I don’t get it, and I know there were thousands of Sixers fans out there thinking the same thing when the 15th pick rolled around last night. Perry Jones III, Terrence Jones, Tyler Zeller (I’m not a fan), Jared Sullinger and other bigs like Andrew Nicholson were all still on the board. All I could think about after Terrence Ross and Jeremy Lamb were picked was that they had to pick a big man. Then the Sixers went and picked a slashing small forward.
Sound familiar? That’s probably because the description matches most of the players on the team. I’m not down on Maurice (as he now prefers, instead of Moe) Harkless as a player. He’s athletic, long and quick. Once again, sounds like a lot of players on the Sixers. He’s not a shooter. He played power forward in college but is a bit of a tweener for the NBA (Thaddeus Young, anyone?). He’s been rising on draft boards, but I think even Jay Bilas and co. were pretty confused with this one. That was my gut reaction after our first pick, and I stand by that.
Then, something happened. The Sixers made a trade out of nowhere to ship the 45th pick and a future first rounder to the Heat for Arnett Moultrie, who the Heat took with the 27th pick. Moultrie was discussed as a possible target for the Sixers with the 15th pick, so to get him at nearly the end of the first round is good value, as long as that future first-rounder doesn’t end up coming back to haunt us. He’s what the team needed: an athletic big man to develop for the future. His numbers were pedestrian when he was at UTEP, but last season at Mississippi State was a revelation. If he can learn how to be a professional from Elton Brand, and add some bulk, the investment will (hopefully) pay off. I still wish the Heat had taken Perry Jones III at 27 and shipped him to the Sixers, but maybe his knee is as bad as they say. Only time will tell. Then there was the pick at 54, Tornike Shengelia, who is a draft and stash, and we may never see him in a Sixers uniform.
What does it all mean for Philadelphia? Well, it looks like the Sixers will look to shop Andre Iguodala, and are likely to find a suitor this summer. There is just too much clutter at the small forward position, and for the last two years it has been evident that the Turner-Iguodala combination is not going to work long-term. With this in mind, the outlook is interesting. The team going forward is extremely young, and I don’t think these picks will make a huge impact on the team next year, but add these guys to the solid nucleus already in place, and this team will continue to progress. We just have to be more patient than most fans want to be after our improbable run this past year.