Super Early Premature 2013 Draft Evaluation: The Sixers Will Take ______ at No. 11

Super Early Premature 2013 Draft Evaluation: The Sixers Will Take ______ at No. 11

The Sixers had a very small chance of winning one of the top three picks last night and, of course, they didn't.

The No. 1 overall pick went to Nick Gilbert again (insert preferred conspiracy theory about the NBA still making The Decision up to Cleveland), and the Sixers stayed in their expected draft position at No. 11.

So who will GM Sam Hinkie take 11th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 27?

We've compiled this early list of day-after-lottery mock drafts. The general consensus sees the Sixers drafting a big, and most of these guys are not high on Thad Young as a power forward.

That said, given the changeover in the front office and the makeover this roster is expected to undergo, even if the team does need a big man -- Lavoy Allen, Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown's contracts all expire next summer -- the best player available may likely win the day.

That seems to be the route CSNPhilly.com's Sean Kane went in his mock. His draft is the only one on our list that doesn't have the Sixers taking a big.

[mock drafts below]

Sean Kane, CSNPhilly.com — C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh

If he's still on the board, this is a no-brainer for the 76ers. McCollum should go anywhere from eighth to 12th in the first round, and if Hinkie really likes him (as I feel he should) then he may have to move up a spot or two to grab him. The Sixers have two of the first 12 picks in the second round, picks that could be used to move up in the first round. 

With apologies to McLemore, McCollum is hands-down the best shooter in this draft. The Sixers desperately need someone who can stretch the defense and consistently knock down three-point baskets. McCollum shot over 51 percent from long range before a foot injury in January cost him the rest of his senior year at Lehigh. He can play either guard position, he can get to the basket and is an above-average ballhandler and passer.

McCollum has great intangibles, as well. He's a high character guy who will continue to work at his game throughout his career.

 The biggest knock on McCollum is the level of competition he played against in the Patriot League. But he would have been a star in any league in the country, as he proved by scoring 30 points to single-handedly beat Duke in the first round of the 2012 NCAA tournament.

Chad Ford, ESPN — Cody Zeller, C, Indiana

Ford: The Cody Zeller bandwagon is officially filling up again. All it took was an incredible display of athletic prowess at the draft combine to convince NBA teams who had soured on him to give him another look. Of course, we all knew Zeller was athletic, but few knew he was capable of what he did at the combine. Zeller is trying to make the transition to the 4 and seems like an obvious fit in Philly, a team without a legitimate 4-man on its roster.

Jonathan Givony, DraftExpress.com — Cody Zeller

The 76ers enter a new era with head coach and de facto personnel decision maker Doug Collins stepping down, being replaced by Houston Rockets assistant GM Sam Hinkie and a coach yet to be determined. Philadelphia has one terrific piece locked up in point guard Jrue Holiday, but has plenty of holes to fill. A player who compliments the strengths and weaknesses of Evan Turner, whose lack of range from the perimeter is a concern, would fill a major need at shooting guard. Power forward and center are two others. Besides undersized-but-athletic Thaddeus Young, there are plenty of question marks.

John Goodman, CBS Sports — Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

Had a difficult adjustment this past season to the college game, but he's big, strong and plays hard. Adams may be a project that's worth the risk.

Matt Moore, CBS Sports — Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

The Sixers need a big man with a pulse. Re-sign Bynum, don't re-sign Bynum they have to stop playing Thad Young at the four and relying on Spencer Hawes. Dieng gives them a high level big that can rebound with a monster upside.

Fox Sports — Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Gonzaga

The Sixers are forced to start over at the center position after trading away a lot of assets for an absolute dud in Andrew Bynum. Olynyk was arguably the most dominant big in the country and despite Gonzaga's flame-out in the tourney, he was solid. He lacks great athleticism and quickness, but shows the skill set of a 10-year veteran. Olynyk's ability to defend the pick-and-roll has led scouts to believe he can make it defensively in the league.

Steve Alexander, Rotoworld — Rudy Gobert, C, France

Andrew Bynum didn’t exactly work out and Spencer Hawes, despite some very nice runs this season, still may not be the long-term answer. Gobert looks like an impressive big man. He has a massive 7’9” wingspan and moves very well for a guy standing 7’2”. He should be able to clean the glass and play well enough offensively to make an immediate impact in the league. However, he’ll likely have to play behind Thaddeus Young and Hawes, at least for part of his rookie season, if not all of it.

Your thoughts...

Ben Simmons working out with LeBron James

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Ben Simmons working out with LeBron James

Ben Simmons' fellow NBA rookies may not think too highly of him, but when the best basketball player on the planet is giving him pointers, he must be doing something right.

On Tuesday, a photo of Simmons and LeBron James dribbling side by side started making the rounds on Instagram. That's right. The Sixers' number-one overall draft pick and franchise savior is apparently training with the four-time league MVP and reigning world champion.

#Klutch @klutchsports

A photo posted by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

Those workouts continued on Wednesday, when 12-time All-Star Dwayne Wade posted a photo of himself, Simmons and James, as well as Richard Jefferson and Jordan McRae. That's some good company for a first-year player to keep.

Good day of work!

A photo posted by dwyanewade (@dwyanewade) on

What does all of this mean for Simmons and the Sixers? Hard to say, but it can't be a bad thing that the rookie point-forward is spending time with a pair of future first-ballot Hall of Famers. Surely he must be learning something.

