On the Beat: With Pre-Draft Workouts Done, Sixers "Ready"

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

PHILADELPHIA - The practice gym inside the 76ers’ training facility has certainly been an active basketball workzone the past five and a half weeks, with the mission being to prepare for the substantial team-building opportunity that Thursday’s draft represents.

Beginning with its initial round of pre-draft workouts on May 16th, the organization has since brought dozens of NBA hopefuls to the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Most of the workouts were conducted in group settings, but there were a few individual sessions as well.  Over the course of this stretch, the Sixers examined a broad swath of prospects, from the elite of the elite, to potential mid first and second rounders, to likely rookie free agents.  

The Sixers’ purposeful, exhaustive approach during the pre-draft period netted results that were two-fold.  First and foremost, the club was able to gather plenty of data and information.  Furthermore, the front office, which has some relatively new components, gained confidence and cohesion.

“I think we’re ready,” Sixers Vice President of Player Personnel Marc Eversley said Wednesday, after the Sixers conducted their 10th and final day of workouts.  Wednesday was the ninth six-man session the Sixers arranged , and featured Syracuse guard Trevor Cooney, Temple swingman Quenton DeCosey, Louisiana Tech guard Alex Hamilton, UNC forward Brice Johnson, Houston forward Devonta Pollard, and Gonzaga big man Kyle Wiltjer.

“I think we’re right there,” continued Eversley, who joined the Sixers in May, a month after President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo came on board.  “We’ve got another day or so to gather as much info as possible, and do as much research as possible, but I think we’re in great shape.”

In all, 57 prospects were evaluated in Philadelphia, including Ben Simmons.  The LSU freshman forward stopped by PCOM on Tuesday, according to Colangelo, and is regarded as this year’s top prospect.

“He had a light workout for the coaches,” said Eversley.  “It was a great sign for the organization and the city that Ben came in [Tuesday] and worked out for us in front of our coaches.  It was a great, great sign for the city.”

The Sixers are the only team that Simmons visited with privately.  He’s now in New York City, along with Duke swingman Brandon Ingram, Cal forward Jaylen Brown, and other projected first-round selections for Thursday’s draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.  The Sixers hosted Ingram, a probable top-two pick, and Brown at PCOM last week. 

The majority of the players whom the Sixers scouted in-house, however, will have far different draft night experiences than the likes of Simmons, Ingram, and Brown, who are regarded as three blue-chippers.  Perhaps the others emerge as options for the Sixers at either number 24 or 26 in the first-round, or as summer league considerations.

“We’ve targeted some who may go undrafted,” Eversley said.  “Depending on what happens with trades, any type of trade scenarios, we pick up a second-round pick.  Some of those kids may be targets as well who head to summer league.”

The Sixers will depart for the Utah Jazz Summer League on June 30th, with their first game in Salt Lake City scheduled for July 4th.  From there, the club will travel west to Las Vegas, for the Samsung Summer League, which gets underway on July 8th. 

“At this time, we have a roster that’s composed of about 15 or 16 people we’re targeting for summer league for both Salt Lake and Las Vegas,” said Eversley.  “Certainly, [Thursday] night the focus is the draft.  At that time, we’ll have a better idea who our rookies are going to be, and who we’re going to take to Vegas, as well as some other free agents.”

As much as the Sixers’ efforts and research over the past month and a half have put them in position to make informed decisions Thursday, there will still be plenty to do after the draft draws to a close.

“I think [Wednesday’s] going to be a long night, [Thursday] will be an early morning,” said Eversley.  “We’re excited.  We feel very prepared to make a great selection for the city of Philadelphia, and turn this franchise in the right direction.”

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