Everything you need to know about the Sixers 2017 Draft Class

USATSI_10126497_168382939_lowres

Last night, the Sixers expedited “The Process” by capping off an exciting week with the drafting of Markelle Fultz. For the first time ever, two rookie first overall picks will share the same backcourt…and the team now have an electric energy surrounding them. But there were three more players selected by the Sixers that night…so here’s all you need to know about the newest Sixers!

 

Round 1, Pick 1: G, Markelle Fultz, Washington
It was arguably a foregone conclusion that Fultz would be the first player to be drafted in 2017, especially once the Sixers made their intentions clear by trading up to acquire his services and snatch him from the pockets of Boston. Fultz is the second Washington standout to find a future in the City of Brotherly Love…but for the Sixers, the future starts now.

Fultz is an incredibly dynamic player that could bring a lot to the table for the young Sixers. He possesses great length (6’4 with a 6’10 Wingspan), absurd athleticism, excellent court vision, and an innate ability to score at will. The Maryland native was an absolute force at Washington and his dominance is reflected in his stats:

Averaging over 23 points per game last season, Fultz shot 50% from inside the paint, as well as averaging close to 6 assists per game and shooting efficiently from 3-point range during his 35 minutes per game.

Perhaps the craziest and most enticing thing about his proficiency is that he just recently turned 19 in May. Fultz has an incredibly high floor and with the proper coaching should be a perennial all-star at the next level.

For the Sixers, they will now have a backcourt tandem of two #1 overall picks, both of whom will be entering their rookie season from a technical standpoint. The team is young, locked, and loaded…and with the top talent in this year’s draft in the eyes of many, and his 41.3% shooting from 3-point range last season saw his raw talent shine on a Washington team that lacked quality around him. Lonzo Ball may have had the cameras focused on him all season long, but it’s the well roundedness of Fultz’s game that brings a lot of upside and versatility to the Sixers backcourt.

 

Round 1, Pick 25: C, Anzejs Pasecniks, Gran Canaria
As if one first rounder wasn’t enough, the Sixers traded for the Magic’s 25th overall selection, gving up a 2020 first rounder for this 7’1 powerhouse. Before we get TOO excited however, it’s likely another process worth trusting. Paescniks will join the likes of Dario Saric and Furkan Korkmaz as players who will likely make their name overseas. 

The 7’2, Latvian earned his stripes playing for Gran Canaria in Liga ACB. While his stats are impressive, (18.9 points, 7.5 rebounds per 40), it’s what he showcased while playing in one of the most competitive European leagues that stands out. Just like Joel Embiid, Paescniks is a scoring Center. Surprisingly, the Latvian shot 58.3% from beyond the arc. He didn’t shoot a LOT, but the ability to be dominant in the post, as well as someone who can pull up a mid-range jumper has to be applauded.

It’s unlikely that Pasecniks will make an appearance in a Sixers uniform any time soon, but being stashed overseas only to come back and make an impact behind Embiid as a bench center would be the perfect scenario. With two dynamic first round centers on the roster who can both play extremely fluidly, the Sixers have a core of players designed to compete in the 3-point bubble.

 

Round 2, Pick 6: Jonah Bolden, PF, Crvena zvezda
A former UCLA player, Bolden’s time with the Bruins was less than impressive. After academic ineligibility during his first year led to a limited role, Bolden turned his attention to the Adriatic League last season in Serbia, following in the footsteps of Dario Saric. Putting up 18.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per 40 minutes, Bolden showed his prowess and was named the top prospect in the league, an honor also previously bestowed upon Saric.

If it’s a shooting lineup the Sixers want to role with, the 6’10 power forward has the ability to switch inside and play center at a moments notice, giving the team more options to rotate shooters onto the floor. A 40% shooter from 3-point range last season, Bolden fits the current NBA mold of an offensive PF. While his Defense could use some refining, a further year or two overseas against professional competition would help round out his defensive weaknesses.

 

Round 2, Pick 20: PF, Mathias Lessort, Nanterre
Coming out of the top French basketball league, Lessort stands at 6’9, 250 lbs and acts as another Big who will compete against smaller centers and power forwards. Averaging 10.2 points per game, his real strength comes on the other side of the ball, where he averaged 7.2 rebounds per game.

The main knock on Lessort appears to be that while he’s incredibly athletic, he still has a very raw skillset. His size may work against him, but his quickness and ability to take games into his own hands saw the 21-year old post 35 points and 18 boards in the home and away legs of the FIBA Europe Cup Quarterfinals.

Lessort is much more of a developmental prospect than the aforementioned and is the likeliest candidate to be stashed away overseas until he more finely tunes his craft. However, the ceiling and ability to score at will appears to be there. If Lessort can build up his Basketball IQ and become a more versatile player, he won’t be marginalized into a role where his size works against him.

 

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

More from our Sister Sites