Draft position for Flyers on Friday during 1st round of NHL Draft

With the Flyers caught in a downward spiral, head coach Craig Berube has started to scratch healthy players from the lineup and reduce ice time to send a message to his struggling team. In addition, Eric Fisher suggests some line combinations, reviews the Flyers’ futility at Madison Square Garden and looks at this week’s West Coast trip.

The Flyers face a pivotal 8-game road trip. Eric Fisher also notes recent streaks by Wayne Simmonds (pictured) and Sean Couturier, praises the Flyers for their tribute to Peter Forsberg and tells us how the Phantoms made history.

After complaining about Heel Turns not appearing on PhillyPhanatics.com last week, the Greek God of Wrestling examines the fallout from the Royal Rumble. Achilles Heel also examines the lack of promotion for TNA’s Lockdown, upcoming events in Norristown and the 2300 Arena, and the promise of the upcoming NXT special on WWE Network.

Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

NBA Mock Draft: Active first round

Posted by Eric Fisher On June - 21 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Predicting the 76ers’ first-round pick certainly got much easier. There was uncertainty at No. 3, both because of questions about which players the Celtics and Lakers would select with the first two picks of the NBA Draft and because of questions about whom the Sixers would select – or would they trade down?

Those questions became moot Monday when the Sixers finalized a trade to move up to the No. 1 pick. The Sixers will select Washington point guard Markelle Fultz.

Let’s hope that’s not the only pick I get correct in my mock draft. The Sixers’ pick can be written in stone, but there’s still a lot of volatility in the rest of the draft.

The Lakers could throw a curveball by not selecting UCLA guard Lonzo Ball. I don’t think the Celtics would select Ball at No. 3, so he would drop to the Suns at No. 4.

As I compile this mock draft, one of the few apparent certainties is that the top of the draft order – Sixers, Lakers, Celtics, Suns – will be the same as last year. But even the order for Thursday’s draft (7 p.m.) isn’t a lock. The Celtics may also trade the No. 3 pick they acquired from the Sixers in the trade for Fultz, especially if the Lakers select Kansas forward Josh Jackson.

There is one other certainty in the draft. A lot of freshmen will be picked early. Teams are looking for talent and upside more than experience, so there will be a lot of one-and-done players at the top of the draft.

With all the disclaimers above, here’s my shot at predicting the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft.

1. SIXERS: Markelle Fultz, point guard, Washington. There isn’t any mystery to this pick. The Sixers will take Markelle Fultz, who not only is widely considered to be the best player in the draft, but it also a nice fit for the Sixers. Fultz should become an important part of the young nucleus that the Sixers hope will develop into a championship team.

UCLA-Ball2. LAKERS: Lonzo Ball, point guard, UCLA. The Lakers reportedly trying to decide between Kansas forward Josh Jackson of Kansas and UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball (left). But the Lakers selected forward Brandon Ingram with the No. 2 pick last year and forward Julius Randle with the No. 7 pick in 2014. The reported trade of D’Angelo Russell to the Nets indicates the Lakers are going to go with Ball, a tremendous passes with an unusual shooting style.

3. KINGS (from Bulls from Celtics): De’Aaron Fox, point guard, Kentucky. The Celtics will have plenty of offers for the No. 3 pick. The Kings were rumored to be offering the fifth and 10th picks in the first round to the Sixers in order to move up to No. 3. They could make the same offer to the Celtics, but the Celtics don’t need more draft picks. The Celtics want players, and the Kings have nobody of substance to offer them. But the Celtics might find a trade partner in the Bulls, who could send the Celtics all-star Jimmy Butler and the No. 16 pick in exchange for this pick, the first-round pick the Celtics receive from the Sixers in the Fultz deal, another first-round pick and perhaps Avery Bradley. The Bulls would then turn around and make the deal with the Kings for picks 5 and 10. The Kings make the trade because they’re afraid that the Suns will select Fox. (It must annoy the Kings that they have to trade up to get a draft pick that belonged to them in the NBA Draft lottery, but that they had to trade to the Sixers.

4. SUNS: Jayson Tatum, forward, Duke. The Suns are all too happy to find Tatum and Josh Jackson available at No. 4. They go with Tatum, a wing player who seems to fit the Suns’ style of play better than Jackson.

5. BULLS (from Kings): Josh Jackson, forward, Kansas. The Bulls get the player they wanted at No. 3, while picking up the 10th overall pick in the process. The only question about Jackson’s game is his outside shot, but he can score and rebound, adding to the Bulls’ inside presence.

6. MAGIC: Jonathan Isaac, forward, Florida State. The Magic don’t need to look beyond their home state to find Isaac, who needs to put some additional weight on his 6-foot-11, 205-pound frame, but could develop into an impact player.

7. TIMBERWOLVES: Lauri Markkanen, forward, Arizona. The 7-foot Markkanen is a stretch forward who can bury 3-pointers (42.3 percent during his lone season at Arizona).