That's good news for the Sixers, who hope that Simmons can even come close to living up to the lofty comparisons some have drawn to James already.

Tonight's Lineup: Tommy Joseph starts for 1st time against Gio Gonzalez

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Tonight's Lineup: Tommy Joseph starts for 1st time against Gio Gonzalez

Tommy Joseph is back in the starting lineup … as he's expected to be for most of the final month of the season. Joseph bats fourth behind third baseman Maikel Franco.

Joseph did not start Tuesday night in the Phillies' 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals. The 25-year-old is hitting .251 with 17 home runs and 34 RBIs.

The slugger has a significantly higher average against left-handed pitching than righties, despite clubbing 12 of his 17 homers against right-handed pitchers.

Joseph has yet to faced Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez.

In other lineup notes, Tyler Goeddel gets the start in left field and will hit eighth, while A.J. Ellis gets his second start as a Phillie. He'll catch Adam Morgan.

Here is the full lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Freddy Galvis, SS
7. A.J. Ellis, C
8. Tyler Goeddel, LF
9. Adam Morgan, P

For more on tonight's game, read Steven Tydings' game notes.

Villanova season preview: It's Zach Bednarczyk team now

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Villanova Athletic Media Relations

Villanova season preview: It's Zach Bednarczyk team now

VILLANOVA, Pa. — When star quarterback John Robertson suffered a season-ending injury early in Villanova’s 2015 campaign, Zach Bednarczyk was thrown into a difficult spot.

How could an inexperienced redshirt freshman be expected to replace the reigning Walter Payton Award winner? Could the Wildcats still accomplish all of their lofty preseason goals?

In the end, Bednarczyk probably handled it as well as could be expected, performing admirably in some spots (like when he spearheaded a late comeback against rival Delaware just after Robertson got hurt) and poorly in others (like when Penn upset Villanova for the first time in a century the very next week).

But now, after getting almost a full year of experience under his belt, Villanova head coach Andy Talley is expecting Bednarczyk to become a better, smarter player — and, most of all, someone who can lead the Wildcats into the FCS playoffs in Talley’s final season.

“I think the thing that he did last year was that he was a little bit of a gun-slinger,” Talley said. “He threw the ball around a little bit. Now he’s more judicious with where he throws the football, his outlet receivers. He’s not trying to gun the ball in all of the time and make a play.”

While Talley would certainly like his QB to cut down on some mistakes — he threw seven interceptions last season — he does appreciate that Bednarczyk possesses some of the same playmaking skills that made Robertson such a star at ’Nova, including the ability to gain yards on the ground.

In his first season last year, Bednarczyk led the Wildcats in rushing with 515 yards and five touchdowns while throwing for 1,396 yards and 10 touchdowns en route to nabbing CAA co-Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

This season, which begins for Villanova Saturday at Pittsburgh, Talley hopes he can match those running totals while becoming a 2,000-yard passer with fewer interceptions.

“Last year he was rookie of the year in the CAA but he really could have been an all-league player if he didn’t throw the ball in some bad spots,” Talley said. “I think he learned the hard way by having the ball go against him. In the last game of the year, we had a chance to tie for the championship and go to the playoffs if we had beaten JMU. And he threw two picks that went back for touchdowns. So he’s sort of learned his craft the hard way.”

That season-ending loss to James Madison still stings for the Wildcats, who finished with a 6-5 overall record and missed out on qualifying for the FCS playoffs for just the third time in eight years.

That’s something they hope to reverse in 2016 under the growing leadership of Bednarczyk, who agrees with his coach that he needs to become a smarter player.

“Last year I definitely took too many risks,” the sophomore QB said. “This year, although I still want to throw the ball around because that’s my strong suit, I definitely don’t want to force anything. I’ll try to cut back on my turnovers. If it looks like it’s too tight of a window to squeeze it this year, I’ll just tuck it and run.”

Bednarczyk will certainly need to be poised in the pocket with Talley admitting that the Wildcats aren’t as deep at receiver as they’ve been in years past. 

At the same time, he may not have to put too many points on the board, considering how good Villanova’s defense can be. Although the unit graduated star linebacker Don Cherry, who’s been in preseason camp with the Eagles, they still boast a veteran unit that includes linebacker Austin Calitro and defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon.

Kpassagnon, a 6-foot-7, 290-pound NFL prospect, is an especially intriguing player for the Wildcats.

“I think all the pro teams have been through to see him,” Talley said. “He can run. He’s tough. He diagnoses well. He’s in our business school, so he’s smart as can be. And he carries that over to the field.”

Kpassagnon, who was named to the CAA preseason all-conference team, is excited for his senior season but admitted that helping the Wildcats rise to the top of a loaded league won’t be easy. Villanova, which opens league play Sept. 17 vs. Towson, was picked fourth behind Richmond, William & Mary and James Madison.

“There’s no dropoff in competition throughout the CAA,” Kpassagnon said. “In some other leagues, there are a couple of teams that you know will obviously win the conference. But with ours, you never know.”

Of course, Villanova has aspirations beyond just winning the league. As always, the Wildcats — who check in at No. 23 in the STATS preseason Top 25 — will look to make a deep run in the FCS playoffs and, perhaps, try to send Talley out with his second national title.

“The goal is definitely a national championship,” Kpassagnon said. “We all believe we can do it. It’s something we have in the back of our heads.”