Randy’s 2017 NBA Draft Big Board: Lottery Edition

Randy’s 2017 NBA Draft Big Board: Lottery Edition

The Philadelphia 76ers enter a crucial offseason this summer. They have acquired the players to build around in Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, now they just have to correctly build around them. The rebuild is almost complete, but they still need to find the appropriate fits around their future stars in order to graduate from the tanking stage and enter in to the develop and compete stages.

What the Sixers have now is a center who can dominate games at times, a slashing point forward with outstanding passing skills and a combo forward who is also an outstanding passer. The Sixers desperately need shooters and a secondary ball handler to pair with Simmons. The shooters will space the court enough that Simmons and Embiid can do a lot of damage in the paint while also creating open shots for other shooters.

Simmons is a similar player to what LeBron was coming out of high school. A point foward with great size, athleticism and passing ability, but not a natural shooter. In LeBron’s first stint with Cleveland he shot over 50% just once, in his final season before taking his talents to Miami. In the 7 seasons since(4 with Miami, 3 with Cleveland) he has shot over 50% in 6 of the 7 seasons. He has been surrounded with shooters since the 2010-2011 season. They properly space the floor allow for more driving and kick-out opportunities and less bad shots for LeBron.

The Sixers front office needs to build in a similar fashion. Loading the roster with shooters is key for the growth of both Embiid and Simmons and will lead to a much more efficient offense in 2017-2018. This had a big impact on how I ranked the top 14 prospects in this year’s draft class. That doesn’t mean I ranked a slower player who can shoot over someone like Josh Jackson, who is a great athlete but not a great shooter at this point, but the better shooters in this draft who also move really well were ranked higher than they might be on other boards.

I also put a premium on ball movement and defense. The goal here is to win a championship and that starts with proper ball movement and defense. Players like Russell Westbrook and James Harden are fun to watch, but they are both defensive liabilities and consistently dribble the air out of the ball on every possession.

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Philadelphia 76ers Swap to Number 3 Pick in 2017 NBA Draft

Philadelphia 76ers Swap to Number 3 Pick in 2017 NBA Draft

Back in 2015 the Philadelphia 76ers took on the contracts from the Sacramento Kings of Carl Landry and Jason Thompson in a very bizarre trade. The Sixers sent two international players(who haven’t played in the NBA yet) and also received former lottery pick Nik Stauskas. What makes this trade so relevant is that the Sixers were also awarded the rights to swap first round picks with the Kings in the 2016 and 2017 drafts.

In the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery, the Sixers had the fourth best odds, but fell to the 5th pick. They were bailed out with the pick swap because the Kings won the lottery and were awarded the 3rd overall pick, thus enabling the pick swap. They will pick after Boston(thanks Brooklyn, idiots) and the Lakers who pick first and second.

Because Sam Hinkie was the GM always willing to take on more expensive contracts in trades in exchange for future draft picks, the Sixers have a top 3 pick this year, but it doesn’t end there. Because the Lakers received a top 3 pick, they will receive a unprotected Lakers first round pick in 2018 and a Kings unprotected first round pick in 2019.

The Sixers will be adding a top 3 prospect to a roster that included Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid. It’s safe to say the tanking era is over and the compete for playoff seeds is about to begin.

Here is a look at who the Sixers could target with the third overall pick:

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Elijah Qualls Post-Draft Film Study

Elijah Qualls Post-Draft Film Study

Elijah Qualls was a really tough player to evaluate on tape. Washington used him all over their line, as a 3 tech, 5 tech, nose tackle and stand up rusher. Sometimes he really flashed and got into the backfield quickly, other times he was taken out of the play pretty easily.

Qualls is 6’0, 311 pounds which means he’s a bigger tackle without much length, which would explain why he fell to the 6th round. 3-4 defenses weren’t interested because he lacks the strength to be a nose tackle and the length to be a 5-tech defensive end. He also lacks the power to be a two-gap player which really narrowed down his fits to one-gap 4-3 defenses.

I wanted to get excited about his upside, but I saw a 311 pound player who plays like he is 285 who also lacks that quick first step. His technique was all over the place and when he played too high, he got blown out of the play pretty quickly.

He is pretty agile for his size, which does give me hope that Jim Schwartz can develop him into a decent rotational tackle. He loves to attack with his spin move, which will give interior linemen fits at the next level if he can develop the rest of his game.

At this point I am still down on Qualls, despite this scheme being the best possible fit for his game. I don’t think he is one of the five best defensive tackles on this roster right now and there is still a possibility that the Eagles either trade for another tackle or sign another team’s released veteran.

Nate Gerry Post-Draft Film Study

Nate Gerry Post-Draft Film Study

With their seventh pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the Philadelphia Eagles took a 218 pound safety with the confidence that he could play linebacker at the next level. It’s a strange thought made by football people much smarter than I am, yet I have little hope for this working out.

Gerry was a nice college player, but he was an average athlete who seems to be maxed out physically. He’s already 218 pounds and he looks pretty jacked up when you see him in person. His frame doesn’t suggest that he can gain 10-20 pounds without losing a lot of speed. In theory he could bulk up to 230, but he’d still be a bit undersized for the position and he’d probably end up becoming one of the slowest linebackers in the league.

Special teams is going to be his best shot at making a 53 man roster. This coaching staff has shown that they value backups who thrive in that phase of the game and they will find a spot if Gerry shows value there.

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Shelton Gibson Post-Draft Film Study

Shelton Gibson Post-Draft Film Study

Shelton Gibson and the Philadelphia Eagles were connected so much during the 2017 NFL Draft that I am honestly shocked they were able to get him in the fifth round. There is a reason for that though, the Eagles wanted a deep threat and Gibson isn’t much more than a one-trick pony. But my god, that one trick is pretty damn impressive.

Gibson is a pure deep threat at wide receiver and not much else. DeSean Jackson was the same type of player when he came out and not much has changed, yet he still holds a ton of value.

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Donnel Pumphrey Post-Draft Film Study

Donnel Pumphrey Post-Draft Film Study

The Philadelphia Eagles went into the 2017 NFL Draft expected to draft a feature running back and left with only a 179 pound change of pace back. Maybe the strategy going in was to get Donne Pumphrey early on day three of the draft, or maybe they just missed on some earlier targets. Either way the Eagles backfield is still without a true primary back going into the 2017 season.

The player they did draft is one of the most intriguing rookies this year. He’s only 5’8, 179 pounds, but because of his toughness, quickness and elite vision he was able to break the all-time FBS rushing record.

In college he was a foundation back who ran a ton of zone and iso runs out of the I-formation. I love that he came from a pro style offense, but in the NFL he is going to run primarily out of the shotgun. Space is his friend and running out of bigger sets under center is going to be a much tougher tasks against NFL defenses.

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Mack Hollins Post-Draft Film Study

Mack Hollins Post-Draft Film Study

With their first pick on day three of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles took maybe the most intriguing player in the draft, at least at wide receiver. Mack Hollins had just 71 career receptions in four years at North Carolina, but 20 of them went for touchdowns. He’s a 6’4, 220 pound track star at wide receiver who also excels on special teams.

Hollins is part Riley Cooper(because of his ability on special teams, not the racism) and part DeSean Jackson. He is a dangerous deep threat and a great gunner on kick coverages. He’s also an outstanding blocker in the run game and typically takes his man completely out of the play.

Hollins will probably never catches 40 passes in one season nor will get eclipse the 1,000 yard mark, but he’s so valuable because of his impact in the run, pass and special teams phases that he could develop into the best non-starter on this roster pretty quickly.

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