He’s looking at you, Rod. Right at you.
News broke today that the Sacramento Kings and the Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to a trade, with Samuel Dalembert heading to the West Coast for Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni. Now, normally this would be irrelevant to the Nets & their fan base, but since the draft is now under a week away, and the Nets pick one spot below the Sixers, this could potentially have mass implications:
The Sixers have been deciding whether to select Evan Turner or Derrick Favors with the No. 2 pick. Although Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski is a Turner fan, new coach Doug Collins is high on Favors. With Dalembert gone and Nocioni in, it could push them in the direction of Favors.
There’s still a good chance that the Sixers will end up taking Turner on draft night, but trading your center – a renowned defensive monster and rebounder extraordinaire – for a decent small forward and a 7-footer who averaged six rebounds per game with little defensive reputation is not a sign that you’re interested in a swingman who replicates the skillset of your best player. You have to think that they’re looking at Favors very closely; the Sixers can’t possibly believe that Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes can handle the frontcourt every night. They’ll get abused on the defensive side of the floor and be one of the worst rebounding tandems in the league. Derrick Favors fits what they need more, and if Doug Collins has any say, he’ll be a 76er. I can even see Favors donning a Sixers cap now & Turner competing with Brook Lopez in the “who has the most ridiculous voice in New Jersey” contest. (Don’t sleep on this. It’s basically Goofy Andre the Giant vs. Kermit the Frog. I would love to see these guys in a tandem interview.)
Crazy sounds aside, two more wild cards in this:
1) How they view DeMarcus Cousins. They just traded away their center, Cousins could fill that role instantly. If they’re truly enamored with his talent they might also consider him at the #2 spot as well considering his size and skill at rebounding the ball.
2) How badly Minnesota wants to move up. There have been countless reports that Minnesota is trying to trade their #4 and #16 pick for the Sixers second choice, and after this deal it would be hard to pass that up. The Sixers would still get one of the major big talents in this draft (Cousins or Favors after Turner goes to the Timberwolves) plus a bonus pick. The only way that deal falls through is if either side tries to ask for too much, or if the Timberwolves are able to swing a better deal for Al Jefferson or Kevin Love to open up space in the frontcourt.
Basically, the Sixers have just blown the draft (after the Wizards pick) wide open. Anything is possible at this point. I know that I’ve made my opinion very clear that the no-doubt #1 prospect in this draft is John Wall. I also know that I’ve spent far more time than anyone should deconstructing the debate between DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors. I also know that I haven’t talked much about Evan Turner (I left that to Dennis). Because of that, let me just go on the record now: if Evan Turner is available at #3, the Nets should take him immediately and start dancing in the war room. The Evan Turner hype has been low; he didn’t measure out as an unbelievable athlete and isn’t flashy or interesting. But let’s be entirely clear: if you had the first pick in an NCAA 5-on-5 game this year, and your life depended on your team winning, you’d take Evan Turner in a heartbeat with that first pick. No question. The guy is an absolute warrior. I have little doubt that barring injury he’ll be a great player for the next dozen years. I’d be ecstatic to see him at the Rock next year.