Draft night should end secrecy surrounding Sixers

ASSOCIATED PRESS Indiana's Cody Zeller could be available when Sixers pick 11th.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Indiana's Cody Zeller could be available when Sixers pick 11th.
Posted: June 26, 2013

THERE WILL BE no more hiding and no more speculation as to what the 76ers have been doing since introducing Sam Hinkie as president and general manager on May 14. Tomorrow night, the Sixers are scheduled to make three picks in the NBA draft, first at No. 11, then twice in the second round (Nos. 35 and 42).

At some point during the evening, Hinkie will come out and talk about the players he picked, or the players the Sixers traded for, or the picks they traded away. While that will be his top priority, the questions certainly will shift in the direction of what is going on with this organization: Is there a plan for free agency? Does that plan include an offer to Andrew Bynum? How stable is the roster as constructed?

Oh, yeah. And how is that coaching search going?

If you're looking for answers - and we all are - perhaps some of them will come tomorrow. But don't count on it. For reasons only he knows, Hinkie has decided to go into hiding since taking the job after being an assistant to the GM in Houston. Presumably, he's been holed up in his offices for many hours a day, sorting through material on the players he's inherited and the ones he hopes to bring in. And somewhere in there, he's been leafing through resum├ęs of potential coaching candidates.

"Their secrecy is really strange," one NBA executive told me recently. "They aren't telling the media who they are bringing in for predraft workouts? Do they really think that can be kept a secret? The first question teams ask players when they bring them in for workouts is 'Who have you worked out for so far?' If they think they are gaining some type of advantage with their secrecy, it really shows how naive they are."

Not exactly what Sixers fans want to hear, but that's where the organization seems to be right now. Perhaps the draft will bring some sort of welcomed relief for the fans. But, at No. 11 in what appears to be a mediocre-to-weak draft, there doesn't appear to be immediate help coming.

So where will the Sixers focus their attention? Is it solely on a big man? It's not a bad idea, being that they were 20th in the league in rebounding at 41.3 a game and 26th in the league in allowing 44 a contest for a difference of minus-2.7 (25th).

Problem is, there really isn't a solid, bruising big man who can help them on the boards right away. Many mock drafts have them selecting Indiana's Cody Zeller, Pittsburgh's Steven Adams or Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk. All are 7-footers, Zeller probably the most NBA-ready, Adams the most physical and Olynyk with maybe the biggest potential. But all are long-term projects, which perhaps fits into Hinkie's plan.

Another glaring need is an outside shooter. Nick Young and Dorell Wright, two of the team's best outside bombers, are unrestricted free agents. Jason Richardson is still under contract, but he probably will miss at least most of the year after major knee surgery in mid-February.

With another need being backup point guard, does this mean the Sixers make a strong effort to go after combo guard C.J. McCollum from Lehigh? If so, they may have to do some bartering, as the 6-3 McCollum is widely speculated to be taken before the Sixers pick at 11.

The Sixers have eight players under contract. That includes the $3 million player option on Kwame Brown. They almost certainly will come to some sort of agreement to rid themselves of him. That would leave seven players, but only somewhere around $12 million under the salary cap with which to play.

Perhaps after the draft, we will begin to get some answers as to which direction this new-look organization is looking to move. They'll have to come out from behind the curtain at some point and start explaining. Won't they?

On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

comments powered by Disqus