Philadelphia 76ers

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.

How Brett Brown got Sixers through 'The Process'

How Brett Brown got Sixers through 'The Process'

Nineteen wins. Eighteen wins. Ten wins.

As the 47-199 record mounted over his first three seasons as head coach, the same question arose loss after loss: How does Brett Brown keep the Sixers together?

Those who played for Brown during this time could have given generic answers. They simply could have been happy for the chance to play in the NBA and commented on his optimistic demeanor.

When Henry Sims told the story about Brown dancing, though, it was clear there was more to their experiences with the coach than just going through the motions of losing basketball. Other players were quick to offer their enthusiastic responses, whether they had been on the Sixers for multiple years or 10-day contracts. 

Brown has the opportunity to coach a team on the rise next season. The Sixers are coming off a 28-win season. They have young talent, at least one future All-Star, a pair of No. 1 picks nearing their NBA debuts and a highly-coveted veteran free-agent signing. The playoffs even are in reach. 

To get a better sense of how Brown got his team to this point after the early years of “The Process,” the players explained it themselves. 

Henry Sims
Two years have passed since Sims played for the Sixers, yet one specific afternoon stands out vividly. Sims played 99 games for Brown during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. 

“We had went on a road trip and lost like four straight. They were pretty bad losses. We got home and Brett Brown came in the gym dancing with the assistants. They had some song. It lifted guys’ spirits — life isn’t so hard playing basketball. 

“I give a lot of credit to Brett Brown because he kept everybody positive and in a good attitude. I know it was tough for him to walk in that locker room every day. As a coach, you want to win. He kept us going, he kept us working hard. If you were watching our practices, you would have thought we were one of the top teams in the NBA because of how hard we were playing in practice.”

JaKarr Sampson
Brown had a fondness for Sampson, exhibited when Brown said “I miss JaKarr” a day after Sampson had been waived. Brown admired Sampson’s spirited attitude, and the sentiment was mutual. Sampson suited up for 121 Sixers games over the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. 

“The energy he brings is natural. He’s very good with the young guys and keeping us energized and motivated when things aren’t looking good, he’s always there motivating us. He really cares about his players, that’s what makes him a good coach. Even now, he texts me sometimes now and then. He cares, that’s the key with him. 

“[He organized] a lot of team stuff, team dinners, we had a Christmas gift swap. He was really good at keeping us together and keeping us liking each other during that time. We never turned on each other. He kept the locker room a good atmosphere. Things are looking bright for him right now.”

Larry Drew II
Before Drew was on the Sixers' summer league roster this year, he was with the team for a pair of 10-day contracts during the 2014-15 season (he played in 12 games). While Brown made an impact on the court, Drew remembers very unique conversations away from the game. 

“A lot of people don’t know, I don’t watch too much television and when I do, I watch a lot of National Geographic, the History Channel, Discovery Channel. One of the first non-basketball conversations I had with Coach Brown was actually about the universe and the stars and the galaxy. That was one of the things that stood out to me. I’m a huge geek when it comes to stuff like that, and just the fact we were able to have an open dialogue about theoretical physics and what not, it was cool. He has a very open mind and he’s very easy to speak to.

“His spirits were never down. Even after losses, he never made it feel like we were doing anything wrong, per se, but that we were headed in the right direction and that it was a couple of little things we needed to tweak. I think that’s huge for a coach to be able to speak to his team in a way to make them feel that it’s going to be OK at the end of the day.”

Hollis Thompson 
Thompson was one of the longest-tenured players under Brown (September 2013 to January 2017). The two shared an interest for deep conversations about education and world events. Thompson played 256 games for Brown.

“He’s got a great attitude, a positive spirit. Even when you’re going through a tough year and losing a lot of games, he finds a way to get everybody going, get everybody excited to play. Even in the midst of a tough game, a tough losing streak, he finds a way to make you laugh or finds the positive in it. … You could see him for who he is as a man [talking about shared interests]. He’s a great coach, but he’s a great human being. I love that dude and I wish him the best.”

Kendall Marshall
Marshall’s stop in Philadelphia was filled with injuries and a crowded point guard position that kept him off the court. He played 30 games during the 2015-16 season. Nonetheless, Marshall barely had finished hearing the question about Brown when he jumped to answer with a strong tone of emotion. 

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Brown as a coach, from what I’ve seen as a father, as a competitor. His ability to come to that practice floor and game arena every single day with the intensity, passion, willingness to teach in those circumstances winning 10, 15, 20 games every single year, that’s one of the most impressive things that I’ve seen in the pro level. … He was always in a great mood, unless we were messing up (laughs). He’s always joking, that Boston accent is always strong.”

Chris Johnson
Johnson played for Brown during training camp and saw how he prepared the team for the regular season, even though the odds of winning were against it. His time with the Sixers spanned nine games over less than two months in the fall of 2014. 

“He brought a positive attitude to practice. He kept everybody’s spirits together. We kind of knew what was going on, but Brett was a great coach, he was a smart coach, and he had the best interest for his team and the players. In preseason, two-a-days, guys were tired, but one thing I always remembered was he always came in and tried to keep everybody’s spirits together, let everybody know it’s part of the grind and it makes you better.”

Joel Embiid, T.J. McConnell win NBPA Players Voice Awards

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Joel Embiid, T.J. McConnell win NBPA Players Voice Awards

Joel Embiid was a big winner in the 2017 NBPA Players Voice Awards.

He earned honors for Comeback Player of the Year and, in what seemed like a lock all season, Best Social Media Follow.

Embiid made a huge impact in only 31 games after missing his first two seasons because of foot injuries. He averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks, all while being capped on a minutes restrictions and held out of back-to-back games. Embiid was on pace to win Rookie of the Year before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He underwent surgery in March. 

His influence was just as big on social media. Embiid became a Twitter star before he even played an NBA game. Now with over 857,000 followers, he has kept fans entertained with everything from his admiration of Rihanna, an All-Star campaign to get a date, and his recent beef with LaVar Ball. Embiid frequently posts videos engaging with fans (who usually are chanting "Trust the Process") and puts a creative spin on his Instagram locations.

Embiid wasn't the only Sixer to win an award. T.J. McConnell earned the well respected "Best Teammate" award, presented to one player from each NBA team. McConnell’s hard-nosed approach and relentless hustle earned him the starting point guard role in late December. The underdog has fought to establish his place in the league for the last two seasons and has made an impression on the Sixers' staff, fan base and his peers while doing so.  

NBA players voted on these awards at the end of the regular season. The winners were announced on the NBPA's Twitter Friday morning.