Friday, June 27, 2014

Feeling a Draft

Going into yesterday's draft the Sixers had 7 picks, including the #3 and #10 selections in the first round. They'd been deliberately terrible this past season, to the point where one of their 2 first-round picks in the last draft spent the entire year out with an injury he'd suffered /before/ the draft, in order to get a high pick in this year's loaded offering so they could get good this year. And with all that in place, they picked:
  • Injured guy with high ceiling who's going to be out all year
  • Croatian guy with high ceiling who's going to be playing in Turkey for the next N years, where 1 < n < 3
  • Crazy athletic guy from Clemson who can't shoot
  • Crazy athletic guy from Syracuse who can't shoot
  • Two Serbian dudes (one of whom has crazy athleticism) who - stop me if you've heard this - can't shoot.
  • And a wing player from Tennessee who can't shoot.

Now, I love Sixers GM Sam Hinkie. I think he has giant swinging cojones of brass so mighty they have orbiting moons. He is going full-on Houston Astros here, tearing a mediocre franchise down to the concrete slab in order to build something with long-term potential. 

So I can applaud picking Joel Embiid at #3. If he's healthy - and that's the big if - he's probably the best player in the draft, and potentially a superstar. Alternately, he's Sam Bowie, but if the alternative is permanent mediocrity, might as well swing for the fences (and annoy the hell out of the pundits while you're at it). 

But man, this is a big leap of faith - for the fans,for ownership, and for the few building blocks like Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel who are already in place. To keep all of those parties on board and committed through another year of trainwreck while waiting for the cavalry to arrive en masse, it's going to be work.

And maybe next year they'll draft immediate help, and Embiid will be healthy and ready to contribute, and Saric will get out of his contract in Turkey, and Dangubic and Micic will show up, too. Maybe some of those non-shooters will learn how to shoot. It's a nice dream to hang onto, and at this point, that's all drafts are - dreams.

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