Sixers pick Temple's Allen in second round


Thursday, June 23, 2011
Posted: 11:30 p.m.Updated: June 24, 12:42 a.m.

By John R. Finger


As the second round of the NBA draft unfolded on Thursday night, the Sixers couldnt believe their luck. After trying to trade up and trade around in order to get big man Nikola Vucevic, the team had the pick land right in their laps.

Similar circumstances occurred in the second round, too. This time it was big man Lavoy Allen who was there when the Sixers picked at No. 50. Imagine the Sixers luck.

Weve added another big body. Hes got NBA size and body, no doubt about it, general manager Ed Stefanski said about Allen. He is a rebounder, and he can defend. We think his shot will get better, that 15-foot jumper. Hes a guy that the coach wanted. When we were going down the line, he said, Hey, Id like to get Lavoy Allen here, because I know hell defend and rebound. Thats why were bringing him in. So he has an opportunity here with a team that needs bigs. Just spoke to him on the phone, hes excited, hell be here tomorrow. Obviously, its not that far for him and were happy to have him.

The Sixers have seen a lot of Allen through the years. Not only was he a product of Pennsbury High and Temple, but also Allen played alongside of T.J. DiLeo, the son of former Sixers coach and current senior vice president and assistant general manager, Tony DiLeo. By that fact, Sixers management may have seen Allen play a lot simply by default.

Even still, there is a lot to like about Allens game. He finished his career as the all-time leading rebounder in Temple history and was the first Owl to average a double-double in a season since Ollie Johnson in 1970-71. He briefly flirted with entering the draft last year, but after a workout with Portland Allen was told to go back to school and work on his offensive game.

Certainly that advice and some time spent last summer with the national mens team opened his eyes a bit.

If Lavoy can rebound and defend, and thats what you get, well be very happy with that, Stefanski said. We know he can defend the low block, and we know he can rebound. He was arguably the best player in the Atlantic 10 all four years he played there. You know a lot of people wanted more out of him. I think he does things so smooth at times that people think hes not putting out as much. So, well see, and again, we took him because of his defense on the low block, and we know he can rebound the ball in the NBA. He has two NBA qualities that we like.

Stefanski said the team had some offers from teams looking to buy the No. 50 pick, but instead decided to take a flier on Allen. After all, Allen showed up to work out with the Sixers twice in the past few weeks and he says the experience from last year taught him what he needed to do to get better.

Watching what some NBA players did last summer and the work ethic needed to play in the league was what resonated.

I think I improved, Allen said after hearing the Sixers drafted him. I got to play against a lot of the guys who were picked during pre-draft workouts and I definitely proved that I can play at a high level.

Still, Allen admits that he was a little surprised that he was drafted.

There are no guarantees, he said. I wasnt sure as it got later that Id get drafted and Im happy just to be selected.

There is also no guarantee that Allen will stick with the Sixers either. If he doesnt make the team out of training camp, the Sixers could send Allen to their D-League team in Springfield, Mass. or he could sign to play with a pro team overseas.

Regardless, the Sixers say they didnt take Allen with the thought of him playing somewhere else. Theyre happy to get him.

There were a few guys on the board that we would like to have gotten, and Lavoy was in that mix, Stefanski said.

Still, now is where the hard work really begins for Allen. Certainly hes no stranger to that concept.

E-mail John R. Finger at him on Twitter @JRFingerCSN.

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