By Peter Gleason

While the NBA lottery is still five days away and the draft not until June 25, the Sixers big bosses are in Chicago for the NBA draft combine.

According to many sources, the Sixers will interview point guard extraordinaire D’Angelo Russell, a 6-5 real point guard from Ohio State (above).

The combine provides a number of players with an opportunity to improve their upcoming draft stock by performing well during on-court drills and physical testing.

Here’s ESPN’s Chad Ford’s take:

General managers and scouts have been complaining for years that the lack of competition between prospects at the annual draft showcase lessens the scouting value of the combine. Since 2009, the NBA has had the 60 or so prospects invited to the combine run through various shooting and ball-handling drills with some minor simulated 3-on-2 action…

After considering a proposal from its competition committee, the NBA will bring back 5-on-5 competition for next year’s draft combine.

Returning to a five-on-five format will inject some life into the combine along with giving a better foundation for scouts to evaluate the talent. Live competition versus others who are fighting to get drafted creates a competitive atmosphere where those who handle pressure best have a chance to stand out.

The only downside to an event related to a person’s draft stock is that there isn’t much of a reason for the top prospects to attend. There’s not much to be gained by competing, while a bad showing could raise questions about potential and true value.

It is a lose-lose situation.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kristaps Porzingis and Mario Hezonja are a part of over 20 players skipping the combine entirely. Each of these five could easily be selected with one of the first five picks, so it’s important to specifically acknowledge their absence.

The Sixers were in a position to end up with as many as four first-round picks, but the final standings will likely prevent from them obtaining more than one. Holding five second-rounders means that Philly will have a strong focus toward players that can be taken within the final 30 selections.


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