I’m not going to lie, nothing seemed to go the Sixers’ way last night during the NBA draft. I can’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed with what they came away with. The Lakers threw a wrench into their plans when they selected Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell with the second pick in the draft, despite many rumors that the Lakers were “locked in” at drafting Jahlil Okafor. Here’s a recap and analysis of all the picks and trades the Sixers made last night:
1. Jahlil Okafor (Center/Duke)
1st round, 3rd overall
It seemed like the Sixers’ plans for the future would take another step forward with the addition of Russell, but the Lakers ended that dream when they grabbed him one pick before the Sixers could. The Sixers went with Okafor, who’s still an excellent player and should come in and make an immediate impact. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset about drafting Okafor, but I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed that it was yet another center. At some point, drafting the best available is going to hurt them if it continually is a center. There doesn’t seem to be overwhelming optimism over Joel Embiid’s recovery, especially from GM Sam Hinkie.
Sam Hinkie says he doesn’t expect Joel Embiid to play in summer league.
— Max Rappaport (@MaxRappaport) June 26, 2015
Hinkie: Surgery has not been ruled out for Joel Embiid. "All options on the table."
— John Gonzalez (@gonzoCSN) June 26, 2015
Those are not exactly encouraging words to hear from the general manager. But, the addition of Okafor makes this sting a little bit less, as he will be able to fill in for Embiid in the time being, however long that might be. If Okafor and Embiid turn out to be as good as they’re expected to be, they have quite a pair of offensively gifted big men, not even counting Nerlens Noel. It’s still kind of frustrating, but Okafor is a good pick.
2. Guillermo Hernangomez (Center/Spain)
2nd round, 35th overall
Hernangomez, a teammate with Kristaps Porzingis for Sevilla, had a very short tenure on the Sixers. It lasted all of about 15 minutes before he was traded to the Knicks for two future second round picks, where he will be reunited with Porzingis. I guess we’ll never know what he could’ve been for the Sixers years down the road.
3. Richaun Holmes (Forward/Bowling Green)
2nd round, 37th overall
After two straight centers when it seemed like they needed any other position, they went with Holmes, a senior from Bowling Green.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) June 26, 2015
There was a rumor that Holmes wouldn’t be staying with the Sixers and would be traded as well, but the confusion was sorted out and he will indeed with staying in Philly. It listed him as being able to play both the 3 and the 4, but he seems more fit for the 4. Holmes was the first player in school history to finish with 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 200 blocks in his career.
Derek Bodner wrote an article on Philly Mag about possible Sixers second round picks, and this is what he had to say about Holmes:
“Few have improved their draft stock over the past two months more than Bowling Green senior Richaun Holmes. Holmes had a strong senior season — averaging 14.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game during his last year at Bowling Green — which earned him MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year Award and a spot on the All-Conference first team.”
4. Arturas Gudaitis (Center/Lithuania)
2nd round, 47th overall
Wait, you’re saying they didn’t need another center? Hinkie was loading up on his big men last night after taking another one, an international guy who likely won’t be coming over to the United States for a little while. His Draft Express profile seems to be positive, saying he’s built similarly to Mitch McGary. For the Lithuanian team Zalgiris Kaunas, he averaged 6.0 PPG and 3.6 RPG over two seasons. Here’s a portion of his DX profile:
“Gudaitis’s intrigue as a NBA prospect and his ability to score inside and pull down rebounds at a respectable rate start with his physical tools. Standing around 6’10 in shoes, with a 255-pound frame and big hands, the physical, slightly undersized center is built similarly to the newly trimmed downMitch McGary. Despite the knee injury he suffered right around two years ago, Gudaitis is a terrific athlete for his size. He has exceptional mobility for his size, runs the floor extremely well, and is often able to compensate for his average length inside with fairly impressive leaping ability.”
5. J.P. Tokoto (SG/North Carolina)
2nd round, 58th overall
It was a little surprising to see Tokoto fall in the second round this much, but they were able to snag him with the 58th pick in the draft. Finally not a center, Tokoto is likely the most talented player other than Okafor that they got in this draft. Listed as both a shooting guard and small forward, he has apparently been compared a lot to K.J. McDaniels, who they got in the second round last year. Tokoto averaged 6.7 PPG and 4.4 RPG over his career at UNC. Very good late pick.
6. Luka Mitrovic (PF/Serbia)
2nd round, 60th overall
It only makes sense that they’d end the draft with another big man, right? Mitrovic is another guy who we probably won’t see for a while, if at all. The 22-year-old played the last two years for Crvena zvezda, averaging 7.5 PPG and 4.9 RPG over those two years. At this point, it was a crap shoot as to whether he’ll work out. It’s so hard to find someone NBA-worthy this late in the draft.
Overall, it’s hard to tell what this class will do for the Sixers. Okafor should obviously make an impact, but of their five second round picks, one was already traded and two will stay overseas. Holmes and Tokoto will have shots at making the roster and hopefully will do so. Next stop: summer league.