Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Posted: 7:30 p.m.
By Brian Kotloff
In a sight not seen during the Sixers first pair of pre-draft workouts at PCOM, players that operate mainly outside of the low post were on display Wednesday.
Five good, old-fashioned wing players squared off in the second of two group workouts, serving as a reminder that selecting a big man with the 16th pick of the June 23 draft is no guarantee.
I dont know if I agree that were just strictly looking big, director of player personnel Courtney Witte said. Because honestly I dont think we are. Were looking for the best player.
They may find that player in the talented crop of athletes that went head-to-head for over an hour before breaking for 15-minute individual interviews. Most notable among them were potential lottery picks Jordan Hamilton of Texas and Chris Singleton of Florida State, who faced projected first-rounder Josh Selby (Kansas) and second-rounders Scotty Hopson (Tennessee) and Malcolm Lee (UCLA).
If the Sixers stay the course, its unlikely that the team would need to pick a wing in the first round. But needs can change dramatically leading up to the draft, as major trades like the potential deal of Andre Iguodala for Monta Ellis are discussed.
Thats where small forwards like Hamilton and Singleton could come into play. Both blend athletic ability with other elite skills and both, ironically, happen to have great size on the wing at over 6-8.
The 6-foot-9 Singleton may be the best defender in the draft, and his versatility on that end of the floor would certainly be appealing should Iguodala be traded. A freakish athlete with a 7-1 wingspan and 37.5-inch vertical, the Georgia native anchored the top defense in the nation (by defensive efficiency) on a Sweet 16 team last season.
That comes from hating to lose, he said of his defensive mentality. I just take everything to heart. If a person scores on me, thats me losing. Thats personal.
Singleton said he believes his defense set him apart from the other four on Wednesday, but he also proved himself a capable shooter with NBA range.
They didnt know I could shoot as well as I have been, he said. Ive been working on that, just to show everyone that I can be a consistent shooter.
Witte came away impressed.
Hes always been an above-average shooter off the catch-and-shoot," said Witte, who called Singleton extremely hard-nosed and extremely humble. "I think today we commented on it he showed more of an ability to take people off the dribble and to shoot off the dribble, off the move. Because hes been primarily either a transition player to finish or a catch-and-shoot trailer.
Shooting has never been a question for Hamilton, who possesses a silky smooth jumper rarely found in Philly in recent years. The 6-8 swingman sank 90 three-pointers on his way to averaging 18.6 points per game to go along with a stout 7.7 rebounds during his sophomore season at Texas. Wednesday, he was out to showcase his full offensive arsenal.
Most of the teams look at me as a jump shooter. I want to show teams Im explosive and I can dribble the ball on the wing and post up smaller guys, Hamilton said.
While both Hamilton and Singleton are intriguing prospects, the problem for the Sixers is that both could be gone by the time they step to the podium in New York.
Both said theyd been invited to the green room, usually reserved for lottery picks. Wednesday marked the seventh workout for Hamilton, who was headed to yet another in Phoenix (the Suns hold the 13th pick). Singleton reportedly impressed the Warriors, who pick at No. 11, last week.
As for the three less-heralded prospects they went up against, Hopson in particular would fit well in the second round at No. 50. The 6-7 Tennessee product possesses a scoring ability similar to Hamiltons, but lacks polish in the rest of his game.
Though Selbys stock is reportedly on the rise, the Sixers probably wont have much interest in a 6-3, score-first combo guard comparable to Lou Williams and Ellis. Lee while a former teammate of point guard Jrue Holiday at UCLA is projected to fall somewhere between the end of the first round and the beginning of the second.
Of course, as Singleton astutely pointed out, Theres a lot of things that can happen within the next couple weeks.
Theres so many things that teams can do, he said.
The Sixers next workout will be held Wednesday, June 15 at PCOM. Prospects attending have not yet been announced.
E-mail Brian Kotloff at firstname.lastname@example.org