Thursday, June 24, 2010

Taking a Number 2

Amid the Phillies' swoon, the World Cup, not to mention the NHL and NBA seasons just wrapping up recently, it's a little hard to believe the NBA draft is tonight, with your Philadelphia 76ers holding the No. 2 pick.

It's all but set in stone that the Washington Wizards will take John Wall with the first pick … and that four months from now we'll learn that Wall had someone else take his SATs, he received money and John Calipari will come out unscathed when the heat is on. Or something like that. Then, as popular opinion would have it, the Sixers will and must select Evan Turner, the Naismith Award winner, with the second pick. It's been quite the hot topic here in Philadelphia — mostly because there have been rumored reports ever since the Sixers improbably got that second pick that they may take Derrick Favors instead. Word on the street is that new coach Doug Collins really loves Favors and his upside, while others in the organization prefer the safe, logical pick in Turner. The Sammy Dalembert trade didn't help quiet the chatter.

By all indications, Wall and Turner were the best two players in college basketball last season. It's those two and everyone else. Turner is without a doubt a better player right now than anyone else projected to go after him. Some have compared him to Dwyane Wade. There are more than a few Sixers fans out there that have expressed just how much they'll hate the Sixers if they pass on Turner. Watching him last season makes those feelings completely reasonable and understandable.

The Sixers should take Turner. It's the safe pick, probably the right pick. Even if it doesn't pan out, nobody can really complain. He was the consensus No. 2 pick. And if their website is any indication, the Sixers are going to draft Turner. But you know what? I wouldn't be upset if they don't.

As I said, I think the Sixers should take Turner. I think they will. And I think he'll be good. Possibly really good. Potentially great. However, I don't forecast him to be a superstar like some do. Maybe he will be. Maybe he won't. Time will tell, of course. In Turner, I see a really good all-around player, one that will come in from day one and make the team better, even if the Sixers already have Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young as players with similar size and stature. But the idea of Derrick Favors tantalizes me as well.

He's big. He's fast. He's athletic. Basically, he's everything Elton Brand is not. And he's just reached the tip of the iceberg of his potential. Whereas Turner comes in as a finished product, Favors comes in as somewhat of a project, a player with room to grow and develop and blossom. A guy with the physical tools to become a star. He's also a huge risk. If the Sixers picked Favors and he doesn't pan out — as so many potential guys have — it's another blemish on the franchise, on management. Another Shawn Bradley, Sharone Wright or pick your favorite Sixers bust. In the unlikely possibility that Turner doesn't pan out, well, who saw that coming?

So I'm of the belief that I won't be upset either way. Turner is the right pick, the safe pick, but one that hardly excites me. Maybe it's because he's from Ohio State, a school I loathe. Maybe it's because it creates a log jam of 6'6 - 6'8 players on this roster. Still, picking Turner wouldn't upset me in the least. He's the best player available, and you really can never go wrong taking the best player. But I also won't be upset if Favors is the one who gets called. A foundation of Jrue, Iguodala and Favors, not to mention guys like Speights, Thad and Lou Will, along with another lottery pick that would result from what is expected to be another year of struggling sounds like something to really build with and get excited about. Then again, so does a backcourt of Jrue and Evan Turner.

No matter whose name gets called — though I think we can all agree it most likely will be Turner — it's just exciting to see the Sixers are in this position, and it's gives some reason for hope. If this team can continue to stockpile talent and finally hit a home run with a pick, by the time Elton Brand's lethal contract expires, they may be in position to actually make some real noise. The future hasn't had as much promise since the Sixers selected a little guard out of Georgetown with the first overall pick.

If Evan Turner or whoever the Sixers pick at No. 2 can bring even half the excitement that Allen Iverson did for so many years, the Sixers won't be the afterthoughts of the Philadelphia sports landscape much longer. Whatever happens, let's just hope they don't churn out over 80 kurics of shit with the pick.

BallHype: hype it up!

No comments:

Post a Comment