Players slipping in draft could benefit Sixers

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Players slipping in draft could benefit Sixers

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Posted: 5:45 p.m.

By Ryan Feldman
CSNPhilly.com Contributor

NEWARK, N.J. -- When the Sixers drafted Jrue Holiday in 2009, he wasnt expected to be around when they were on the clock with the No. 17 pick. He was even projected to go as high as No. 4 that year. But he, like many others always do in the NBA draft, slipped out of the lottery and into the Sixers lap.

The same thing can happen this year. There are more draft lottery candidates than actual draft lottery picks, so there will be players that slip farther than expected. The Sixers have the same strategy as they did in 2009: Hope that a highly rated player falls to them and take the best player available.

Who will that player be? It depends heavily on what the teams holding the first 15 picks in this years draft decide to do. Trades can also throw things out of whack.

A total of 15 players were invited to the NBA drafts green room, which represents the 15 players the league believes are likely to be drafted with the first 15 picks. If the NBA is 100 percent correct in that projection, then the Sixers, who hold the No. 16 pick, would be the first team to draft a player not invited to the green room.

But that rarely happens. Its highly unlikely that all 15 green room invitees will be gone with the first 15 picks. Instead, one or two or more of those players could be on the board for the Sixers when they are deciding who to select.

Three green room invitees who are candidates to slide out of the lottery and could be available for the Sixers are Colorado shooting guard Alec Burks, Kansas power forward Markieff Morris (who also happens to be a Philly native) and Texas power forward Tristan Thompson.

The Sixers clearly would like a big man, but if a higher rated wing player is available they may take that player. Burks, a silky smooth 6-foot-6 shooting guard with a solid mid-range game, could be an option.

I dont know the chances of slipping, Burks said. If it happens, it happens. If I go top 10, its great. If I slide, I slide. Im still going to be excited to be in the NBA.

Burks, who will be most likely a top-10 pick, could immediately step in next to Jrue Holiday in the Sixers backcourt.

It would just be great to be drafted by anybody, Burks said. I didnt have any communication with the Sixers at all. I didnt even work out. I didnt talk to them or anything about that.

I watched them when they played the Heat. Theyre young. They got Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young. I feel like they got some athletic wings on their roster, so I would fit into that.

Morris isnt likely to be drafted in the top 10, so theres a great chance hes available for the Sixers. But that doesnt mean hell be the top guy on their draft board.

They definitely really liked me, Morris said. If they pick me, it would be a great feeling. I think I would fit in. There are a couple teams I would like to play for and Philly is definitely one of them.

The 6-foot-9 power forward is a strong post player, rebounder and defender. On top of adding some toughness down low, it would make a lot of sense for the Sixers to draft someone who grew up in their backyard.

Thats my hometown, Morris said. How could they not like me? Theyre looking for a power forward. I love their coach Doug Collins. And I think he likes me, too.

Thompson could be drafted in the top 10 but could easily slip out of the lottery as well. It doesnt seem like theres any one or two teams especially keying in on Thompson.

Theres always a chance to slip, Thompson said. Everybody has a chance to slip. Id rather slip and be in a better situation where I can succeed than go higher and be in a bad situation.

The 6-foot-8 lefty power forward is very athletic and can immediately impact an NBA game at the defensive end. He may not be as polished offensively right now as Morris and some other big men, but he has the potential to become an excellent NBA player.

I feel I fit well with Doug Collins offense, and he focuses on defense, which I like, Thompson said. I think Id fit in well with the Sixers. Theyre a young team on the rise.

There are a lot of options for the Sixers in Thursdays NBA draft. Will they go with a big man, as most have expected throughout the draft process? Or will they surprise everyone and take a wing player? Its very much up in the air at this point, especially with the possibility of players sliding out of the lottery.

All we know at this point is that the Sixers will draft the player they feel is the best player available when theyre on the clock.

Ryan Feldman covers college basketball and the NBA Draft for his website, TheHoopsReport.com. He can be reached at rfeldman@thehoopsreport.com.

