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NBA Draft 2011: May I Call You Nick?

Making some sense of last nights NBA Draft.

Over the past few days, my father and I have exchanged emails back and forth in anticipation of the NBA Draft.  We were excited about the possibilities of the 76ers bringing in an athletic big man.  With all the trade rumors swirling about Lamar Odom, Khloe Kardashian, Rob Kardashian, Jamie Sangouthai and maybe Lamar's dad Joe coming to Philly in exchange for Andre Iguodala, my mind was racing.

Philadelphia was already thrown off its axis by the announcement that Flyers captain Mike Richards and his counterpart Jeff Carter were traded away.  Now the 76ers had a chance to one-up one of the most shocking days in Philadelphia sports.  The mood was set for what could be a magical evening. 

The draft went as predicted for the most part, leading up to the 76ers pick at 16.  Both of the Philadelphia native Morris twins were off the table, being taken 13th and 14th respectively.  But plenty of athletic big men remained that could have provided the defensive punch the Sixers needed.  Then in an anti dramatic turn of events, the Sixers picked the "faux-hawked" Nikola Vucevic from USC.  What made matters worse is I am not sure how far Ed Stefanski would have gone to select Vucevic.  There were rumblings that they may have traded down to acquire him. 

Now don't get me wrong, Vucevic is a talented player who, based on his improvement each year at USC, could eventually become a contributor.  However, for me if everyone has labeled this draft as terrible and few participants will ever have a successful NBA career, why not go for heart?  Why not go for athleticism?  Why not go for a player who has the ability to defend, block shots and run the floor? 

Vucevic is limited athletically, which in most cases spells doom for big men in the NBA.  He will have trouble getting his interior shot off, forcing him to rely more on his jump shot.  This problem is eerily similar to the flaws that plague the rest of the Sixers big men i.e. Hawes, Speights.  I don't see Vucevic being the 20 and 10 guy he was in college. 

So if offense isn't the issue then why not draft a defender in the mold of a Tyson Chandler or Ben Wallace?

But I am not going to jump the gun on Vucevic until I see how he is used by head coach Doug Collins.  I spent the better part of last evening watching film on Vucevic, seeing how he could be integrated.  I'll tell you the truth, I was impressed.  He rebounds well and has a nice face up game.  I will say this though...If Kenneth Faried is ever named on an NBA All Defensive Team, this pick will be a bust!

As for Lavoy Allen, this was a convenience pick.  I watched the second round and saw every player I would have taken, scooped up prior to the Sixers pick at 50.  Allen was selected based on location and familiarity. 

I'll compare it to closing time at your local watering hole.  The Sixers were scoping out the scene all night, but as prospect after prospect walked out the door, the only one that remained was the high school girlfriend who had packed on quite a few pounds.  Obviously they are aware what they are getting into, but honestly...will this turn into a long term relationship?  Of course not.  Although, hey if you can make someone's night, how could you resist?

As a fan of Temple Basketball I hope Allen will do well next the D-League...playing alongside Marreese Speights

Overall I would give the Sixers draft a C-.  I don't see the team really improving after last night.  Hopefully another year wasn't added to the "rebuilding process".