NBA Draft: Parker's scoring punch enough for playoff push?

NBA Draft: Parker's scoring punch enough for playoff push?
May 23, 2014, 1:15 pm
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Five of the top six selections in the 2014 NBA Draft lottery landed with teams in the Eastern Conference, including the first four. More specifically the top three, also known as the expected landing spots for Duke's Jabari Parker and the Kansas duo of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid.

Overall there will be a lot of talent headed to a conference that outside of the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers received more punchlines than praise over the past couple of seasons. That's also not the same as saying that the East will suddenly be loaded, but a few of the lottery teams could make a playoff push. Which ones and will any of them have enough to pass the Wizards, those are questions we’re looking at, starting with the Cavaliers (Embiid), Bucks (Wiggins) and now, the 76ers.

What's working for them: Some times a blank slate isn't a bad place to be. There is likely $15.7 million tied into Thaddeus Young and Jason Richardson, but otherwise nothing but young players or cheap contracts. Michael Carter-Williams is the reigning Rookie of the Year and Philadelphia should have a healthy Nerlens Noel next season. That's an intriguing point guard-center combo, though neither projects as the main player on a winning team. Along with the No. 3 pick, the 76ers also own the 10th overall selection plus four second round selections and lots of cap space.

What's working against them: Talent is kind of important and the 76ers don't exactly have much right now. Even the two pieces they do have possess notable concerns (MCW's shooting, Noel's rail thin build). No matter which players Philly adds, the 2014-15 season will be nothing but lots of this.

What they should do at No. 3: Parker might actually be the best fit since he's true scoring threat from the wing and would immediately become the 76ers top point producer. Wiggins is an easy call as well. Embiid seems trickier simply because and Noel both can't exist in the same lineup due to Noel's limited offense and the need for both to play around the basket. Should this scenario happen, take Embiid and trade Noel, perhaps to a team that could have a logjam at small forward minimal youthful depth with their bigs. As for 10 and assuming Parker/Wiggins at 3, taking a frontcourt shooter like Creighton's Doug McDermott or a power forward (Aaron Gordon, Dario Saric, Julius Randle).

Could they jump the Wizards?: No, no, no, no, no. In case you aren't sure where I stand, let me allow Scranton's favorite son Michael Scott to elaborate.