8. KNICKS: Malik Monk, guard, Kentucky. The Knicks select the best pure shooter in the draft. The question with Monk is whether the rest of his game will develop to complement his shooting.

9. MAVERICKS: Frank Ntilikina, point guard, France. The Mavericks, in desperate need of a point guard, have a choice between Ntilikina and North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith.

10. BULLS (from Kings): Luke Kennard, guard, Duke. With Jimmy Butler traded to the Celtics, the Bulls need someone who can score. The 6-foot-6 Kennard made 43.8 percent of his shots from 3-point range while averaging 19.5 points. Getting Jackson and Kennard is a solid rebuilding step for the Bulls.

11. HORNETS: Donovan Mitchell, guard, Louisville. There will be pressure on the Hornets to select North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith, but the Hornets have more of a need for a shooting guard than a point guard. Mitchell, a sophomore, is the first non-freshman drafted (not including Frank Nitlikina of France).

12. PISTONS: Dennis Smith, point guard, North Carolina State. Teams always say they can’t believe players were available when they picked. This is one case where you can believe it.

13. TRAIL BLAZERS (from Nuggets): OG Anunoby, forward, Indiana. The Trail Blazers, with three picks in the first round, send the Nuggets the 26th overall pick in exchange for moving up to spots to pick Anunoby, who may have been targeted by the Heat with the 14th pick.

14. HEAT: John Collins, forward, Wake Forest. The Heat could use an upgrade at every position except center.

15. NUGGETS: Zach Collins, center, Gonzaga. This 7-footer made 47.6 percent of his 3-point attempts during his lone season at Gonzaga. He’s too good to pass up this late in the draft.

16. CELTICS (from Bulls): Justin Jackson, forward, North Carolina. The Celtics trade down twice, pick up Jimmy Butler, and still are able to find a good forward, which is their position of greatest need.

17. BUCKS: T.J. Leaf, forward, UCLA. The Bucks are set at guard with Malcolm Brogdon and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but they could use an upgrade at the power forward position, where Spencer Hawes is past his prime and Thon Maker may never reach a “prime.” Leaf averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds in his lone season at UCLA, making 46.6 percent of his 3-pointers, which fits in well with the Bucks’ perimeter game. In other words, Leaf can help inside and outside.

18. PACERS: Jarrett Allen, center, Texas. Allen is still raw, but there’s a lot to like in the 6-foot-11 center’s game.

19. HAWKS: Justin Patton, center, Creighton. The Hawks find a potential long-term replacement for Dwight Howard, whom they traded to the Hornets, in this 7-footer who averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds as a freshman.

20. TRAIL BLAZERS: Harry Giles, center/forward, Duke: I would look for a forward in this spot, but four of the five mock drafts I looked at over the weekend had the Trail Blazers selecting Giles. Who am I to argue?

21. THUNDER: Semi Ojeleye, forward, SMU. Ojeleye averaged 19 points this past season for the Mustangs, who won the American Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles.

22. NETS: Tyler Lydon, forward, Syracuse. The Nets need someone – anyone! – who can possibly contribute right away. They don’t have time to wait for projects, so they select Lydon, who averaged 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds as a sophomore and can drain a 3-pointer.

23. LAKERS (from Raptors): Terrance Ferguson, guard, Australia. Lakers trade 27th and 28th picks to Raptors to move up to No. 23, take a flyer on Ferguson.

24. JAZZ: D.J. Wilson, Michigan. At 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, Wilson provides an inside presence and can make 3-pointers. He is insurance in case the Jazz lose Gordon Hayward to free agency. If the Jazz hang on to Hayward, Wilson can help in a smaller role this year.

25. MAGIC: Derrick White, point guard, Colorado. The Spurs take steps to upgrade their guard position, a noticeable weakness against the Warriors, even if Tony Parker hadn’t been injured.

26. NUGGETS (from Trail Blazers): Ike Anigbogu, forward/center, UCLA. Patience will be required, but Anigbogu, who is only 18, is an intriguing prospect with a lot of potential.

27. RAPTORS (from Lakers from Nets): Bam Adebayo, center, Kentucky. An inside power player, the 6-foot-10, 250-pounder averaged 13 points and eight rebounds as a freshman.

28. RAPTORS (from Lakers): Isaiah Hartenstein, forward, Lithuania. The Raptors have a history of selecting foreign players. Hartenstein might be a project, but the Raptors will trust in his upside.

Villanova-Hart29. SPURS: Josh Hart, Villanova. The Spurs try to decide between Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan and Hart (left), but the playoffs revealed how much the Spurs need guards – even before Tony Parker was injured – to close the gap with the Warriors at the top of the Western Conference.

