FORGET THE doom and gloom of Joel Embiid and the worry of whom the Sixers will select with the third pick in the NBA draft next week. With at least five second-round selections - picks 35, 37, 47, 58 and 60 at the moment - there are other prospects who could join the team this season.
Looking at the player archetypes that have attracted general manager Sam Hinkie's attention during his first two drafts in Philadelphia presents a better idea of what he values with these second-rounders.
In the 2014 draft, Hinkie drafted K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant with the 32nd and 39th picks, respectively. Both projected as long, uber-athletic defenders, but their offensive games were raw. Hinkie hoped to bank on those traits translating into defense-first players who could be molded into decent shooters and more complete offensive contributors.
Each rookie displayed that ability Hinkie and coach Brett Brown attempted to unlock at times and will look to become more well-rounded players in their second professional seasons, though McDaniels is now with the Houston Rockets.
Another category of players that Hinkie likely has on his radar is more broad: draft-and-stash international players. These are potential draftees who will spend the next few seasons of their careers still playing for their respective clubs overseas, honing their skills with the goal of one day establishing their games enough to be brought over to the NBA.
Hinkie grabbed Serbian guard Vasilije Micic with the 52nd pick in last year's draft and acquired Iranian big man Arsalan Kazemi, the 54th selection in the 2013 draft, to do just that.
Here's a look at 10 players, some fitting one of those distinctions, who could hear the Sixers call their names tomorrow:
Height: 6-6 Weight: 200
Position: Shooting Guard
College: North Carolina
Tokoto is a two-guard from an ACC school entering the draft after his junior year, just as McDaniels did last year after 3 years at Clemson. McDaniels' height and weight are both the same as well.
While Tokoto didn't rack up the gaudy block totals that McDaniels did to pose such a threat in transition defense, Tokoto was a better three-point shooter in college, hitting 37.5 percent of his attempts from deep this past season as a Tar Heel.
Shooting 42.8 percent from the field overall, as Tokoto did as a junior, isn't great. But he did hit an above-average rate of his threes and made 66 percent of his attempts at the rim, per Shot Analytics. An athletic wing who can hit threes, attack the rim and eschew midrange jumpers is the ideal role player for Hinkie and Brown's system.
Height: 7-foot Weight: 265
With a star-studded recruiting class entering Kentucky this past year, Johnson was overshadowed as a sophomore. Freshman Karl-Anthony Towns and returning junior Willie Cauley-Stein provided a defensively dominant frontcourt, leaving less room for Johnson to grow as those two turned into top 10-caliber picks as the season wore on.
Johnson's move to the back burner and subsequent drop to the second round said more about Towns and Cauley-Stein's strengths than it says about Johnson's weaknesses.
Johnson is a skilled rebounder with his gigantic size advantage at just 19, averaging 11.3 boards per 40 minutes as a sophomore - not too far off from Towns' mark of 12.7 and and above Cauley-Stein's 9.9. He also has some touch around the rim, making 53.7 percent of his shots during his two collegiate seasons.
Height: 6-2 Weight: 182
Selecting a Duck would surely please Brown's buddy Chip Kelly, while also bolstering a Sixers roster devoid of players able to create their own shots.
More of a combo guard rather than a true point, think in the vein of Sixers gunner Isaiah Canaan. Young lacks the size the team typically wants in order to fit Brown's switch-heavy defensive scheme, but at this point in the draft, just grabbing a player with the ability to get some buckets is worth the pick.
Young shot 45.1 percent from the field, 39.0 percent from three and 88.6 percent from the line across four seasons in the NCAA. His efficiency dipped a bit as a senior with a heavy workload of 592 field-goal attempts, the most in college basketball, but his quickfire release coupled with a knack for draining above-the-break threes could make him a key cog in any transition offense.
Height: 6-10 Weight: 245
College: Bowling Green
Consistent improvement has defined Holmes' collegiate career. From playing at Moraine Valley Community College as a freshman to leading the Mid-American Conference in Player Efficiency Rating (30.3) and blocks per game (2.7) as a senior, Holmes has refined his game incrementally every year to now position himself as a potential NBA player.
Even more integral to Holmes' development is his burgeoning inside-out game. Holmes hit 41.9 percent of his three-pointers (a still-small sample of 43 attempts) as a senior after not making a single three during his first year at Bowling Green.
