The first NBA Daily Draft Preview will take a look at the Philadelphia 76ers and their future. While some teams are gearing up the playoff push, the 76ers are looking forward to June for an entirely different reason.
The 76ers were preseason picks to hover around the bottom of the Eastern Conference. However, they started out the season on a bit of a roll. Philadelphia jumped out of the regular season gates with a 3-0 record, including an opening night victory over the defending champion Miami Heat.
Since the first few weeks of the season the 76ers have struggled mightily. They are eliminated from playoff contention and currently sit second last in the Eastern Conference with a record of 15-56. After losing to San Antonio, the 76ers losing streak reached 25 games. The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers set the NBA record for consecutive losses at 26.
The 76ers will be looking to avoid tying that NBA record when they play the Houston Rockets on Thursday. The 76ers were set back last season when they signed Andrew Bynum, who did not play any games for the team before being sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers. While this season has been a tough process for the 76ers, there have been highlights.
Players for the Future
The 76ers acquired Nerlens Noel from the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013, but did not play any games this season for the team, as he was recovering from a torn ACL. Despite not even playing one full year in college, Noel impressed the nation with his skill set. During his short stint with the Kentucky Wildcats Noel averaged a near double double with 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, he also added 4.4 blocks per game.
He has drawn comparisons to the Chicago Bulls, Joakim Noah, as a big man who can do it all. This is high praise for Noel as Noah has put together a season which has his name being mentioned for defensive player of the year. Once he returns to the 76ers line up, Noel may be able to fill the role of defensive anchor that Andrew Bynum was unable to.
Another bright spot in a dark season for the Sixers this year has been the play of rookie-of-the-year candidate, Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams was selected by the 76ers with the 11th overall pick in 2013 and has immediately taken on a leadership role for a young Philadelphia team.
Averaging 16.7 points, 6.2 assists and 6.1 rebounds on the year, Carter-Williams will only continue to improve and develop as he gains more experience in the NBA, and he has the potential to be a star player for Philadelphia.
Players to Look at in the Draft
While it is not guaranteed, the 76ers have a very good chance of winning the draft lottery and receiving a top five pick in the upcoming draft. Only the Milwaukee Bucks have a worse record than the 76ers, so it is very likely they will be choosing from upcoming elite talent.
The Philadelphia 76ers organization has said that they would be looking to pursue Kansas star Andrew Wiggins in this year’s draft. Despite coming up short in the NCAA tournament this year, Wiggins has shown potential as a legitimate scoring threat, as he scored 41 points earlier this year.
Wiggins has been seen as an athletic swingman with the potential to become a force on both ends of the floor. Aside from Andrew Wiggins, Duke’s Jabbari Parker could also bring some more scoring to the 76ers line up. Parker, a 6”8 small forward, has the ball handling and shooting capabilities of a guard.
While times may look dark right now for the Philadelphia 76ers, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is the 2014 NBA draft.
NBA Daily is a daily series providing commentary, predictions, and analysis of events surrounding the NBA.
Commentary By Eric Kummel