30. JAZZ: Frank Jackson, guard, Duke. If the Jazz hadn’t selected D.J. Wilson at No. 24, they could go with Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan, Utah forward Kyle Kuzma or Oregon forward Jordan Bell in this spot. It’s possible that the Jazz select Derrick White at No. 24, knowing there will be a decent selection of power forwards at the end of the round.


The Sixers enter the second round with, as of now, four picks (No. 36, No. 39, No. 46, and No. 50). It’s possible that the Sixers could package the 36th and 39th picks to move into the end of the first round or the top of the second round.

There should be a wide selection of forwards available at the top of the second round. In addition to Swanigan, Kuzma and Bell (see the Jazz pick at No. 30), forwards available in the second round could include North Carolina’s Tony Bradley, Valparaiso’s Alec Peters, Indiana’s Thomas Bryant, Oregon’s Dillon Brooks and Baylor’s Johnathan Motley. Villanova guard Josh Hart could also be available.  

Best and worst at No. 3

Posted by Eric Fisher On June - 21 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

The Sixers’ track record with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft is one more reason to like their trade to move up to No. 1 overall.  We look at the best and worst No. 3 draft picks during the past 40 years. Unfortunately, the 76ers appear several times on the “worst list” — although Joel Embiid has been removed from this list since it first was published in 2015 — and don’t appear on the “best” list.

Worst No. 3 picks (since 1975)

10. (tie) Billy Owens (Kings), 1991 The Carlisle, Pa., star had a decent career after being drafted out of Syracuse. He makes this list because Hall of Fame center Dikembe Mutombo was selected with the next pick.

10.  (tie)Benoit Benjamin (Clippers), 1985 This wasn’t a great draft, but Benjamin never lived up to his promise. Chris Mullin was selected 7th.

9. Jahlil Okafor (Sixers), 2015 Two years after being the No. 3 overall selection, Okafor doesn’t seem to part of the Sixers’ future plans and the team can’t seem to get a decent first-round draft pick in return.

8. Richard Washington (K.C. Kings), 1976 Adrian Dantley was selected 6th, Quinn Buckner was selected 7th, Robert Parish was selected 8th.

7. Charles Smith (Sixers), 1988 To be fair to the Sixers, they immediately traded Smith to the Clippers for guard Hersey Hawkins, chosen 6th overall, and a first-round draft pick the following year. Unfortunately, the Sixers used that pick to select forward Kenny Payne.

6. Rick Robey (Pacers), 1978 The Pacers selected Robey instead of an Indiana native who also played college basketball in their state: Larry Bird. Robey was traded the next year to join Bird with the Celtics, who selected him 6th overall.

5. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Vancouver Grizzlies), 1996 Stephon Marbury was selected 4th, Ray Allen was selected 5th … and Kobe Bryant was selected 13th!

4. O.J. Mayo (Timberwolves), 2008 Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love were selected with the next two picks. Enough said.

3. Jerry Stackhouse (Sixers), 1995 The next two picks were Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett. Ouch!

2. Raef LaFrentz (Nuggets), 1998 LaFrentz was a decent player, but Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce were all selected in Top 10. (Sixers selected Larry Hughes 8th overall, just before Nowitzki and Pierce.)

1. Adam Morrison (Hornets), 2006 The Gonzaga forward was out of the NBA by 2010.

Best No. 3 picks (since 1975)

10. (tie) Sean Elliott (Spurs), 1989 Solid 12-year career, almost entirely with Spurs.

10. (tie) Al Horford (Hawks), 2007 A solid inside presence, Horford continued his fine play this past season in his first year with the Celtics, who posted the best record in the Eastern Conference.

9. Grant Hill (Pistons), 1994 Averaged double figures in 17 consecutive seasons.

8. Chauncey Billups (Celtics), 1997 Selected by Celtics one pick after Sixers selected Keith Van Horn, Billups was traded to Raptors and developed into championship-winning point guard with Pistons.

7. Carmelo Anthony (Nuggets), 2003 It was difficult to screw up this pick in a draft that yielded LeBron James (No. 1), Chris Bosh (No. 4) and Dwyane Wade (No. 5), although the Pistons managed to do so by picking Darko Milicic No. 2.

6. Dominique Wilkins (Jazz), 1982 The “human highlight film” was traded to the Hawks before the season began, then put together a Hall of Fame career.

5. Marques Johnson (UCLA), 1977 Averaged at least 16 points per game for first 10 years of career.

4. Anfernee Hardaway (Warriors), 1993 One pick after Sixers selected Shawn Bradley, Warriors take Penny Hardaway and then ship him with package of 1st-round picks to Magic for Chris Webber.

3. James Harden (Thunder), 2009 Became NBA’s best 6th man before moving into starring role with Rockets. Finalist for NBA MVP Award this year.

2. Kevin McHale (Celtics), 1980 A key figure on the great Celtics teams of the 1980s.

1. Michael Jordan (Bulls), 1984 The undisputed best No. 3 draft pick in history.


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