Related: Versatile Honeycutt could help Sixers' defense Philly native Morris could be just what Sixers need

Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts

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Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts

As the Western Conference Finals are taking place in Oakland, the Sixers are looking for new talent of their own in California.

This week, members of the Sixers' front office are attending pre-draft workouts organized through multiple agencies, including BDA Sports Management, CAA Sports, Landmark Sports Agency, Octagon and Wasserman Media Group.

While the Sixers hold the No. 1 pick, these workouts are opportunities for them to evaluate players that could be fits for their 24th and 26th selections.

On Thursday, the list of workout participants included projected first-rounders Deyonta Davis (Michigan State) and Cheik Diallo (Kansas), according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

The scouting process takes NBA teams coast to coast. Earlier this week, the Sixers reportedly attended a private workout with Excel Sports Management in New York City, in which Brandon Ingram and Jamal Murray participated.

The Sixers have held two workouts at their own practice facility, bringing in a total of 12 prospects thus far.

As the draft nears, 57 early-entry candidates withdrew their names from the 2016 draft.

NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination

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NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND, Calif. -- "We ain't going home! We're not going home!" Stephen Curry screamed at the top of his lungs.

No, his Golden State Warriors are going back to Oklahoma City, after keeping their title reign and the winningest season in NBA history alive for at least one more game.

Curry scored 31 points, raising his arms in the early moments to fire up Golden State's raucous crowd, and the defending champions staved off elimination with a 120-111 victory over the Thunder on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

"We just did what we're supposed to do. We're supposed to win at home," Curry said. "We know what we still have to do going forward. ... We knew if we didn't win we were going home. There's no other motivation you need."

For all the speculation about the current state of Curry's beat-up body -- that troublesome ankle, sore knee or tender elbow -- he did it all.

"I thought he looked like 91 percent," coach Steve Kerr cracked. "He came out and played a really good game. That's all I can tell you. He's going to compete every night. He had an excellent night and helped us get it done."

Led by Curry, the Warriors looked like their old winning selves again.

The MVP made a snazzy layup late and dished out six assists, while Klay Thompson added 27 points as Golden State sent the best the best-of-seven series back to Oklahoma City for Game 6 on Saturday night. The Warriors trail 3-2 and are trying to become just the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit.

"None of us want to go home," Thompson said. "We're having too much fun out there."

Kevin Durant scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook added 31 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals for the Thunder, trying for the fifth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history and first championship since moving from Seattle.

The record-setting, 73-win Warriors, coming off their first back-to-back defeats all season, had been blown out in two losses at Oklahoma City by a combined 52 points.

"We have to take that game and travel," Curry said of keeping momentum.

Durant's 3-pointer with 4:34 left got the Thunder within 103-98, then Curry answered with a three-point play.

Curry scored seven points in a 58-second stretch of the second quarter and hit more big shots late, but the Thunder didn't go away easily.

"I liked our will, I liked our fight," Kerr said. "We were embarrassed in OKC the last couple games."

Trailing 58-50 at halftime, Oklahoma City came out of the break with a 9-2 run. Westbrook's 3-pointer with 6:06 left in the third put Oklahoma City ahead 68-67 for its first lead of the night. But Golden State led 81-77 going into the fourth and began the final period with an 8-0 burst.

"We didn't shoot a particularly good percentage when we got into the lane and got into the deep paint," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "We had our opportunities."

Curry shot 9 for 20 and also had five steals, while Thompson had his 11th 20-point game for the second straight postseason despite shooting 2 for 9 from 3-point range. After struggling the past two games, Draymond Green had 11 points and 13 rebounds a day after receiving some encouraging words from Kobe Bryant on the phone.

"We really relied on the entire team tonight, which is when we're at our best," Curry said.

Kerr figured his Warriors might have an edge against the percentages of teams having trailed 3-1 because they're the defending champs and were playing at home, where they have been nearly unbeatable.

He wasn't surprised to see this team respond so well.

"We played with great desperation," Kerr said. "I knew how we would play. This is a championship team."

