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NBA Mock Draft 2011: Sixers Take Tristan Thompson With No. 16 Pick

With the No. 16 pick in the SB Nation 2011 NBA Mock Draft, Liberty Ballers, our Philadelphia 76ers blog, selects Texas power forward Tristan Thompson. Liberty Ballers' Michael Levin explains the pick.

While Tristan Thompson isn't the polished, low-post scorer and defensive rebounder the Sixers need in the short term, he can develop into a possible cornerstone of the franchise with the right teaching. He'd fill the void left by Thaddeus Young (if he leaves) on the offensive glass, because Tristan was one of the nation's best at cleaning up after his teammates. With Elton Brand's contract on the downside of tradeable, he could slip into the starting lineup midseason or next year if Elton gets moved. While he's got the length, I don't think he and Brand would work well as a starting front court, so it's likely that Spencer Hawes would retain the center position for this season.

The hope is that the Sixers will package Andre Iguodala to move up to either the Timberwolves spot at No. 2 or the Cavs' No. 4 pick. Then they could look wing at 16 to replace him, with either Jordan Hamilton, Chris Singleton or Klay Thompson, depending on who's still around. While Markieff Morris, Kenneth Faried, and Nikola Vucevic represent safer options for the Sixers at 16, Tristan has the highest upside and the chance to gel with Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday to continue building the young core of this team.

Follow this StoryStream to see our entire SB Nation mock draft play out over the next couple days. See our 2011 NBA Draft hub for full coverage.