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Billy King Interview




| June 29, 2007

Basketball PlayerThe Philadelphia 76ers had a huge 2007 NBA Draft day, drafting, wheeling and dealing, coming away with Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith. Here's what Sixers president Billy King said to a group of reporters in Philly about how it all went down and the current state of the team:

On the draft: "We're happy with the draft. We did everything we could to move up to get a big, it didn't work out. But at that point I told you guys all along we were going to take the best player on the board and that was Thaddeus Young for his upside. We looked at some guys for the now but we felt that looking for the now and the future that Thaddeus was the right pick. The next big guy on the board was Jason Smith and that's why we made the maneuver with Miami to get Jason Smith, giving them a future second-round pick and cash to get the big guy that we wanted. We didn't want to take that chance that they would take him. As we went further in the draft we made some maneuvers, made some trades but the next player we were able to get was Derrick Byars who we had in mind and we liked him and we were looking at trying to get a strong athletic guy or a big guy and we felt that Derrick Byars was the right fit. Then when we got to the 55th pick that we had, we traded that and he'll (Tony DiLeo) give you all the details on the trade because 38th pick was to Utah and 55th pick was our pick so we drafted Herbert Hill from Providence."

On trying to trade up early in the draft: "Well, if we had been able to do what we were trying to do we would have got some of the guys. We were very close to pulling off a deal to get us probably in the top 7, just as the draft started. It didn't work out, and then we thought we had a chance to get another pick right after that and it didn't work out."

On the next step towards putting the team together: "Now the next step starting tomorrow involves teams that drafted guys that I have a high interest in, and I will do everything I can to acquire them. There are also some people we've talked to, about players, some other veterans, but we'll discuss it after the draft. The first phase is what we did during the season and this is the next step. We've still got more work to do."

On why the Sixers couldn't trade for a higher pick: "You have to ask other teams. I think we offered some great situations and the other teams just chose not to do them. We were being as aggressive as we could."

On what the Sixers liked in Thaddeus Young when he worked out: "For one I liked for his age, and the maturity that he had. I liked how well he shot the ball. I liked his athletic ability, that he can post-up and that he can guard people."

On whether everyone you wanted was on the board at 12: "Yes. It was a difficult decision. We debated but it was all the debating we had done over the past two weeks and ranking them. That's where we were and that's where we made the decision and we were all unanimous. We were trying to get up to get a big guy, and he (Young) was one of the guys who was in the mix."

On whether the Sixers will be making trades for any players after tonight: "I think we will evaluate their play and if we have an asset that we need to move to get something else then we will do that."

On whether the Sixers had any special meetings with any teams about trades: "We had a lot of discussion up to the draft with every team from five all the way down to eleven."

On whether any trade offers were unreasonable: "There wasn't anything they asked for that we weren't willing to do."

On the satisfaction with number 12: "I'm happy because we had somebody that we had ranked high on the board as a big guy. We had Thaddeus ranked high on the board and so when you look at where we had guys ranked and what we ended up getting I'm very happy. Derrick Byars wasn't somebody we thought would be there late, and looking at Herbert Hill at 55 we said here's a guy that averaged 19 points in the Big East and has great character. We had him in and talked to him. We're comfortable with all four guys and we're ecstatic."

On whether the Sixers addressed the needs for the team as far as the off-season goes: "We weren't looking at this draft to say we're going to address all the needs. We were going to go in this draft and get the best players with the most asset value. If we need to do other things to address those needs then we'll do it. If you look on the board obviously we were trying to get a big guy on the inside and I think we got that. We would have liked to have gotten another big guy higher up but that wasn't available. "

On what point the Sixers stopped trying to move up: "I stopped when number 11 said they were keeping their pick. I was still trying to move up at that point."

On if there's room for Thaddeus Young to play as a rookie: "Like I said, we're going to go out and let those guys compete and then when we look at it. If we have a lot of depth or a lot of players with assets then we'll look to make the changes that need to be made, but we're going to go in and let each of the guys compete and see how it plays out. As I said I don't think this roster will be the same at this point that it will when we start the season. Whether we add some players or make some trades, we do have a lot of depth at his position, but I'm going to let guys play it out and see how we go. I'm not going to just sit here and say 'ok we have to get rid of somebody.' If they all can play then we'll try to figure out how to make it work. I don't want to give away a player just to give him away.

"We're going to evaluate everything this summer. We're not going to just stop. July first, free agency starts, people start making trades again. So we're not just sitting here saying out job's done this off-season. October 1st is a long way away from now when the season starts." On what the Sixers thought about Herbert Hill when they saw him: "I just loved his athletic ability, rebounding, and toughness. I think he can really shoot the ball. As we went through it and watched tape and brought guys in, we felt he was the best fit."

On if Thornton's age is an issue: "I think everything goes into play. The age factor, the height, the psychological factors, we take everything into account. We're looking at everything when we make our picks."

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