CAMDEN, NJ – The day following the draft lottery, Bryan Colangelo figured to be even busier than usual. Such was especially the case in respect to his activity on the local media circuit, as his day started with an appearance on morning radio.
He then conducted a gathering with reporters at the team’s training complex…
…before going through one final batch of radio interviews for the afternoon drive time.
In each of these availabilities, the general themes and talking points that Colangelo spoke of were relatively similar, especially in terms of his excitement over the spot the Sixers snagged in the first round of this year’s draft. The Sixers’ President of Basketball Operations expressed a great deal of confidence that regardless of whom the club ultimately grabs at number three, there will be “quite a bit of talent” to choose from.
Other matters of importance, however, surfaced while Colangelo was making his rounds Wednesday, and we considered it worthwhile to dive into a few of those here…
Don’t Sleep on the Second Rounders
From Colangelo’s mid-day press conference at Sixers’ training complex
Without question, the draft pick boasting the highest profile and value among the Sixers’ 2017 stash is the one that was secured Tuesday night in New York. But after the team chooses third on June 22nd, it will be presented later in the evening with additional opportunities to further bolster its pool of young talent.
Thanks to a series of moves executed over the last 10 months, the Sixers are in possession of four second-round picks this year. Number 36 was locked into place via Tuesday’s lottery, and came courtesy of a provision from an August 2016 trade with Utah. Number 39 was part of February’s deal with Dallas that also involved Nerlens Noel, while numbers 46 and 50 were triggered by another February trade, with Atlanta.
Bryan Colangelo indicated Wednesday that the Sixers are high on the caliber of players projected to go in round two.
“We like the talent a lot at [picks] 36 and 39,” he said. “There’s always a name that you get a little bit excited about. You can go back in draft history and see some of those names that have come up.”
All-Stars Draymond Green, Isaiah Thomas, and Marc Gasol, all of whom assumed prominent roles in leading their respective teams to the playoffs this season, are a few that immediately come to mind.
Not only could the Sixers use their four-pack of second-round picks to obtain specific prospects, but for other purposes, too.
“There are some great European prospects that will not be ready to play right away, and could be drafted as stash opportunities,” said Colangelo. “We could consolidate some of those assets, and maybe move up – a quantity for quality type of move. It could be something that we utilize a pick to package along with a player to maybe enhance a trade situation.”
Colangelo is convinced that these second-rounders, combined with the Sixers’ first-round pick, will help the organization’s cause, in some way, shape, or form.
“Having those four picks that we acquired this year is going to be very valuable for us as we go into the draft process.”
Korkmaz Adds ‘Kilos’
From Colangelo’s interview with 97.5 FM The Fanatic Morning Show host Anthony Gargano
In his conversation on Wednesday’s edition of the 97.5 FM The Fanatic Morning Show, Bryan Colangelo told host Anthony Gargano that he was “a little bit surprised” by how quickly Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot connected with the Sixers’ coaching staff, impacted games, and processed concepts, all on the way to carving out a spot in Brett Brown’s rotation.
Luwawu-Cabarrot, the athletic, hard-working, 3-and-D Frenchman, was chosen 24th in the 2016 draft, the second of the Sixers’ three first-round picks last year. The first, of course, was Ben Simmons (no. 1), while the third remains overseas.
“Don’t sleep on the kid we drafted at 26,” Colangelo said on the radio.
He was referring Furkan Korkmaz. The lanky shooting guard split last season between Anadolu Efes and Banvit BK, two affiliates in the Turkish Basketball Super League.
“I got a chance to see him, and we’ve been watching and monitoring a number of games,” said Colangelo, who returned recently from a European scouting trip.
Just last Saturday, Korkmaz finished his fourth regular season as a pro, and did so in auspicious fashion. The Istanbul native went off for a combined 47 points on 8 for 13 shooting from 3-point range over his final two outings.
“The kid does a lot,” Colangelo said in his chat with Gargano. “He can handle the ball. He’s another facilitator.
“He’s about 6-foot-7. We think he’s filling out. I think he put on around four kilos, which is the equivalent to about 9.5, 10 pounds. It’s starting to come, but he’s still very young.”
While in Manhattan for Tuesday’s draft lottery, Colangelo actually had the chance to sit down with Korkmaz’s American representatives to discuss the 19-year old’s potential options for next season.
“There’s a desire on their part to come [over to the United States],” said Colangelo, while also noting that conditions in Korkmaz’s TBSL contract could complicate his ability to do so.
According to Colangelo, there’s also the question of whether or not, from a basketball skill set standpoint, Korkmaz is “absolutely ready” for the demands of the NBA.
“What I will say is we feel very confident in our development staff and the way we treat these players, and develop them.
“It wouldn’t be the end of the world to have him here, in our system, getting him bigger, stronger, faster, and ready to play at this level, and work on his game, whether he plays whether a full season with the 76ers, or played with the 87ers. That’s what that resource is for.”
The Matter of Post-Season Contention
From Colangelo’s interview on the Mike Missanelli Show, which airs weekday afternoons on 97.5 FM The Fanatic
As enthused Tuesday night as the Sixers’ delegation was that the team came away with the number three pick in the lottery, there was also a shared hope among members of the group – specifically managing owner Josh Harris and Rookie of the Year candidate Joel Embiid – that at some point soon, the franchise will be able to focus on the playoffs, not ping pong balls, come this time of the year.
The question of how close the Sixers are to post-season contention was one presented to Colangelo during his afternoon chat with 97.5 FM The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli.
“Great question,” Colangelo said. “The answer is, when we’re ready to make the playoffs, it will be happening naturally, it will be happening on our timeline that makes sense, and if it happens next season, we’ll all be thrilled and happy.”
Since being hired in April of 2016 to run the Sixers’ basketball operations department, Colangelo has preached the importance of maintaining a disciplined, pragmatic approach to team-building. He doesn’t want to rush things, and risk making a misstep.
“To predict that [the playoffs are] going to happen next year with so many things to do before we start next season, including the draft, including potential trades, including free agency, it’s really tough to determine that at this point,” Colangelo said. “But, I would like to tell you, like you to think that as I’ve been here, we’ve been talking with ownership, the coaching staff, management that there’s a nice timeline in place that we would like to follow.”
Colangelo did acknowledge that, internally, benchmarks have been discussed.
Following the lottery Tuesday, Embiid expressed his view that the Sixers were “building up at the right time, so when we start getting good, that’s when Cleveland and LeBron [James] will start going down, so when it’s all said and done, we will be…ready to compete for a championship.”
“There’s a plan,” said Colangelo. “We’re focused on our team, as much as we monitor the rest of the conference. Joel was right to indicate we’re a team on the rise. We’re climbing, we’re growing, we’re developing our players. There will be a turn, and given the volatility in the Eastern Conference, that turn can come quicker rather than later.”