Is Luka Garza a candidate to become a reserve center for the 76ers?
The former Iowa standout worked out for the Sixers on Wednesday at the team’s practice facility in Camden. Another center, Neemias Queta from Utah State, was also in the group of predraft workout participants, according to sources. The Inquirer reported Monday that former Oklahoma guard Austin Reaves was also among the participants.
But Garza and Queta could both fulfill a major need for the Sixers, who need reliable backups to four-time All-Star center Joel Embiid.
Embiid and Dwight Howard, who becomes a free agent in August, were the only centers on the roster at the conclusion of this season.
The Sixers have a first-round pick (28th overall) and second-round selection (50th) in the June 29 NBA draft at the Barclays Center.
Garza, the 2021 consensus NCAA national player of the year, is projected to go anywhere from late in the first round to the middle of the second round. Queta is regarded by some as a borderline first-round talent, but he’s projected to go in the second.
The 7-foot, 245-pound Queta averaged 14.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, and 2.7 assists last season as a junior at Utah State. He swept the Mountain West Conference’s player of the year and defensive player of the year honors. Queta was also a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year.
The 6-11 Garza has slimmed down to 243 pounds while working with a dietician during the predraft process to improve his defensive mobility.
He averaged 24.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks as a senior last season. Garza left Iowa as the school’s career leader in scoring (2,306 points). He’s the only player in Big Ten history with more than 2,250 points and 900 rebounds.
Garza is the two-time national player of the year and Iowa’s first two-time unanimous consensus first-team All-American.