A hardworking grinder who hits the glass hard (11.1 rebounds per 40 minutes last season), Holmes could scrape his way into the end of Brown's rotation as a change-of-pace post player off the bench.
Height: 6-5 Weight: 199
Position: Shooting Guard
Vaughn comes across a bit as D'Angelo Russell-lite: a good, not great, athlete with decent size for a backcourt playerand still the ability to nail three-pointers in bunches as a freshman.
He doesn't have that innate court vision Russell does, relegating him to the two-guard spot instead of playing more as a combo guard. He can still be a nice spot-up shooter from deep, hitting 38.3 percent of his threes. While he has the agility to hit the lane hard as a slasher, his lack of strength at his size hurts his ability to finish in close, making only 48 percent of his attempts at the rim, per Shot Analytics.
Give Vaughn some time to bulk up while engaging in Brown's sports science-heavy training and he could turn into a more complete offensive weapon.
Height: 6-10 Weight: 243
Position: Power Forward/Center
The token Philly-area prospect on the list, the Academy of the New Church graduate made good use of his 7-5 wingspan during his 4 years in upstate New York, recording 3.2 blocks per 40 minutes for the Orange.
While Christmas had been a solid contributor as a guy doing dirty work in his first 3 years under Jim Boeheim, he became an offensive focal point as a senior. His efficiency remained strong, as he made 55.2 percent of his shots compared to 56.7 percent in his three previous seasons, despite increasing his shot output and putting up 17.5 points per game.
How the long defender's rim protection translates from a Syracuse zone scheme that won't be replicated in the pros will dictate the length of his NBA career.
Height: 6-8 Weight: 196
Position: Guard/Small Forward
Team: Anadolu Efes, Turkish Basketball League
Osman's name might be familiar to some of the stauncher Sixers fans despite playing all the way in Istanbul, as he's currently teammates with Sixers 2014 lottery pick Dario Saric on Efes. His game has evolved as Efes' season has progressed, now opting for a shooting stroke with a quicker release that makes greater use of his guide hand.
That change isn't wholly reflected in the 30.3 percent Osman shoots from three this season, but he has improved in the department over the last few months. Despite likely never turning into a sharpshooter, Osman can still have an effective NBA career as a jack-of-all-trades type, providing some scoring off the dribble, distributing, throwing up active hands defensively and crashing the boards with the ferocity of a young Evan Turner from the wing.
Height: 7-foot Weight: 220
Team: Partizan, Basketball League of Serbia
At only 20, Milutinov possesses a multifaceted game, one that could even have him creeping into the first round.
He won't be a plodding, slow big man if and when he comes stateside, as he's an athletic 7-footer who can work down in the post or as a roll man and screener offensively. He has the potential for a Tristan Thompson-like impact, grabbing 3.8 offensive rebounds per game in 22.4 minutes, adding another way he can put up points.
An instinctive defender with the physical traits to back up his fundamentals, he should grow to be even better on that side of the ball, allowing him to help in a variety of lineup constructions in the NBA.
Height: 6-11 Weight: 255
Team: Sevilla, Spanish ACB League
A Sevilla frontcourt mate with potential Sixers first-rounder Kristaps Porzingis, the Sixers might be able to recreate the pairing a few years down the line if they draft Hernangomez and let him continue to develop in Spain.
The concerns about physicality that plague Porzingis aren't present with Hernangomez, given his weight and the fact that he's leading a team full of grown men in rebounding (6.2 rebounds in just 21 minutes per game) at 21 in the second-best basketball league in the world. His game is founded on his offense, working out of post-up situations and as a screener in pick-and-roll play, the latter an essential part of the modern NBA offense.
He does so with precision, getting his points in close while shooting 53.4 percent in league play and averaging a team-high 21.7 points.
Height: 6-8 Weight: 216
Position: Small Forward
Team: Gipuzoka Basket, Spanish ACB League
Diez, 22, has averaged 29.6 minutes this season, a high rate for the typically veteran-heavy European leagues. He has developed with that increased freedom, making 41.4 percent of his three-point shots this season on 4.7 attempts per game compared to just 25.9 percent a year ago.
He'll likely just be a spot-up threat in the NBA, but he excels in that role, knocking down 46 percent of his shots in catch-and-shoot situations.
His short wingspan of 6 feet, 5.5 inches limits him as a perimeter defender, but having just one elite skill, possibly the most important one in long-range shooting in the pace-and-space era, could merit his spot on an NBA roster one day.