old this past weekend. To be honest, I’m not surprised this hasn’t happened sooner with the way this offense has consistently floundered since 2010. The team hasn’t been no-hit in 36 years, but after all this time, the Phightins have still managed to keep the top spot on the “Most times a team has been no-hit” list. Only in Philadelphia.


Anyway, so Ron Hextall is the new Flyers GM, the Eagles are starting OTAs, and the Philadelphia 76ers lost 26 games in a row last season, and still wound up with only the third pick in 2014 NBA Draft.Photo: photos.syracuse.com


I don’t care what anybody says, I was disappointed by the results of the lottery. And yes, I know Michael Jordan was once the No. 3 pick in the draft, so anything is possible. Moreover, Michael Carter-Williams won the NBA Rookie of the Year award after being picked 11th in last year’s draft, so it’s not a proven fact that the higher picks have the best initial campaigns.  


Nonetheless, a first or second pick is obviously better than the third pick in this scenario. It’s more than likely that Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid along with Duke’s Jabari Parker will be the primary selections of the draft (in some particular order). There’s also a possibility the Sixers could be interested in Kentucky Wildcat Julius Randle (more on him in a bit).


And yes, I do realize the Sixers have the 10th pick in the draft as well, but we’ll discuss that another time. Keep in mind these are basic predictions and anything can change just moments before the Sixers even make their selection. Sixers GM Sam Hinkie could go all “mad scientist” on us again on draft night, so this is just based on a straightforward draft.


Joel Embiid: While much of the 2014 NBA Draft talk has been focused on his Kansas teammate Wiggins, some insiders believe Embiid could be the best overall player available in the draft. Embiid is 7'0" 240 lbs and he’s only 20 years old. Embiid has reportedly been impressive in workouts, but despite rumors that Cleveland will use their No. 1 pick on Embiid, there seems to be conflicting reports that the Cavaliers are skeptical of Embiid’s stres fracture in his lower back. How could they not be?


For all we know, Embiid is 100% healthy, but where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. Two words come to mind when you think of a big man with possible lingering injuries: Greg Oden. Embiid will be a gamble, and the Sixers already drafted Nerlens Noel anyway, so it’s probably doubtful he is in their plans or will even be available for that matter.

Photo: collegebasketballtalk.nbcsports.com

Prediction: Despite the rumors, I’m predicting Cleveland will still draft Embiid.



Andrew Wiggins:  We’ve heard about this guy for the last year in Philadelphia. He’s only 19, and although his talent is undeniable. That being said, Wiggins’ worst game as a pro happened to take place on college basketball’s biggest stage: the NCAA tournament, where Wiggins only scored four points in Kansas’ three-point loss to Stanford in March. While some originally thought this performance would affect his draft position, it hasn’t, and most experts are still picking Wiggins to be the first or second pick. As previously mentioned, there’s no questioning his talent, but some have questioned his drive. When Dr. J spoke with Wiggins on the night of the lottery, Wiggins told him he was “just happy to be here.”  


Doc’s response was classic. In a nutshell, Doc basically told Wiggins that he has to be a little more than just happy to be there if he’s going to compete with the world’s best on a nightly basis. Can you imagine the Sixers’ fanbase (there still are Sixers fans, right?) on a night when Wiggins is “just happy to be there”? Maybe it’s being taken out of context, but it doesn’t exactly give you the impression that Wiggins has the eye of the tiger, either.


Prediction: Sixers fans won’t have to worry about Wiggins. If Embiid scares off Cleveland, the Cavaliers or Bucks will most likely pick him.

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Photo: thewhistle.com

Jabari Parker: Honestly, Parker suits the Sixers well, mainly because MCW and Nerlens Noel can pick up the slack on defense. Parker, who averaged 19.1 points per game for Duke last season, will be used primarily for offense and would most likely become the Sixers main scoring option. Moreover, his overall skills are exceptional and basketball IQ is very high (after all, he did go to Duke), but several players have had exceptional college careers at Duke, but have problems transitioning to the NBA.


Parker does have some lesser points. Like Wiggins, Parker also faltered in the NCAA Tournament last March when Duke lost to Mercer. Parker can force bad shots, but that’s probably nothing that a little time with Sixers coach Brett Brown can’t fix. Another issue (depending on where you play him) is his size. Parker isn’t as athletic or quick as Wiggins, so he might not be able to keep up with smaller forwards. He might better suited at power forward, but his perimeter skills are probably better suited at the 3 spot.


Prediction: Barring any trades, Embiid and Wiggins will probably be selected by Cleveland and Milwaukee with the first two picks. If he is available, it’s likely the Sixers will select Parker, who at this stage is probably the most complete player amongst the top three projected picks. The Sixers would most likely choose Wiggins before Embiid, but a foundation of Parker, MCW, Noel in the middle, Thaddeus Young and whoever the team selects with the No.10 pick is a solid foundation.


That being said, there’s always a possibility that Parker might not be available, which brings us to our under the radar pick.



Julius Randle- At 6”9’ 250 pounds, Randle is a physical power forward with raw talent who has more athleticism, size and speed than Parker, but has several more holes in his game. Although his size makes him tough to guard, he’s predominantly a left-handed player, lacks decent passing skills, and sometimes prefers his perimeter game to the low post. That being said, Randle never takes a play off and is an excellent offensive rebounder. He might not be able to score with the same regularity as he did at Kentucky, but he definitely has the size to play power forward in the NBA.


Prediction: Randle could ultimately be a nice, big body that could work well with Noel in the post if he uses his size, but Parker is probably the better, all-around fit if he’s available.



Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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MCW photo: photos.syracuse.com

 Wiggins photo: collegebasketballtalk.nbcsports.com 

Parker photo: thewhistle.com