Thursday, June 23, 2011
Posted: 11:58 a.m.
By Drew Silverman
With the NBA draft taking place tonight and the Sixers searching for a diamond in the rough at No. 16, lets take a look at their five best draft picks and five worst draft picks from the last 20 years:
Note: Players that the Sixers acquired through draft-day trades are not included on this list.Best
5. Samuel Dalembert (26th overall in 2001) For all of his shortcomings as a player and all the grey hairs that he gave Sixers coaches (and fans) over the years, Dalembert was a very good draft pick. Anytime you can choose at the end of the first round and find a player who starts in the NBA for the better part of a decade, youve done a good job. Dalembert averaged a double-double for the Sixers in 2007-08. He also played all 82 games that season as he did five times during his Sixers career which, depending on your perspective, may have been a good thing or a bad thing.
4. Jrue Holiday (17th overall in 2009) Holiday certainly looks like a steal at this point, having just turned 21 years old earlier this month and already being an above-average starter in the NBA. The 2009 draft was very heavy on point guards, but the Sixers came away with a good one. Holiday was arguably the teams best player last season, when he averaged 14.0 points, 6.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals while playing all 82 games.
3. Lou Williams (45th overall in 2005) Even though this was a tremendous draft pick by the Sixers, it gets diluted a little bit due to the bizarre 2005 draft that, for some reason, was loaded with quality second-round picks (Monta Ellis, C.J. Miles, Brandon Bass, Marcin Gortat, Ryan Gomes). Nevertheless, Williams was a major steal for the Sixers, as hes emerged as one of the leagues best sixth men and, while hell never be an above-average starter, hes a very valuable piece to an NBA roster.
2. Allen Iverson (1st overall in 1996) The Iverson draft debate goes a little something like this: Sure, he was a great player, a league MVP and a future Hall of Famer. But in fairness, the Sixers did pass on one of the 10 greatest players of all time someone who played the same position as Iverson, not to mention someone who grew up in the Philly suburbs. Of course, 12 other teams passed on Kobe Bryant that year and the Sixers still came away with a great player. But its hard to call this a great draft pick when Bryant would have been a better pick. You could even argue that Ray Allen (5th overall) and Steve Nash (15th overall) have had better careers than Iverson. Still, no shame in choosing a Hall of Famer first overall.
1. Andre Iguodala (9th overall in 2004) In no way was Iguodala a better player than Iverson, but heres the fact of the matter: There were 51 players chosen after Iguodala in the 04 draft and none of them turned out to be a better player than him. So, even though people complain about Iggy and want to run him out of town, its hard to argue that this was not a terrific draft pick. Iguodala has been a fixture in the Sixers lineup since the day he was drafted, and Billy King deserves a lot of credit for that pick.
5. Evan Turner (2nd overall in 2010) It pains me to say it, since Im still confident that Turner will have a good, solid NBA career, but the Sixers were hoping for more when they took the Ohio State star last summer. Turner had a disappointing summer league, a poor preseason and a rocky regular season. He showed flashes at times and in fairness, the 2010 draft was not a strong one but theres no doubt that the Sixers are having some second thoughts about this selection.
4. Larry Hughes (8th overall in 1998) The pick itself wasnt horrible in the sense that Hughes had a productive NBA career for more than a decade. What kills, of course, is that the next two picks were a couple of Hall of Famers (Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki). Actually, what really kills is that the 1998 Sixers were desperate for a small forward who could score and a big man who could score. And youd have to think that if the team had passed on Hughes for Pierce or Dirk that theres a pretty good chance they would have won a championship at some point.
3. Shawn Bradley (2nd overall in 1993) This pick is commonly described as one of the worst in NBA history, which really isnt fair to Bradley. He was a stiff dont get me wrong but the guy did play in the league for a dozen seasons. The NBA draft is littered with players who were out of the league in a couple of years (keep reading), so its not totally fair to someone like Bradley who had a long NBA career to call him a mega-bust. Plus, go back and take a look at the 93 draft. After Chris Webber went first overall, only a few other players taken in that draft ever made an All-Star team. And the other centers, after Bradley, selected in the first round: Luther Wright, Acie Earl, Ervin Johnson and Geert Hammink. Not exactly Chamberlain, Russell, Olajuwon and ONeal.
2. Sharone Wright (6th overall in 1994) You want to talk about a bust? Look no further than the next years draft, when the Sixers totally whiffed with their lottery selection. Wright could not play a lick. He didnt do anything well. (At least Bradley could block shots.) The Sixers tried to make things work with Wright as their power forward for a couple of years before they totally pulled the plug, trading the Clemson product to the Raptors for virtually nothing. In all, Wright played in just 200 NBA games (125 for the Sixers) before a car accident helped bring his career to an early end.
1. B.J. Tyler (20th overall in 1994) The scariest part of this whole list is that from Bradley to Wright to Tyler, the Sixers made three consecutive awful draft picks that were each worse than the preceding one. Tyler is the definition of a bust, though he doesnt get the recognition because he wasnt a lottery pick. He played a total of 55 games in the NBA all in his rookie season before the Sixers left him exposed in the 1995 expansion draft. Tylers career ended, allegedly, because he fell asleep one day with an ice pack on his knee, severely damaging it and causing him to lose all his speed. Enough said.