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Tracking This Year’s NBA Draft Class: The 5 Best Fits For Philly

Each Wednesday, we’ll be assessing how the top prospects of the 2013 NBA Draft are faring in college and overseas. Stick with us each week for assorted thoughts, including the biggest risers and fallers, the standouts, the sleepers and what we know and don’t know about the next NBA Draft class…

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In one year, the Philadelphia 76ers have lost their cornerstone player (Andre Iguodala), lost their coach (Doug Collins), and their replacement franchise player (Andrew Bynum) may never don a Philly uniform. Hard luck for a proud franchise, but with cap space, flexibility, and three picks in the top 45, they could change their fortunes swiftly.

Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.

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ONE: What Do We Know About The Philadelphia 76ers?
The core of the 76ers has revolved around guard play for nearly 20 years and that will not change in the near future. However, their core (locked up past next year) of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Jason Richardson, Thaddeus Young and Arnett Moultrie could use an infusion of talent. Two years ago, they got a steal in Lavoy Allen in the draft and will have to get him signed to an extension, but besides Allen and Moultrie, there are no traditional paint patrollers on the roster after next year.

Spencer Hawes is not the answer. Kwame Brown is certainly not the answer.

Andrew Bynum could be the answer, but all things considered he is a guy that the team should just let walk in free agency. Cut your losses now and build on the future in this year’s, as well as next year’s drafts to get the franchise back to prominence.

TWO: What Do They Need?
Size, coaching, leadership and shooting are all major needs for the 76ers going forward. They can get two of four in this year’s draft by going big with Alex Len (Maryland), Cody Zeller (Indiana), Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga), or another paint player. In the second round with their two picks getting the right type of role players could add both shooting and a level of leadership. This is a very important summer for the future of this franchise.

THREE: Stock Falling
Every point guard that is not playing basketball saw their stock drop this past week. Top talents such as Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams and C.J. McCollum seem like safe bets for the first round and even the lottery for the first two, but thanks to the play of a German point guard this past week everyone else has been put on notice. There is a new name to add to the first round conversation at the one.

FOUR: Stock Rising
Over the past week, a level of buzz has been reached for German point guard Dennis Schroeder that has not been seen in quite a while. Before last week, the speedy guard was considered a quality prospect, likely in the mid-to-late second round. Some even had him as an undrafted free agent this year. That all changed with his dominant performance in a small practice facility in front of dozens of NBA general managers and hundreds of NBA scouts. Now Schroeder, who declared for the draft in the middle of the event, sits on the fence of the first round with a chance of leaping into the middle of the first round. He had a quality year in Germany, but dominating the likes of Kasey Hill, Andrew Harrison, and anyone else who tried to guard him has made Schroeder a hot commodity.

Keep reading to see which five players are the best fits in the draft for Philly…

FIVE: Quick Hitter
Without actual basketball, it is nearly impossible for a player to boost their stock in the upcoming draft. That is why there is no event more important in April every year than the Nike Hoops Summit. This event features 10 high school seniors and 10 (well, 11 this year) of the top international prospects for a week of practice and then a game to cap off the week. Spotlighting the international prospects has done wonders for Enes Kanter, Nicolas Batum, Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, and many others. This year the spotlight was on Andrew Wiggins (potential No. 1 pick in 2014), Joel Embiid (Kansas commit, lottery talent), and Dante Exum (Australian combo, 2014 lottery talent).

They all took advantage of the opportunity in front of the NBA’s top decision-makers to boost their stock and name for the vaunted 2014 NBA Draft.

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Top 5 Fits For Philadelphia Right Now

1. Alex Len: 7-1, 225 pounds – Soph., Maryland
Stats: 11.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 53.4 percent FG, 68.6 percent FT
There are no other center talents in this year’s draft with the potential, size and skill-set as Len. He has the ability to be a high quality to great talent at the five in the NBA.

2. Cody Zeller: 6-11, 240 pounds – Soph., Indiana
Stats: 16.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.3 BPG, 56.4 percent FG, 75.7 percent FT
Is Zeller a four or a five? Either way in this world of position-less basketball, the fallen from grace big man would be an ideal fit in the middle for the guard-oriented 76ers.

3. Kelly Olynyk: 7-0, 238 pounds – Junior, Gonzaga
Stats: 17.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 62.9 percent FG, 30.0 percent 3PT
The dramatic improvement and transformation of Olynyk this season is a sign of the type of hard worker he will be at the next level. If he continues that trend, Olynyk could be one of the better players in this draft.

4. Mason Plumlee: 6-10, 235 pounds – Senior, Duke
Stats: 17.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.4 BPG, 59.9 percent FG
It took four years, but Plumlee finally became the player most thought he could be. In terms of upside, Plumlee is not the next great four, but he is a quality big man with the athleticism to play both frontcourt positions.

5. Rudy Gobert: 7-1, 235 pounds – (1992) France
Stats: 8.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 71.4 percent FG (21.9 MPG)
Freakish length and great athleticism are what draw you to Gobert, but he is limited in terms of basketball skill and may need another year or two overseas.

Did you get the hint? The 76ers need to go big in some capacity because the future is not in Hawes, Moultrie and Brown. There may not be many franchise players in this year’s draft, but there are quality players that can complement the potential franchise players that a team like the 76ers might already have.

Who should the 76ers draft?

Follow Kristofer on Twitter at @NBADraftInsider.

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