NBA Draft Scouting Report: D’Angelo Russell

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Final Verdict:

Whether or not D’Angelo Russell is ‘their guy’ as has been reported, I struggle to envision a world where the Sixers won’t have the opportunity to draft him with the 3rd overall pick. The Timberwolves will take Towns or Okafor and, after posturing that they might opt for a guard instead, the Lakers will most likely take the remaining big. From there, it’s a matter of how Brett Brown, Sam Hinkie, and company evaluate the class. On lottery night, both Brown and Hinkie expressed their excitement with landing the 3rd pick.

Last year’s draft had such a clear-cut top three players that even Sam Hinkie couldn’t pull a fast one on the NBA and take someone other than Joel Embiid 3rd overall. Though this year’s crop boasts a wider crop of draft-able players towards the top of the draft, Russell appears to make the most sense for an organization that says it’s prepared to take the next step forward in its progression. The Sixers are the team most well-equipped to deal with Russell’s deficiencies as he develops and also happen to have a glaring hole in the backcourt.

It is worth noting that Sam Hinkie probably evaluates each individual prospect more than any other general manager in the league. He knows he has to build through the draft and, with that being the case, can ill-afford to misfire with his top selections. Joel Embiid may never cash in on his potential, but that will more likely be due to injury complications than a lack of talent. With only one lottery pick this year compared to his prior two offseasons when he had multiple, there is more pressure on Hinkie to secure a franchise-contributor in 2015.

Though the Sixers are among the most unpredictable organizations in professional sports the last few years, all one can do in this instance is read the proverbial tea leaves and try to put two and two together. From everything one can gather with the limited resources accessible to the general public, D’Angelo Russell and the Sixers seems like as safe a bet as any as far as the 3rd pick goes. That doesn’t mean the team won’t consider a myriad of other options with the pick. It just seems like things are trending in that direction given how things stand at this point.

Next: Poll: Sam Hinkie or Chip Kelly Doing a Better Job?

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