At the beginning of the 76ers’ predraft process last month, Sixers senior director of scouting Vince Rozman mentioned the team could be looking for a player who is NBA-ready, but also wouldn’t discount selecting a younger player with a bigger upside.
On Saturday, two players who fit both descriptions participated in the Sixers’ predraft workout. Tennessee junior forward Grant Williams and Oregon freshman forward Louis King could be candidates for the Sixers in the June 20 NBA draft.
Also working out were Villanova redshirt seniors Phil Booth and Eric Paschall (a potential first-round pick), Virginia Tech senior guard Justin Robinson, and Louisville junior forward V.J. King.
The player linked potentially with the Sixers’ first-round pick (No. 24) is Williams.
Yet King, a graduate of New Jersey’s Hudson Catholic, could also be an enticing choice, especially since the Sixers have four second-round picks (Nos. 33, 34, 42, and 54).
Williams, listed at 6-foot-7 ½ and 240 pounds at the NBA combine, was a unanimous first-team all-America and two-time SEC player of the year at Tennessee. He won’t turn 21 until November.
The key for Williams has been proving to NBA teams that he can play both the small forward and the power forward spots. At Tennessee, he was primarily an inside player, who only attempted 46 three-point attempts as a junior.
Saturday was Williams’ seventh NBA predraft workout. In order, he has been to Golden State, Utah, Phoenix, Atlanta, Orlando, and Boston before Saturday with the Sixers. He said he will work out with Brooklyn on Sunday and he doesn’t know his schedule after that.
No doubt, Williams has been asked if he can he play the small forward position.
“For me, it is showing I can defend two through five [shooting guard through center], even switch on small point guards and be better on that and it is something I can improve on,” said Williams, who averaged 18.8 points and 7.5 rebounds this season. “Show my perimeter skills, my perimeter shot, and show I can make shots at a high level.”
He shot just 32.6 percent as a junior from three-point range, but dramatically increased his free throw percentage to .819 in 260 attempts.
The questions will continue to persist: Is he a three (small forward) or a four (power forward)?
“I think the bet with Grant is his basketball intellect is so high, so whether you call him a three or a four or just assuming he kind of fits somewhere, that he is so smart and knows the game so well and plays so hard that he just kind of figures it out,” Rozman said. “His skill set lends itself anywhere on the court, specifically, he is a really impressive passer.”
Yes, but is he a three or a four?
“I don’t know if there is an answer to that and I don’t know that the team that takes him knows, but you just kind of hope he figures it out somewhere,” Rozman said.
King, who measured at the combine at 6-8 and 195 pounds, turned 20 in April. He averaged 13 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 38.6 percent from three-point range.
King is also a capable defender, with the athleticism to stay with small forwards, although he must get stronger. One thing he doesn’t lack is confidence.
When asked if it was difficult leaving college after one year, King replied. “No. I have a ton of confidence in my ability and know what I can bring to the NBA.”
Rozman is impressed with King.
“He is really skilled and has great size,” Rozman said. “He can handle and kind of makes plays off the dribble.”