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Fastbreak: 87ers Acquire 16 in Expansion Draft

by Max Rappaport, Sixers.com
Posted: August 30, 2013

Earlier this year, the Sixers purchased what was then a defunct NBA D-League franchise called the Utah Flash, relocated the team to Delaware, and renamed them the 87ers. The acquisition made Philadelphia just the sixth NBA team to attain 100 percent, direct ownership of its NBA D-League affiliate, joining the San Antonio Spurs (Austin Toros), Los Angeles Lakers (L.A. D-Fenders), Oklahoma City Thunder (Tulsa 66ers), Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors), and Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge).

Until Wednesday, the 87ers, “Sevens” for short, were merely a name, a Wilmington-based office, and a modest staff. Now they have players.

On August 28, the D-League held an expansion draft in order to kick-start the Sevens’ inaugural season. Each of the league’s 16 other teams were given the opportunity to protect up to 12 players from being poached. Delaware was then allowed to select from the remaining pool of unprotected players, but were allowed to claim no more than two players from any one team.

The team selected 16 players in total, seven of whom have NBA experience. Here are some of the notable new additions to the Sevens (FULL ROSTER HERE):

Ish Smith is undoubtedly the most recognizable of the Sevens’ expansion draftees. The six-foot-tall point guard out of Wake Forest has appeared in 121 NBA games dating back to 2010. He’s played for the Houston Rockets, Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League), Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic, and Milwaukee Bucks, and he comes to the Sevens via the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

Guard Josh Akognon turned heads as senior at Cal State Fullerton in 2008-09, finishing sixth in scoring amongst all Division I players (23.9 points per game). Known for his outstanding shooting form, his 136 three-pointers were good for second-best in college basketball that year. Undrafted in 2009, he’s played professionally in Estonia and China and was a training camp invite of the Dallas Mavericks last fall; he was cut on the eve of the 2012-13 NBA season. His rights were previously held by the Canton Charge. 

In the cases of Smith and Akognon, who are both currently under contract with NBA teams (Smith with Phoenix and Akognon with Memphis), the Sevens will have first rights on them in the D-League, should they not make their teams' final rosters or be waived at some point during the NBA season.

Some may remember center Hamady N'Diaye from his time at Rutgers. The seven-footer out of Senegal led the Big East in blocked shots as a senior, notching 145 in 2009-10 (4.5 BPG). Drafted 56th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010, he’s spent time with the Washington Wizards, Iowa Energy (D-League), Guangzhou Liu Sui Whampoa and Tianjin RongGang of the Chinese Basketball Association, and, most recently, the Maine Red Claws (D-League).

Ramone Moore was acquired from the Springfield Armor. The 6-4 Philly native and Temple alum appeared in 37 games for the Armor last season, averaging 9.2 points, 2.4 assists, and 2.3 rebounds in 23.9 minutes per game; he shot 45.5% from the floor, 38.6% from distance, and 82.8% from the free-throw line.

The rights to the 16 players acquired via this expansion draft will not carry over to the 87ers’ parent team, the 76ers. However, like any NBA team, the Sixers may choose to call up anyone playing in the D-League, with the exception of NBA players temporarily assigned to the D-League (such as Arnett Moultrie, who had a brief stint with the Sioux Falls Skyforce last season). Philadelphia did this last season with Justin Holiday, calling him up from the Idaho Stampede on April 1. 

More on how Sixers can take advantage of their relationship with the Delaware 87ers

Rookies on Rookies

Earlier this week, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann unveiled the results of his annual Rookie Survey, in which NBA rookies are asked to fill out a questionnaire, senior superlatives-style, about their peers. Here’s how Sixers rookies Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams fit in:

• Both Noel and Carter-Williams received votes for “Most Likely Rookie of the Year.” Orlando rookie Victor Oladipo and Portland’s C.J. McCollum shared the top spot.

• Asked which rookie was being overlooked most heading into the 2013-14 season, Noel and three other rookies (Ricky Ledo of the Mavericks, Erik Murphy of the Bulls, and Kelly Olynyk of the Celtics) finished in a four-way tie for first place. 

• The title of “Best Playmaker” went to National Player of the Year Trey Burke (UTA), with Carter-Williams finishing second with 17.6% of the votes. MCW led the NCAA in assists (291) last season.

• Ricky Ledo was named the “Funniest Rookie,” but Nerlens Noel was one of 10 players who received votes in that category. 

• Noel, Solomon Hill (IND), and Peyton Siva (DET) split second place for “Best Rookie Defender” three ways. Victor Oladipo took first place. 

• Asked who their favorite current NBA player is, 21.2% said Kobe Bryant. LeBron James was second, garnering 15.2% of the vote.

Wroten Shows Out at Crawford Pro-Am

The newest member of the Philadelphia 76ers, guard Tony Wroten, put on a show last week at the Jamal Crawford Pro-Am, a summer basketball league set in Crawford’s hometown of Seattle, Washington. It’s become a popular place for NBA players to show what they’ve got during the summer months. Just ask Spencer Hawes, who dropped 58 points and 17 rebounds at the Pro-Am earlier this month. 

Here are some of Wroten’s highlights from his time there: