The Philadelphia 76ers added a potential high-upside player with the No. 25 pick of the 2017 NBA draft, acquiring the draft rights to center Anzejs Pasecniks out of Latvia in a proposed trade with the Orlando Magic.
Pasecniks is Philadelphia’s second pick of the night, after the team added Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 overall choice.
The internet had some thoughts on the Sixers adding another big man to the mix:
Pasecniks has great size at 7’2″ and 229 pounds with enough strength to play inside in the NBA right away. He moves well for his height, allowing him to run the floor and beat opponents to the rim. Add in above-average athleticism and the center becomes a dangerous finisher in the post.
While he is best in the post, his offensive game fits the current NBA with his ability to step out and hit a three-pointer if left open.
“I like to shoot 3s,” Pasecniks said before the draft, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “But it depends on the team, because some teams want me to stay inside, so I don’t have any problems staying there. But if some teams want me to stretch the court as well, I don’t have any problems.”
His skill set and Latvian origins will lead to obvious comparisons with Kristaps Porzingis, who has already proved himself as one of the top young big men in the NBA. However, Pasecniks is not quite as developed on either end of the court and is already 21 years old, just four months younger than Porzingis.
Although he can finish plays with consistency, he is not quite ready to create offense on his own.
Still, you can’t teach his size or athleticism, which is what caused so many teams to take an interest heading into the NBA draft.
The 76ers are the ones who finally pulled the trigger in the first round, providing Pasecniks with a chance to make a difference in the NBA. Although he might not be a star in his first year, he has the potential to be an impact player in the frontcourt before too long.
Philadelphia isn’t lacking for size already, though it does need depth behind oft-injured Joel Embiid. Jahlil Okafor hasn’t developed into the star he was projected to be coming out of Duke in 2015, so bringing in another young and talented center is a good risk for the Sixers.
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