Front and center in the NBA draft

Michigan center Mitch McGary. (Carlos Osorio/AP)
Michigan center Mitch McGary. (Carlos Osorio/AP)
Posted: June 27, 2014

WITH THE NBA draft finally upon us, the Sixers still have some choices to make as to who will be wearing a blue-and-red Snapback next to Adam Silver tonight. And by the looks of it, there aren't too many prospects for the center position who stand out.

The Sixers have the third and 10th picks and five second-round selections.

Here are the Daily News' expected top-5 prospects at center, including how they fit with the franchise based on the team's current needs.

Joel Embiid

College: Kansas

Year: Freshman

Height: 7-foot

2013-14 stats: 11.2 pts., 8.1 reb., 1.4 ast., 2.4 TO, 2.6 blk., 62.6 FG%,

68.5 FT%

Comment: You can't teach height. Embiid has the height, the footwork, the upside and everything else to make him a top-10 prospect, with or without the recent foot surgery. Though it should make teams cautious, do you really pass on possibly the best center prospect in perhaps 10 years?

Jusuf Nurkic

Last year: Bosnia

Height: 6-11

2013-14 stats from 28 games in the Adriatic League: 11.7 pts., 5.7 reb., 1.1 stl., 54.5 FG%, 70.1 FT%

Comment: Nurkic will give a team size and strength in the post, something that's uncommon for many frontcourt players this year. He can play with his back to the basket and has a nice touch around the rim and an average shot from the foul line. Nurkic needs to work on his conditioning and has a knack of getting lost on the defensive end. He compares to NBA players Nikola Pekovic or Zaza Pachulia.

Walter Tavares

Last year: Spain

Height: 7-2

2013-14 stats from 35 games in the Spanish ACB League: 6 pts., 6.8 reb, 1.5 blk., 58.5 FG%, 72.2 FT%

Comment: This year will be full of international big men, but Tavares isn't one of great quality. Though he's been skyrocketing up draft boards and had an impressive workout in front of 11 NBA teams (including the Sixers) this week at Seton Hall, he'd likely be a guy a team might have to stash overseas for a while. He's a good rebounder and shot-blocker and his size would obviously intrigue any team, but he's only played basketball for 3 years and hasn't shown flashes of brilliance in the post like Joel Embiid. He compares to Miles Plumlee and is projected as a late first- to early secnd-round pick.

Mitch McGary

College: Michigan

Year: Sophomore

Height: 6-10

2013-14 stats in eight games: 9.5 pts., 8.3 reb., 1.5 ast., 1.9 stl., 54.5 FG%, 66.7 FT%

Comment: He's not crazy athletic, he lacks a consistency in the post, he doesn't have a great face-up game, and he's not a shot-blocker yet, But McGary has an extremely high motor and plays with an energy unlike any other player in the draft. McGary rebounds well and runs the floor great and is physical when he is in the post. It seems as if he goes to the right system, he can stay around the league and carve out a spot on a team as a role player.

Patric Young

College: Florida

Year: Senior

Height: 6-9

2013-14 stats: 11 pts., 6.2 reb., 1.1 blk., 54.1 FG%, 59.6 FT%,

Comment: Defensively, you won't move him out of the post. He was the strongest guy at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and he's a strong, all-around defender, as well as an athletic specimen who can operate from the post with jump hooks from both hands. But Young lacks consistency offensively, didn't really dominate at Florida and has issues rebounding, because he's undersized to play the "five" position. He could turn out to be a solid role player and he's worth a middle-to-late second-round pick.


On Twitter: @TylerRickyTynes

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