Kerr called for center Andrew Bogut to do more and the 7-footer delivered with a playoff career-high 15 points and 14 rebounds for his second double-double this postseason and seventh of his career.

Marreese Speights had a pair of three-point plays on follow shots and a 3 in the second quarter to give Golden State a nice lift off the bench. He had nine points in four minutes during that stretch and 14 points overall for his fifth double-digit scoring game this postseason.

"Their bench came in and made shots, made plays for them," Durant said. "We know we're going home. We can't relax."

Golden State made 31 of 34 free throws.

With his 1,248th career postseason point in the third, Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain (1,246) for second place on the franchise's playoff scoring list.

"That's who he is, that's what he's done, and that's what's made him a very good player," Donovan said.

Tip-ins
Thunder: The franchise lost in the finals in 1977-78, 1995-96 to Kerr and the Chicago Bulls and in `12. ... Steven Adams sat down with his second foul at the 9:34 mark of the first quarter. The Thunder had seven fouls to Golden State's one after the first. ... Oklahoma City took Game 1 at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have lost only three times all season. ... The Thunder started the game 3 for 14.

Warriors: Green picked up his fifth technical of the postseason. He also has at least one steal in 16 straight playoff games. ... Golden State missed six of its first seven 3s. ... The Warriors supported Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager with "Sager Strong" T-shirts for sale to support awareness and research for leukemia and lymphoma, both blood cancers.

57 early-entry candidates withdraw from 2016 NBA draft

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57 early-entry candidates withdraw from 2016 NBA draft

NBA prospects have been testing the waters and putting out feelers to the gauge interest levels of organizations during the pre-draft process. As a result, 57 early entry-candidates have withdrawn from 2016 draft eligibility. 

Among those are Villanova’s Josh Hart, who worked out for the Sixers and made his decision close to the deadline (see story), and Kris Jenkins. Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame also worked out for the Sixers and will return for his senior year. 

Below is a complete list of entry entry candidates that have withdrawn:

Abdul-Malik Abu, North Carolina State 
BeeJay Anya, North Carolina State 
Ian Baker, New Mexico State 
V.J. Beachem, Notre Dame 
James Blackmon Jr., Indiana 
Antonio Blakeney, LSU 
Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson 
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier 
Amida Brimah, Connecticut 
Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky 
Dillon Brooks, Oregon 
Elijah Brown, New Mexico 
Deonte Burton, Iowa State 
Antonio Campbell, Ohio 
Conor Clifford, Washington State 
Charles Cooke III, Dayton 
Bakari Copeland, Maryland-Eastern Shore 
Moustapha Diagne, Northwest Florida State 
Tyler Dorsey, Oregon 
D’Andre Downey, Stillman College (AL) 
Vince Edwards, Purdue 
Jimmy Hall, Kent State 
Josh Hart, Villanova
Josh Hawkinson, Washington State 
Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin 
Ike Iroegbu, Washington State 
Justin Jackson, North Carolina 
Kris Jenkins, Villanova 
Que Johnson, Washington State 
Peter Jok, Iowa 
Moses Kingsley, Arkansas
Travion Kirkendoll, Centenary College (LA) 
Dedric Lawson, Memphis 
Marcus Lee, Kentucky 
Makai Mason, Yale 
Jahmal McMurray, South Florida 
Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina 
Dallas Moore, North Florida 
Jalen Moore, Utah State 
Tyrell Nelson, Gardner-Webb 
Malik Newman, Mississippi State 
Marc-Eddy Norelia, Florida Gulf Coast 
Cameron Oliver, Nevada 
Alec Peters, Valparaiso 
QJ Peterson,VMI 
Malik Pope, San Diego State 
Rodney Purvis, Connecticut 
Corey Sanders Jr., Rutgers 
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue 
Rakish Taylor, Anderson University (SC) 
Ethan Telfair, Idaho State 
Trevor Thompson, Ohio State 
Melo Trimble, Maryland 
Maurice Watson Jr., Creighton 
Andrew White III, Nebraska 
Alec Wintering, Portland 
Zeek Woodley, Northwestern State