Philadelphia has won only one playoff series since losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2001 NBA finals. This year, the Sixers won 41 games and stretched the Miami Heat to a five-game playoff series Collins‘ first season as coach.
Spencer Hawes, a restricted free agent, started at center this season. The Sixers have little depth and size and needed a big man. They have one now.
“He will fight for some time as a rotation player,” Stefanski said.
Vucevic skipped his senior season with the Trojans to declare for the draft. He is coming off the best season of his career. He was All-Pac-10, averaging a team-high 17.1 points and a conference-best 10.3 rebounds.
“Defensively, I’m better than people give me credit for,” Vucevic said. “I know how to play defense.”
USC coach Kevin O'Neill, who once coached the Toronto Raptors, had said that Vucevic was ready to make the jump to the NBA. He believed his star player will be able to make an impact at the next level.
“He’s a stone-cold center,” Stefanski said.
The last time the Sixers picked 16th was in 2008, and they took Marreese Speights. That didn’t work out, but a year later, the Sixers got a steal with Jrue Holiday as the 17th overall pick.
Holiday has blossomed into one of the top point guards in the league. Holiday, at UCLA, and Vucevic were Pac-10 freshman together.
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