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Sixers' guard choice may be Lawson or Maynor

Right now, the 76ers have no point guard. What they do have, and what could change that status, is the 17th pick in Thursday's guard-heavy NBA draft.

Right now, the 76ers have no point guard.

What they do have, and what could change that status, is the 17th pick in Thursday's guard-heavy NBA draft.

Will they pick one? Will they select a true point guard, a guy who's spent at least a few years in college not just scoring for a team, but running one?

If they do, keep an eye on North Carolina's Ty Lawson and Virginia Commonwealth's Eric Maynor - both should be available after higher-ups Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings, and Johnny Flynn have already shaken hands with NBA commissioner David Stern.

Sixers president and general manager Ed Stefanski has said for two months that the Sixers would likely select a guard, either point or shooting.

They're wanting in both.

At point guard, last year's starter Andre Miller is an unrestricted free agent, his future with the Sixers uncertain until free agency opens July 1. At off-guard, they have Willie Green and combo guard Lou Williams, neither particularly effective at shooting, though both can be - at times - very effective scorers.

The NBA draft is always impossible to predict, but this one is especially tricky because after the No. 1 spot, which clearly belongs to Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, the draft order varies greatly depending with whom you speak.

This year, it seems most teams are expanding their pool, including more names because there is less stability in the potential draft order above them.

Both Lawson and Maynor have worked out for the Sixers. Both are smart players with proven ability to run a basketball team - Lawson earned a national championship with the Tar Heels, while Maynor spent four seasons as VCU's on-court leader.

But these are two very different players. And before you decide onto whose bandwagon you want to hop, here's the difference:

Speed or height? Run-and-gun or half-court execution? Small and strong or long and controlled?

Lawson is shorter than Maynor, but faster and stronger. Lawson is better in transition, but scouts say Maynor is "NBA-ready" - however ready you can be having never before played in the league.

Maynor could be the perfect fit because he is old enough, having played all four years at VCU, to provide some stability at point guard if Miller waves goodbye, yet the 22-year-old could also benefit from a couple of seasons behind Miller to improve his outside shot and defense.

Lawson, 21, would be exciting - the former Tar Heel star with the big name and speedy feet. From the college three-point line, Lawson was effective, although there are some doubts his range extends to the NBA line.

But Lawson would be a great complement to Miller's slow and steady game, and if there's no Miller, Lawson might provide even more get-to-the-rim athleticism on a team already brimming with it.

The X-factor in this decision - if the Sixers go the point-guard route - might be Lawson's intangible: His national championship credentials. None of the Sixers current players have won it all on either the college or professional level.

And to have been the point guard for a winner might be just as important as wing span or repetitions on the bench press.