When the Spurs and Thunder clash in Oklahoma City Saturday for Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, a reminder of what can become of a late second-round pick will be on display. Manu Ginobili, a three-time champion, was selected 57th overall in the 1999 draft.
The Sixers have five second-round picks in the upcoming draft. They have the 32nd, 39th, 47th, 52nd and 54th picks. A talent the likes of Ginobili is the exception when picking in the second round, but a player who can have a long, productive NBA career can certainly be found.
Former four-year Florida big man Patric Young is hoping to be that guy. Young was the lone Gator invited to the NBA combine in Chicago in early May, and he looked at the opportunity as a chance to sell not just his skills but also his intangibles.
“It helps for teams to see my energy and passion out there on the court,” Young said. “Hopefully that is something they want to see more in person and interview me more as well and see if I am someone they want on their team.”
The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Young averaged 11.0 points and 6.2 rebounds. He is known for his defense, specifically making it difficult for the opposition to catch the ball in the post. That skill would be a welcomed addition to the Sixers' roster.
Being a four-year college player can be a deterrent because teams favor potential over polish. Young isn’t worried about that, deciding instead to heed the advice of his friend and current Sixer Jason Richardson.
“He has been encouraging me through this whole process,” Young said. “He said stay focused and be in kill mode whenever I am on this court. I am fighting for food on my plate. He also said enjoy this process, because you only get one chance to do it all.”
Young impressed those in attendance at the combine with his 37.5 max vertical jump. He also had 25 bench press reps, two shy of the all-time combine record.
Young did not interview with the Sixers in Chicago but he was hopeful he would get an invite to come and work out in Philadelphia before June 26.
“I wouldn’t mind going there,” Young said. “I know J-Rich and Thad Young, so it would be cool to play alongside those guys.”
The idea of being part of a young team has its pros and cons, Young said, but he thinks the worst of the Sixers' rebuilding process is behind them.
“It is a tricky situation,” Young said. “There was a lot of pressure on those guys. Michael Carter-Williams being drafted so high and expected to perform at a certain level and he was able to do that for a little bit, but it is hard to sustain that over the duration of the season when you don’t have experienced, veteran guys around you.
“They were just learning as they were going. A lot of them hadn’t played an 82-game season. And there were a lot of 10-day contract players. It was definitely the definition of a rebuilding year for them.”
Young played the center position in college but he is projected to play both center and power forward at the pro level. He is expected to be taken anywhere from the 34th pick to 47.
The Sixers have Nerlens Noel playing in the middle, and Henry Sims certainly gave the Sixers reason to consider keeping him on their roster with his play this past regular season, when he averaged 11.8 points and 7.0 rebounds in 26 games.
Still, you can never have enough energetic, defensive-minded, rebounding frontcourt players.