Sixers to take close look at Williams, Davis

Posted: June 27, 2007

TODAY'S EQUATION: Second thoughts lead to second looks and, in some cases, second chances.

The 76ers, who made it clear through the entire predraft process that questions about character or the existence of unsettling baggage in a prospect's background create huge red flags, have made it equally clear that it can't hurt to be as thorough and as painstaking as possible.

That goes a long way toward explaining today's scheduled workouts for forwards Sean Williams and Glen "Big Baby" Davis. Williams is the 6-10 rebounder and shot-blocker who was kicked off the Boston College team this season reportedly for repeated offenses related to controlled substances. Davis is the 6-9 Louisiana State star whose weight soared to at least 350 pounds before coming back to a more svelte 290, but who intrigued the Sixers' staff enough to be brought in for a second visit.

They were to be at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in a group with 6-7 Purdue forward Carl Landry and 6-10 Virginia forward Jason Cain, a former John Bartram High star who was named to the 2002-03 Daily News All-City team.

UCLA guard/forward Arron Afflalo was back for a second chance yesterday, saying he chose the Sixers among "about three or four callbacks." He went head-to-head with 6-8 Kansas forward Julian Wright.

King also said that some of the staff might go to New York tomorrow morning to meet with, among other possibilities, Florida forward Joakim Noah. King seemed less interested in Florida guard/forward Corey Brewer and North Carolina forward Brandan Wright.

Even as all of that was unfolding, an ESPN report had the Sixers offering two of their three first-round choices in tomorrow night's NBA draft (Nos. 12 and 21) to the Milwaukee Bucks for No. 6, with which they would take Georgetown forward Jeff Green. Sixers president/general manager Billy King neither confirmed nor denied the report. (For what it's worth, usually if there is no substance to a rumor, King says so.)

Asked about the chances of the Sixers simply staying at No. 12, King smiled and said, "Right now, good. Tomorrow . . . maybe not."

"We're trying," he said. "We may have to sweeten [the offers] a little bit."

King said he has had a private investigator he uses regularly in the draft process check into the issues surrounding Williams, whose Boston College career was terminated after only 15 games of his junior season. Williams has been training with former Sixers coach/general manager John Lucas in Houston, where Sixers assistant coach Moses Malone watched a workout Monday with representatives of the New Jersey Nets and the Golden State Warriors.

Afterward, Lucas and agent Charles Grantham agreed to send Williams to Philadelphia.

"He's off the charts athletically," Grantham said. "We all know the issue with him. There aren't issues. There's one issue. He made a mistake, and the mistake is behind him. Now, he's looking at a new opportunity."

Williams blocked 193 shots in his 69 college games, setting a school record with 75 this season. He was not a starter in either of his first two seasons.

Asked whether Williams is first-round material, King replied, "Yeah, definitely."

"What jumps off the chart is his ability to run, his potential to score inside and his shot-blocking," Lucas said. "On those things, he's probably the fourth- or fifth-best player in the draft. What doesn't jump off the chart is his issue. He's immature, but he had a 1,280 on his SAT exam. Nothing dumb about him; all things young.

"He needs structure. I was asked by someone, if those things are in place, would I coach him? In a heartbeat."

Davis' issue has been his weight. There has been a concern that, once he signs a contract, the excess pounds could go back on, transforming him into a latter-day version of Tractor Traylor or Oliver Miller.

In three seasons, Davis climbed into the LSU top 10 in points (1,587), rebounding (916), free throws made (429) and blocks (110). He led the Southeastern Conference in rebounding (10.4) as a junior.

While the vast majority of prospects to work out for the Sixers - that number reached 43 yesterday - have come in with some measure of gaudy statistics, Julian Wright came in selling his ability to, at least immediately, provide intangibles: His ability to handle the ball, to defend multiple positions, to rebound and make plays.

After only two college seasons, he said, "I just felt like it was time for me to move on, start my NBA career."

"I felt like I would have improved in college, but if you want to talk about stock, I felt like it wasn't going to go up higher," he said.

Six shots

Jason Cain averaged 6.8 points and 6.3 rebounds for Virginia this season. As a senior at John Bartram High, he averaged 14 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and five blocks for a 24-4 team that won the Public League championship . . . Carl Landry averaged 17.4 points in three seasons at Purdue after transferring from Vincennes University. He averaged 18.9 points this season after missing all but five games of 2005-06 with a knee injury. *

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