Haughton's 2014 Sixers mock draft 1.0

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Haughton's 2014 Sixers mock draft 1.0

Between now and the draft, our draft pundits will provide their latest Sixers mock drafts. They will make selections for each of the Sixers' seven picks (or some of the picks and trade the others). Dei Lynam's ran first and then John Finger's. Here's Matt Haughton's:

First round (third overall): Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Duke
Things just got even more interesting.

By now you’ve certainly heard that Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his right foot that could throw the entire top of the NBA draft out of whack.

While conventional wisdom suggests that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks merely reconfigure their draft boards to move Embiid out and focus on top wing prospects, Andrew Wiggins and Parker, I see it a little differently.

Embiid’s injury also opens up the window for Australia’s Dante Exum. Exum will now work out for the Cavs and he has already gone through a session with the Bucks.

Teams -- including the Sixers -- are definitely intrigued by the guard’s size and ability. That’s enough for Cavs owner Dan Gilbert (he did draft Anthony Bennett No. 1 overall last year) or the Bucks’ new ownership group to pull the trigger on Exum.

With that said, Sam Hinkie apparently covets Wiggins, but in life you don't always get what you want. However, the Sixers end up with exactly what they need in Parker: a big-time scorer.

Parker brings the ability to put the ball in the basket from in the paint, beyond the three-point line and everywhere in between. He's the most polished offensive player in the draft class, which has to be a welcomed sight for a Sixers team that finished last season ranked 19th in scoring and 29th in field goal percentage.

Parker's defense leaves much to be desired, but the same could be said for the rest of his new teammates. He'll improve in that aspect and get a boost from having Nerlens Noel camping out around the rim.

First round (10th overall): Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
Starting to get the theme? The Sixers add some more scoring at No. 10 with Stauskas.

With the Sixers' roster full of players that like to get to the rim, Stauskas will provide the necessary outside shooting (44.2 percent from three-point range last season). Plus, at 6-foot-6 he gives the team plenty of size in the backcourt with Michael Carter-Williams and another ballhandler to take some of the pressure off MCW.

Don't sleep on the two-guard's athleticism either.

Second round (32nd overall): Patric Young, PF/C, Florida
After racking up on offense, the Sixers go for the other end of the floor by taking Young with the first of their five second-round picks.

Young, a four-year player for the Gators, will provide some intensity and activity to the Sixers’ frontline. Not to mention he’ll add some beef. Young’s 6-foot-9, 240-pound frame would help take some of the burden of banging down low off Thaddeus Young and Nerlens Noel.

While Patric Young failed to show much growth offensively during his time in college, this move is strictly to help boost a defensive unit that allowed a league-worst 109.9 points per game.

Second round (39th overall): Walter Tavares, C, Cape Verde
The Sixers may have to do some maneuvering with that haul of second-rounders if they suspect another team is eying Tavares, but they still end up with the mammoth center.

Tavares’ main selling point is his size -- 7-foot-3, 265 pounds. That type of frame combined with a 7-foot-9 wingspan doesn’t exactly come around every day.

Tavares has been playing basketball for only a few years, so his rather raw skill set will continue to grow.

Second round (47th overall): Vasilije Micic, PG, Serbia
The Sixers keep the international flavor going by taking Micic, a heady point guard.

The 6-foot-4 Micic is a natural PG with extremely good vision and passing ability. He uses a lot of ball fakes and crafty moves to get where he wants on the floor. Plus, he’s a master at making the right decision in pick-and-roll situations.

Micic’s lack of overall speed and athleticism could be a concern when transitioning to the NBA, but it shouldn’t prevent him from being a viable option off the bench for Brett Brown.

Second round (52nd and 54th overall): Trades
Hinkie will package these two picks to gain some other draft assets in the future. Perhaps even more second-round selections.

Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor to play Sunday, Joel Embiid out (right elbow)

Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor to play Sunday, Joel Embiid out (right elbow)

CAMDEN, N.J. — Two bigs back, one big out.

Nerlens Noel will make his regular-season debut Sunday against the Pistons in Detroit. Noel has been out since the preseason after undergoing elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October.

Jahlil Okafor also will return following a bout of gastroenteritis, which sidelined him for the last three games. Neither Noel nor Okafor will have minute restrictions. 

Joel Embiid, on the other hand, will not play Sunday. He will miss the game because of minor inflammation in his right elbow, which he suffered in Thursday’s game against the Pelicans. The decision also is in conjunction with the load management plan the Sixers have mapped out for him. Embiid did not practice Saturday and will not travel to Detroit. 

“It’s very minor and we expect him back soon. Not much concern at all,” Brett Brown said of Embiid, adding, “I think it’s far more precautionary than anything people should get nervous about.”

With Embiid out, the addition of Noel will help the Sixers when they battle the Pistons and big man Andre Drummond, who is averaging a dominating 15.0 points, 13.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks this season. Noel will come off the bench as he gets reacclimated to the team and the flow of the game. 

“I felt great [to be cleared to play],” Noel said. “I was anticipating it so I got my mind right and this is what I’ve been working for throughout the whole rehab process. I’m feeling good and looking forward to it.” 

The Sixers are mindful of the fact Noel has not played in a regular season game since the finale last April. He has been working on getting his wind back up, and the Sixers will watch it closely in-game when determining his playing time. Noel said he has a “good starting foundation” with his conditioning. 

“You can do as much as you want on a treadmill,” Brown said. “You can do as much as you want one-on-zero … but there is nothing that’s like an NBA game. Everything goes faster, everything goes quicker, you have emotions involved which can also drown how fast and how long you can go. Those things are just part of him coming back into it, and we’ll manage him accordingly.”

Noel’s debut is the first step for him, regardless of how many plays. His athleticism will give another look to the lineup. Brown foresees having Noel back will allow the Sixers to play faster and protect the rim with a greater “bounce.” 

“We miss playing with Nerlens, just his presence,” Okafor said. “He’s an athlete. Obviously we miss him on the defensive side. We miss him as a leader vocally. It’s just going to be great having him back on the floor.”

The Sixers could counter the Pistons with the combination of Noel and Okafor, a duo they struggled to utilize together last season. Brown’s decision will be based on matchups. He pointed out a situation in which Drummond and Jon Leuer are on the court would be more favorable than one in which Tobias Harris is playing power forward. 

“You just try to pick your moments where you can maybe pair those guys up,” Brown said. “I think it will be a more genuine conversation as Nerlens starts playing more with us. He’s just really come back into it. But we come back and you play Toronto and you have all three bigs available, then it becomes another level of a conversation. I do look forward to it when we have an opportunity to intelligently match up with other people and we’ll play it out like that.”

The Sixers' next game after Sunday is Wednesday against the Raptors, when they expect to have their bigs ready to go.

Sixers' game vs. Kings rescheduled for Jan. 30

Sixers' game vs. Kings rescheduled for Jan. 30

The NBA has determined a new date for the Sixers home game against the Kings, which was postponed on Nov. 30 because of unsafe playing conditions on the court.

The game has been rescheduled for Monday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. This will create back-to-backs for both teams.

The Sixers are playing in Chicago on Jan. 29. They will play consecutive games against the Bulls and Kings, then have a road back-to-back against the Mavericks and Spurs on Feb. 1 and 2.

The Kings will be on what is now an eight-game road trip. They will play a back-to-back against the Rockets the next night in Houston.