With the Philadelphia 76ers playing as badly as they are, the only thing they have to look forward to is the 2014 NBA draft. This will be one of the few times this year that Sixers fans can be happy, since the team has two first round draft picks. It is now that time of year where the great college basketball players come together and compete for the ultimate prize. March madness in now underway and many of these great players who are coming out in this summer’s draft will try to lead their team to the national championship. Out of all of the athletes participating, there are several players that the Sixers should watch very closely.
Andrew Wiggins got off to a slow start this season for the Kansas Jayhawks, but as of late he has really turned it around. Wiggins stands at six feet eight inches and has tremendous athleticism. He has a knack for being able to get to the rim and finish in traffic, and also has the ability to get to the free throw line. He needs to work on his perimeter shooting, but over time, he should be able to develop into an excellent perimeter shooter. Wiggins is the number one prospect that the Sixers should have an eye on for the upcoming draft, so look for Wiggins to improve his draft stock come tournament time.
Jabari Parker is definitely one of the most talented players competing in the NCAA Tournament and very well is the one player coming out this summer that appears to be NBA ready. He is still very raw and has more to learn, but has the shown the talent that he truly possesses. Parker has dominated the ACC this year with the Duke Blue Devils as no one seems to have an answer for him down low. He is averaging 19.3 points a game and has a field goal percentage of .478. Not only is he a problem down low for the opposition, but he can step out and shoot the three as well. Sixers fans should watch him very closely in Duke’s pursuit to capture another title.
3. Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid is a seven foot center that only started playing basketball back in 2011. To be this good and to have only started playing a little more than three years ago is truly remarkable. Embiid is proving his dominance as a big man as he is tremendous playing with his back to the basket and very athletic around the rim. He still needs to work on defense, but with more time, he can be an excellent rim protector. Embiid is currently injured and will miss one or two games in the tournament. Kansas should still win two games without him, so when he comes back, look for Embiid to show why he deserves to be a top three pick.
Julius Randle is the top player at the University of Kentucky, and another freshman that will be selected early in the 2014 draft. Randle is very athletic for his size. He is six feet nine inches tall, and possesses the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim. Along with his great ball handling skills, he can even step outside and knock down the outside jumper. Randle still has work to do in the post, but he is still very young and will develop over time. It has been an up and down year for the Kentucky Wildcats, but Randle is on a mission to show the world why he will excel at the pro level.
With a draft that will be powered by many freshman, Doug McDermott will be the most talented senior coming out. Some may say that he will not have success in the NBA based on the way he plays, but with the numbers he has produced as a Creighton Blue Jay, it is hard to imagine him struggling at the next level. McDermott is a true shooter as there is no one in the college game that has the shooting ability he does. He is very crafty as he can post up, and is unconscious from behind the three point line. He struggles a bit on defense, but the name of his game is offense as he led the nation in scoring with 26.9 points per game. Creighton probably will not make a big run in the tournament this year, but McDermott will go out with a bang.
The Sixers should be very excited about this upcoming draft. It is full of many talented players that will make an immediate impact to whichever team they go to. If the Sixers can get their hands on a couple of these players, the future will be bright in South Philadelphia.