The 2014 NBA Draft is in a few hours, and the Sixers have the most draft picks out of any team. They have the 3rd pick in the draft, and have been rumored to trade up to the 1st pick. There have been so many rumors though that it’s hard to tell what’s going to happen and who’s going to take who. Instead of focusing on that for now, I’m going to look back at who the Sixers have drafted in the last five years. It hasn’t exactly been a slew of all-stars. In fact, very few of them even remain on their roster. If they want to continue to build for the future though, they need to make sure that this year’s draft makes an impact.
2009 NBA Draft
The Sixers’ first round pick in 2009 was PG Jrue Holiday out of UCLA. He was taken 17th overall and was set to become their starting PG and a player to build around. He struggled in his rookie season despite starting more than half the season, but he bounced back in his next three seasons with the team, posting high scoring and assist numbers. But after just four years, the Sixers shocked the world and traded him to the Pelicans in a deal that would net the Sixers a first round draft pick and Nerlens Noel. It has yet to be determined if that trade would work out, but losing Holiday, a fan favorite, was certainly surprising.
All the way back in 2007, the Sixers traded their 2nd round pick in the 2009 draft to the Heat along with the draft rights to Daequan Cook for the draft rights to Jason Smith. Smith played two seasons for the Sixers in a reserve role as a center.
2010 NBA Draft
Ah, good ol’ Evan Turner. The Sixers used the second pick of the entire draft in 2010 to draft Turner, who was set to be an eventual starter at either SF or SG. Well, he turned out to be a big work-in-progress that never seemed to actually progress enough, leading the Sixers to get impatient with him. He did start all 82 games for them two years ago, averaging 13.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 4.3 APG. His shooting percentage struggled though and he was never seen as the team leader that he was eventually expected to be. After three and a half seasons in Philly, the Sixers traded him at the trade deadline to the Pacers along with Lavoy Allen for Danny Granger, who never played a game for the Sixers. That sure worked out. It’s hard to call Turner a bust, but he didn’t live up to their expectations.
The Sixers once again only had one draft pick that year after they traded their 2nd round pick to the Bucks along with Primoz Brezec and Royal Ivey for Francisco Elson and Jodie Meeks. Elson played one game for the Sixers in that stint, then had another stint with them two years later in a pair of 10-day contracts, playing another 5 games. Basically, he didn’t do much. Meeks played two and a half seasons with the Sixers, providing good scoring as a shooting guard. He even started 114 games for Philly in that stint, but was an inconsistent shooter and didn’t provide much else before being released.
2011 NBA Draft
The Sixers made a great pick by taking Nikola Vucevic in the middle of the first round at pick #16 that year. While other international big men taken before him turned out to be either average or busts (Enes Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesely, and Bismack Biyombo), Vucevic ended up being a great young center in the NBA. Except, that didn’t happen until after he left Philadelphia. He was very average as (mainly) a backup, averaging 5.5 PPG and 4.8 RPG in 51 games. He was then traded in the Dwight Howard trade that sent Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia, to presumably be his backup. We all know how that worked out. So after giving up on Vucevic after one year, he went on to have back to back seasons with the Magic in which he averaged a double double. So the bottom line is that he was a great pick, but he never had a chance to do anything for them.
With the 50th pick in the draft, the Sixers took Lavoy Allen out of local Temple University. Allen played two and a half seasons with the Sixers, doing nothing more than be an average big man that they could rotate in once in a while. He at one point had the award of “worst player on the team” as given by me. But he was eventually traded to the Pacers along with Turner. While Vucevic was a good pick that they didn’t keep long enough, Allen was a bad pick that they kept around too long.
2012 NBA Draft
Well I thought that Vucevic didn’t stay on the team long enough to show his potential, but Mo Harkless stuck around even less. He was taken with the 15th pick in the draft that year, but was then traded to the Magic a month and a half later in the same trade as Vucevic. Harkless has now been a regular starter for Orlando as a SF due to injuries and various other reasons. Either way, I’d have preferred to keep him around considering the results of how Bynum worked out for Philly.
Speaking of players who never played a game for the Sixers, Justin Hamilton is another example of that. He was drafted 45th overall this draft, but was quickly traded to the Heat for Arnett Moultrie. That certainly turned out to be a good trade. While Moultrie was terrible and still is, he unfortunately still plagues the Sixers’ roster while Hamilton has only played 8 games in his NBA career. So trading Hamilton wasn’t much of a loss, but I assume he wouldn’t have a negative effect on their roster like Moultrie has.
Well since we’re still talking about players the Sixers are drafting that never played for them, let’s throw Tornike Shengelia into the mix. The first reaction of most people would be “who?” and I understand why. I had the same reaction. After being drafted 54th overall, he was immediately traded to the Nets for cash considerations. So basically, the Sixers didn’t get anything real in return. But don’t worry, in 45 games in his career, he averages just 1.3 PPG. I don’t think the Sixers would be much better off with him anyway, so I’m not too upset. But it still seems weird to draft three people in a draft and then trade all three before they even play a game for your team. I know this happens a lot in the NBA, but it’s still weird to me.
2013 NBA Draft
Ah, someone who’s finally still on the roster. Well, at least for now. The Sixers drafted Michael Carter-Williams with the 11th pick in the NBA Draft last year, and shockingly, they didn’t trade him immediately! Carter-Williams had a sensational year last year, winning the Rookie of the Year award and becoming a team leader from the start of the season. He is probably one of their best picks in the past five years, yet they still might trade him later today if they draft Dante Exum. I don’t know how much of an upgrade they want considering MCW is already one of the better point guards in the league.
Glen Rice, Jr.
The Sixers used the first of their 2nd round picks on Glen Rice, Jr. out of the NBA D-League, who had a slew of problems that ended his college career in a negative way. Like their whole 2012 draft, Rice never played a game with the Sixers before being traded to the Wizards for the rights to two other 2nd round draft picks that year. Rice played 11 games last year, but didn’t do much. Again, not much of a loss here.
Their other 2nd round pick was used on Pierre Jackson. Like Rice, he was traded on that same day as a part of the Holiday/Noel deal. Jackson never played a game in the NBA after being sent to the D-League and now plays in the Euroleague.
So the Sixers say that they want to get younger and build through the draft, but in the last five years, they’ve only kept one of their draft picks. That’s pretty pathetic if you ask me. Considering they could fill half of their roster with rookies this year, it scares me that they’re going to take the wrong guys and not care because they have so many. If the Sixers want to be better than an average team, they have to nail this draft. If not, they’re stuck in mediocrity for that much longer.