CHICAGO — The Sixers are looking at potentially two first-round picks and four second-round selections in this year's draft. The front office and coaching staff have plenty of work to tackle this week at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.
"The combine, to me, is about the chance to sit down face to face with these players," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Thursday. "We learn about them as people more than anything. We do challenge them basketball-wise … it's just important to get a good feel for them as people and as thinkers."
The Sixers will have a better sense of their specific draft needs after the lottery next Tuesday. They have an 11.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick. They also have pick swap rights with the Kings and will receive the Lakers' pick if it falls out of the top three.
There are very few players at the combine who would fit any of those situations, though. The Sixers already met with Washington guard Markelle Fultz, who along with Kentucky guard De'Aaron Fox, is the only projected top-10 player attending the combine. Still, Colangelo has seen enough basketball to recognize the talent available in those top selections.
"This is a group of players that, within the top 10, there are multiple prospects that could become potential All-Stars," Colangelo said. "I think that's a sign of a very strong draft."
As the Sixers wait until next week to find out their first-round draft selections, they are meeting with a wide-range of players in Chicago. In addition to Fultz, they have met with, among others, projected first-rounders Justin Jackson, Justin Patton and Ivan Rabb, and projected second-rounders Jonathan Jeanne and P.J. Dozier to get to know those who could be available to them in both rounds.
"There's going to be players with talent that slide down," Colangelo said. "You're always hoping to kind of find that diamond in the rough, a guy that's a sleeper of sorts. … It's not to say we're going to make four selections in the second round. But in particular the top picks, either 36 or 37 and 39, we think that there's going to be some players on the board that are fairly interesting."
The Sixers could be looking at a draft-and-stash scenario in the second round, too. There is a chance they could trade one or more of their picks, but if they end up with all of them, it would make sense to select a player who does not play in the league next season.
"It really becomes an issue of whether or not we have enough roster spots to deal with them in terms of drafting, signing and having them occupy a spot because we've got a lot of other things that we need to balance into the equation," Colangelo said. "Whether or not Furkan Korkmaz comes over, whether or not we have two top-seven picks or just one. Those things are going to drive some of that."
Whether it is a top pick or a late second-rounder, the Sixers have criteria they seek out in draft candidates. Their checklist includes high basketball IQ, shooting, defense, floor spacing and athleticism to get up and down the court.
"We're looking for players that fit our style of play, that fit our system, that fit our culture," Colangelo said. "It's really not just about the talent that they display basketball-wise. It's about what kind of people and what kind of character they have. I think we really do look for the full package."
The Sixers are all hands on deck at the combine. Colangelo, vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley, vice president of basketball operations and chief of staff Ned Cohen, and vice president of basketball administration and general manager of the 87ers Brandon Williams are among those from the front office, along with head coach Brett Brown and assistant coach Lloyd Pierce. Special advisor Jerry Colangelo and player development consultant Elton Brand are also with the team in Chicago.
The Sixers will hold more player meetings on Friday.