Top five questions going into draft

ASSOCIATED PRESS Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie finally unveils his draft strategy tonight.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie finally unveils his draft strategy tonight.
Posted: June 27, 2014

TONIGHT THE questions get answered, the speculation will be put to rest and general manager Sam Hinkie finally will unveil what he has been working on over the past several months as the NBA draft commences at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Sixers are the belle of the ball, with picks 3 and 10 in the first round and five more in the second. With much less to work with at last year's draft, Hinkie stunned by dealing his All-Star point guard (Jrue Holiday), picking up a plethora of draft picks and hit a home run by taking eventual rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams with the 11th pick.

So what can we expect tonight? It's really anybody's guess, but here's a stab at answering five of the most-asked questions.

Q: Will the Sixers trade up to get either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker?

A: I think that is their priority and I think that it has been for quite some time, but even more so since Joel Embiid suffered his foot injury. Selling the house, though, is not something that I think would be in their best interest. You need players to make this rebuild happen. I haven't had one scout definitively tell me that Wiggins or Parker is that franchise-changing player. If they were, trading as many picks and players as possible to ensure landing one of them would be a viable option. But that doesn't appear to be the case. Whoever they get at three needs to turn out to be a very, very good player in the league and No. 10 needs to be even better than anyone expected. That's what has to happen, not only this offseason but for a few ones to come, in order for this rebuilding plan to come to fruition.

Q: What are the possibilities the Sixers stand pat at Nos. 3 and 10?

A: Las Vegas hasn't put out odds on this one, at least that I've seen, but you probably could get very good odds against that happening. Hinkie has shown, in his short tenure as GM, that he isn't shy on pulling moves, and he certainly has a loaded arsenal with which to play with seven picks in this draft. Again, if there is a way to move up to get in the top two slots, I have to think that he'll pull the trigger, short of giving up everything.

If they don't move up and aren't thrilled with taking Embiid or Dante Exum at 3, perhaps they move down and secure even more picks in the first round. Maybe they will wind up with multiple picks in the top 10 by taking on big, expiring contracts. You know there will be movement by Hinkie, and I'd say it's a good bet that part of those moves will include their first two picks.

Q: Should they stay with the third pick, who are they most likely to take?

A: This is so hard to answer because of the secrecy surrounding the organization. Almost all of the rumors and trade talk clearly have been speculation.

Should they stay, I think they'll go the same route that has been traveled the past two seasons and grab an injured big man and wait for him to get healthy. That obviously is Embiid. Brett Brown, much to Hinkie's chagrin, has said numerous times that this is a 3-to-5-year growing process. I think the organization believes that. If the medical reports say that Embiid should recover from his foot stress fracture and there will be no long-term ramifications, they'll prove that.

If the Sixers aren't happy with the reports on the navicular bone in Embiid's right foot, maybe they will take a shot at Exum. While that would leave them void of a real shooter in the backcourt, remember that Brown came from the San Antonio Spurs, where thinking outside of the box was the norm. Maybe a backcourt of Exum and MCW is what they desire.

Q: Who looks appealing for the Sixers at No. 10?

A: As much I have said that the team needs players and can't draft for specific needs, I contradict myself here by going with someone like Nik Stauskas. The Michigan product is by far the best shooter in a draft that has quite a few of them. I can't stop thinking about how much playing alongside a good shooter would benefit Carter-Williams. There were so many times last season that defenses basically had five players clogging the lane, just daring the Sixers to shoot the ball from the outside. That hindered what MCW is best at - penetrating. Stauskis is a big kid at 6-6, which would give the Sixers a giant starting backcourt. Creighton's Doug McDermott, should he still be around, is another shooter the team could be interested in.

If the team goes smaller with the first pick, say Exum, then they may look to go with a bigger body at No. 10.

Q: Of the players they pick, who will be playing in the NBA's summer leagues?

A: The Sixers will be playing in both the Orlando Summer League, which runs from July 5 to 11, and the Las Vegas League, which goes from July 11 to as late as July 21 (depending on how far a team advances in the playoffs). Nerlens Noel will be playing, possibly in all of one league or maybe in parts of both. The rookies selected tonight will no doubt be there as well, as well as several of the players who littered the roster last season. Hinkie will be putting the finishing touches on those rosters not long after the draft is over tonight.

Carter-Williams will not be participating as he still is recovering from the surgery to repair the torn labrum in his right shoulder. Look for some local college players to fill out some of the roster spots in the two leagues.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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