76ers work out six potential draftees

Posted: June 05, 2011

The 76ers' predraft evaluations began on Saturday morning.

Inside the team's practice facility at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Sixers hosted six draft prospects in advance of the 2011 NBA draft, which is scheduled for June 23 in Newark, N.J.

The Sixers hold one first-round selection, the No. 16 overall pick, and one second-round selection, the No. 50 overall pick.

On Saturday, the team's workout featured four power forwards (Temple's Lavoy Allen, Syracuse's Rick Jackson, Arkansas' Delvon Johnson, and Florida's Vernon Macklin), one center (Fresno State's Greg Smith), and one small forward (Croatia's Tomislav Zubcic).

The workout, which lasted just over an hour, included physical measurements and an on-court session. Present at the workout were team president Rod Thorn, head coach Doug Collins, general manager Ed Stefanski, and director of player personnel Courtney Witte.

Although Witte was reluctant to characterize the group as "second-round picks," none of the prospects were listed higher than No. 50 on ESPN.com's prospect board Saturday. Zubcic, a 6-foot-10 point forward, was listed at No. 59.

"The six guys we had out there, they all have different yet similar, games," Witte explained. "Each one has different elements they're better at. So it's interesting when you get to see them in a different environment like we did today: different coaching, different instruction, see how they pick things up."

Allen (Pennsbury High School) and Jackson (Neumann-Goretti) were local participants. Allen has already worked out for three NBA teams and has three more scheduled.

"I think it went pretty well," Allen said afterward. "It was all big men, so we did a lot of post work, a lot of screening and rolling and screening and popping and shooting jump shots."

Witte said that because this year's draft is dense on quality players but short on stars, it makes sense for the Sixers to draft based upon need, not best available.

"I think this year's draft there's not as much separation . . . that's kind of the consensus," Witte said. "Because there's not a lot of separation, when you get past maybe 2 or 3, teams are having to look more at need - as a generality."

The next one. Immediately after Saturday's workout, the Sixers announced a second predraft workout scheduled for Monday morning. That workout will include a similar crop of players, all projected no higher than the second round. Monday's group comprises all centers and power forwards: Joffrey Lauvergne (France), Antonio Pena (Villanova), Lester Prosper (SUNY-Old Westbury), Willie Reed (St. Louis), and Trey Thompkins (Georgia).

Thompkins was the highest-ranked prospect in the group, No. 43 on ESPN.com's board.

Pulling teeth. Because of the density of quality talent but lack of superior talent, many prospects projected to be picked in the top 20 of the draft are refusing to work out for teams selecting lower than their projected slot - such as the Sixers.

"It's amazing," said Witte. "I'm not a mathematics major, but right now there are about 20-plus people thinking they are going in the top 15. There's not a lot of separation, which I think lends itself to where there's a lot of people thinking they're going to go in front of us."


Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at kfagan@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter @DeepSixer3 and read her blog, Deep Sixer, on Philly.com

 

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