When it comes to evaluating players, you can never have enough information.
In keeping with that philosophy, the 76ers held another predraft workout yesterday at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine to get an even better feel for some of the players who could still be on the board when they pick at No. 16 Thursday.
Senior vice president/assistant general manager Tony DiLeo said that while the team has seen "a ton of film" on each player, in addition to watching them play in person, the predraft workout gives the club a chance to work with them one-on-one and "get to meet them eye-to-eye."
"We know how fast they can run and high they can jump," DiLeo said. "But what kind of personality do they have?"
Five players worked out for the Sixers: Ryan Anderson (California), Marreese Speights (Florida), David Padgett (Louisville), Callistus Eziukwu (Grand Valley State) and Kentrell Gransberry (University of South Florida). While no one cay say at this point whether any of them will end up wearing a Sixers uniform, DiLeo expects whomever the team selects to be "a work-in-progress."
"We have no problem with a project - someone that we feel could use a year or 2," said DiLeo, who added that the decision to select high school star Lou Williams had been guided by the same principle. "We like our team. We think our players are going to get better over the years. We have cap room to go out and get a free agent. And there is the possibility of a trade. So the player [we take] does not have to come in and be the savior."
Speights has been identified in mock drafts as a possible pick for the Sixers at No. 16. The 6-10 power forward/center sat the bench his freshman year for NCAA champion Florida, then averaged 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds last season as sophomore. He said yesterday that he would "bring a lot to the table for the Sixers," and would enjoy the up-tempo style the team plays.
"They like to run - I like that," Speights said. "I would bring a lot of energy to the team. I would like to get with a team like the Sixers."
DiLeo said Speights has an attractive upside. "He can score around the basket with both hands," DeLeo said. "He can step outside and shoot the jump shot. He is a work-in-progress, but he is a talented player."
Anderson also caught DiLeo's eye. The 6-10 power forward averaged 21.1 points to lead the Pac-10 in scoring last year as a sophomore. "We like Ryan," said DiLeo. "First of all, he is a great shooter, probably the best shooter in the draft this year. He knows how to play. He can go inside. He can go outside. And he has always exceeded expectations."
The 6-10 Eziukwu was back yesterday for a second workout with the Sixers. "He is one of the all-time shot blockers in NCAA Division II history," DiLeo said. "We like athletic, shot-blocking people who can anchor our defense and can get out on the break. And that is why we wanted to take another look at him."
DiLeo added that when it comes to choosing players on draft night, the Sixers will do what they have done historically.
"If we feel there are a group of players at that level, then we will look more for a position or a need," he said. "But if we feel someone stands out over the other players, we will go for the best player available." *