By Barbara Harrison
The dust may have settled on last Thursday’s NBA draft that saw the Sixers snag Jahlil Okafor, who could be the NBA’s next great big man.
But GM Sam Hinkie is still working to improve the roster.
T.J. McConnell isn’t particularly big (6-1, 195 pounds) or athletic for a point guard. He’s old for a rookie (23), which brings his upside into question. He won’t wow anyone with any one skill, or even with the variety he possesses.
And yet, the Arizona grad might’ve been selected in the second round of the draft, had he agreed to one cavernous caveat (via Arizona Daily Star‘s Bruce Pascoe):
[McConnell’s agent Chris] Emens said all 15 teams McConnell worked out for invited him to play summer ball and that McConnell might have been drafted had he agreed to be a “draft-and-stash” second-rounder who would be sent directly to the D-League with no chance of making the NBA club.
“We didn’t want to do that and we knew we had a lot of demand, so we were able to parlay that into a significant deal,” Emens said. “He had a very, very good predraft process….Coaches love him. He’s so intense and hardcore, and he makes others better.”
The Sixers liked McConnell enough to extend him a contract with a six-figure partial guarantee. The Pittsburgh native has a solid shot at working his way onto the Sixers’ regular-season roster, too. With Tony Wroten and Isaiah Canaan as the only point guards with contracts for 2015-16 (Canaan’s isn’t fully guaranteed), Philly will need all the help it can get from what few floor generals it can muster.