76ers

Ryan Arcidiacono: 'It would mean the world' if Sixers drafted me

Ryan Arcidiacono: 'It would mean the world' if Sixers drafted me

Ryan Arcidiacono didn’t always think playing in the NBA was a possibility.

In fact, he didn’t even consider it until he got to Villanova and started succeeding. But now with four years of college basketball and a championship under his belt, he’s just a few days away from possibly achieving that dream.

And playing for the Sixers? Well, that would be an even cooler achievement for him.

“It would mean the world, me being from the area.” Arcidiacono said. “I wanted to play for Villanova, and eventually if I could play for the Sixers that would be awesome."

Arcidiacono was one of six participants in a pre-draft workout with the Sixers on Monday morning at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. It was his second-to-last team workout leading up to Thursday’s NBA draft. He’ll have his 12th and final workout with the Pelicans on Tuesday.

However, despite being named the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four this past year, he’s not a lock to hear his name called in the draft.

And the chance of being drafted by the Sixers might be even less, unless they were to make a trade. Many mock drafts have Arcidiacono going late in the second round or going undrafted, and the Sixers don’t even have a second round pick this year.

Either way, Arcidiacono embraced the experience.

“It’s good to be back home and play and work out for a team that I grew up loving and watching,” he said. “To have an opportunity to play with this team is a good experience.”

Sixers director of basketball operations/scouting innovations Vince Rozman was impressed with Arcidiacono’s workout, specifically citing his competitiveness.

“In drills and one-on-one competition and shooting drills, he just wants to win,” Rozman said. “That’s endearing. He plays hard, he’s open. You’re not a captain of your team for four years without being a competitive kid.”

Arcidiacono said in his pre-draft workouts, he’s tried to focus on the things he’s best at, such as ball-handling, shooting and leading. He stressed those were the aspects of his game that got him workouts in the first place and he didn’t want to do anything out of the ordinary.

He said the biggest difference so far between college and these workouts is the speed of the game.

“In the NBA you push the ball a lot quicker,” he said. “We did both at Villanova — we slowed the game down and played fast. But playing uptempo, continuing to dribble and be a consistent shooter.”

Arcidiacono said he’s optimistic about Thursday’s draft and he’s glad things are settling down a bit so he can focus on his biggest goal: playing in the NBA. Whether he gets drafted or not, he said the goal doesn’t change.

“I think that there’s a chance I could be drafted in the second round,” he said. “If not, I’ll sign with a team for summer league. I’m going to figure all that stuff out after summer league.”

Zhaire Smith has a clear goal for his first full NBA season with the Sixers

Zhaire Smith has a clear goal for his first full NBA season with the Sixers

Zhaire Smith has packed on some pounds this summer, most recently weighing in at 212 as he continues to grind in the weight room over the offseason.

“I’ve got a lot of goals, especially in the weight room, to get bigger, stronger and faster,” Smith said at the Sixers Summer Shore Tour in Wildwood, New Jersey.

There’s a reason that when you ask Smith about his goals this summer, he always makes a reference to the weight room.

After a severe allergic reaction nearly takes away your entire rookie season, leaving you in a hospital for weeks and with feeding tubes for months, gaining back the 40 pounds (and some) you lost becomes a pretty important goal.

“With all I’ve been through the past 12 months, and it’s been a crazy ride, a lot of bumps in the road, but we here now and I’m not looking back.”

If that crazy ride he’s been on has taught him one thing, it’s this:

“I know not to take the game for granted and work hard every day, like it’s my last.”

If you talk to those around Smith, you’ll find out quickly that working hard isn’t something the young guard takes lightly. He also knows that minutes aren’t going to be handed to him, and he’s ready to get to work.

“To get in the rotation, play hard and just do what I do and have fun with it,” Smith said of his goals this season.

Smith is also looking forward to practices and bonding with his new teammates.

“It’s going to be competitive. I can see it right now, that practice is going to be really intense and we are just going to go at it.”

On top of that, Smith is ready to soak up all the knowledge he can, especially on the defensive end.

“I’m looking forward to asking questions and learning, so it’s going to be a fun ride. I believe we are all going to bond together really quick and have a fun time.”

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Sixers Talk podcast: John Gonzalez on the Sixers' offseason and Brett Brown appreciation

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NBA Sports Philadelphia/USA Today Images

Sixers Talk podcast: John Gonzalez on the Sixers' offseason and Brett Brown appreciation

John Gonzalez joins Paul Hudrick for a lively conversation about the craziest NBA offseason ever and a moment to appreciate Brett Brown.

2:00: Craziest move of the craziest NBA offseason.
5:15: Keep Ben and Jo together.
12:12: Are the Sixers better of just different?
20:30: How to handle Joel Embiid and DNPs.
25:55: Is the East a two-team race or are the Celtics a threat?
30:13: Sorry, haters: Just a segment appreciating Brett Brown.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers