Hey, I thought the same thing. I even asked around to some folks who are wise in the way of the NBA and the players headed into the draft. Needless to say the answers I received were uniform and succinct.
“They can’t,” was the response in how the Sixers could screw up the No. 2 pick.
But there is always an addendum tacked on at the end after that two-word answer.
“They can’t… unless they draft Shawn Bradley.”
Remember that one? Remember how the Sixers had the No. 2 pick in the 1993 draft and took a 7-foot-6 center with just one year at Brigham Young under his untested belt? Even with Anfernee Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn, Isaiah Rider, Vin Baker, Alan Houston and Sam Cassell sitting there on the board, the Sixers gobbled up the lean and lanky center that at his very best was labeled a project.
Two-and-a-half years later they finally traded away Bradley for Derrick Coleman… maybe the one instance where Coleman was the preferred alternative.
Here’s how bad the pick for Bradley was… for five seasons after the Sixers used the No. 2 overall pick on him, they were still in the lottery for five straight seasons afterwards. That’s how they were able to get Jerry Stackhouse, Allen Iverson, Larry Hughes, not to mention trading away the No. 2 pick in the ’97 draft for Jim Jackson, Eric Montross, Anthony Parker and Tim Thomas.
Quite obviously, not many of those picks worked out too well, either.
This year there is no such worry, though, mostly because there is no Shawn Bradley-type available in the 2010 Draft. It’s not a crop that is seen as particularly deep with the picks beyond the top three a guess. After Kentucky guard John Wall goes to Washington with the top pick, the Sixers are expected to take Ohio State guard Evan Turner. Essentially, Washington has the top pick while the Sixers have No. 1A.
It really is a can’t miss. In fact, last night La Salle grad and former NBA player, Tim Legler, told viewers on ESPN that Turner was the true star of the draft. Legler declared that 10 years from now we will be talking about Turner as a Hall of Famer.
That’s a pretty bold comment considering how uncertain the draft can be. For every Iverson, Charles Barkley and possibly Evan Turner, the Sixers have shown us Bradley, Sharone Wright, Charles Smith, Keith Van Horn, Marvin “Bad News” Barnes and whatever the hell that was in 1986.
Indeed, June hasn’t been the kindest month for the Sixers.
Which is why we want to know if they can mess it up? Is there a Sam Bowie to take ahead of Michael Jordan? A Kwame Brown-type poised to turn heads at the draft workouts or an Adam Morrison set to be labeled the next Larry Bird?
Can it really be this easy?
“It gives us a lot of options which is what we really need,” general manager Ed Stefanski said. “We are ecstatic. When you are at six and you move up to two it is phenomenal. We are happy campers. I just got a text from (Comcast-Spectacor COO) Peter Luukko and a text from (Comcast-Spectacor Chairman) Ed Snider; they are watching the hockey game but they were watching this too.”
Yes, apparently this is a slam dunk. If the Sixers were to take Turner, a 6-foot-7 guard with a seven-footer’s wingspan, a knack for making clutch plays, as well as what his draft media guide bio says is, “a student of the game who studies past greats and appears to have a great understanding [of the game].”
What it means for the Sixers is that Turner can pair with Jrue Holiday in the backcourt, while Andre Iguodala can move to a more natural forward spot where we won’t have to watch him brick up three-pointers on a routine basis. Turner’s addition could also make Thaddeus Young a potential draft-day trade bait, though not the type of deal that would free up cap space for a bigger move.
In other words, all the Sixers have to do is take Evan Turner. It really is that easy.