- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Nikola Vucevic and Lavoy Allen helped the 76ers get big.

Now, they can only hope that means they’ll help them get better.

Vucevic and Allen were introduced by the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, a day after they were picked in the NBA draft. The 7-foot, 260-pound Vucevic, out of USC, was taken with the 16th overall pick. The 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward Allen, out of Temple, was their second-round pick.

Both are expected to bolster a frontcourt that lacked size.

“We just needed to get bigger,” team president Rod Thorn said. “We’re very scrappy, but small. Skilled big players are hard to come by. If you a get a chance to get skilled big players, it’s really hard to pass up.”

Thorn said Vucevic and Allen can contribute next season and fit into the Sixers’ long-range plans as they try and make the leap from 41 wins and a playoff berth to 50 and a deeper postseason run.

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.

“I feel like I can help this team by bringing something different,” he said. “I feel it’s going to be a great fit for me.”

In a bit of a surprise, both players might yet share a locker room with Andre Iguodala. Long the subject of trade rumors, Iguodala not only wasn’t traded on draft night, but coach Doug Collins said the Sixers aren’t shopping him.

“The problem with that is, (Iguodala) is thinking, ‘Well, they must be shopping me. They don’t want me,’” Collins said. “That’s not the case. That was never even in play. That’s a hard thing because you start reading that stuff and you think we don’t want them. We want Dre. We want him back.”

Collins and his assistant coaches are set to hit the road and visit with the entire roster before the CBA expires on June 30.

“We want to make sure guys have everything they need because we can’t talk to them (after Thursday), so we’ve got to make sure they’re training,” he said. “We’re not allowed to provide anything for them, any therapy or anything like that. So we’ve got to make sure they’ve got everything they need. We’ve got to hit the ground running in case that happens.”

The Sixers are plenty familiar with Allen. Thorn called him a “first-round talent” who only slipped to the second round because of questions about his passion for the game.

Allen is Temple’s career rebound leader (1,147) and 24th on the all-time scoring list with 1,421 points. He’s also third in blocked shots (213). He averaged a double-double as a junior, but his rebounding numbers dipped his senior season. Still, Allen worked out twice with the Sixers.

“I’ve heard people say I need to play with more energy,” Allen said, “and a higher motor.”

Collins is a passionate coach. If there’s anyone who can light a spark in Allen, it’s the coach who led one of the biggest one-season turnarounds in franchise history.

He just hopes a potential lockout doesn’t derail the enthusiasm built over the last year.

“I want to see them, how their spirits are, see how they’re doing, talk to them about the draft, what our plans are and what we expect out of them next year,” he said. “It’ll be good to see the guys. I miss them.”

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