ThINQing Out Loud: With the 16th pick in NBA draft, Sixers would be wise to think talent rather than size

Posted: June 23, 2011

Luke Babbitt, James Johnson, Marreese Speights, Nick Young.

Those are the last four No. 16 NBA draft choices. How did they pan out?

Too soon to judge Babbitt, who made two trips to the D- League as a rookie. The Chicago Bulls quickly moved Johnson for a future second-

round pick - i.e. nothing. Speights is Speights. And Young averaged 17 points last season.

What does any of this mean? At that spot in the draft, it's easier to find a guard. Frontcourt players with any likelihood of success have been grabbed, so the degree of difficulty on choosing the right center or forward is higher.

Of that group of four No. 16s, Young is the only guard and easily the best of the group. Jrue Holiday was still available when the Bulls took Johnson, a forward out of Wake Forest, in 2009. Ty Lawson also was available. Everyone needs big men, so let the other teams make the reach picks.

Even if the Sixers don't need to add to their guard stockpile, it's better to get another bargaining chip Thursday than somebody who is destined to fail. Maybe a big man such as Donatas Motiejunas falls their way and the Sixers think he can help post-Elton Brand, or the Sixers like Markieff Morris and he's still there. But if it doesn't happen, don't bark at the Sixers for grabbing a guard. Nobody at 16 will help the Sixers much next year anyway. Better to see if Craig Brackins develops than take somebody no better than he is.

If you'd have had . . .

. . . a late lunch Tuesday at La Collina, you'd have seen two waiters "hiding'' behind a wall listening to John Chaney spin tales with media types. Near the end, Chaney got up and demonstrated how he once boxed Ramon Rivas out of a Temple timeout huddle.

"Keep winning," one of the waiters told Chaney as he left the place.

Not bad . . .

Reader Dan Willig sends in this separated-at-birth suggestion: Cliff Lee and top Wimbledon contender Novak Djokovic.

Things I can't get worked up about . . .

Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit . . . Roger Ebert's tweeting. (He did, in fact, have the truth going for him. Head for Google if you haven't been following along). . . . Serena Williams' comeback. (She was gone? It's hard to tell in tennis.) . . . The team with the best record in baseball needing to make a trade-deadline deal. (They do. But I can't get worked up about it.)

Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or

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