With all of the nonsense surrounding the Sixers this past week, it’s time to focus on the next step in “The Process”. The upcoming NBA Draft. The Sixers currently hold six picks in the draft, including two first rounders. With these picks they can do any number of things. Trade them, use them all, move them to get a player in the league now, etc.
My initial and ongoing opinion has been for the Sixers to trade a few of their picks and move up in to the top seven and take Mikal Bridges from Villanova. He’s a great shooter and defender who has won two NCAA National Championships and would fill an immediate need for the Sixers, allowing them to move Robert Covington to the second unit and not have as much pressure as when he’s in the starting lineup. But, I’m looking at the current crop of drafteable players and the Sixers could wind up getting multiple players that fit their needs. The team is still one of the youngest in the league and their third place finish in the Eastern Conference this past season is going to have some larger expectations for them in the upcoming season.
So let’s say they keep their current selections. I’m not a fan of the European stash players that they’ve been fond of grabbing the past few years, but there are plenty of players that could provide a real solid upgrade for the team and that are young enough that they can develop with the core of this team.
With the 10thpick the Sixers have a couple of options:
1) Kevin Knox, 6’9”, 215 lbs, Kentucky
Knox has the height and length to be a very good player in the league. The big part of his game that would help the Sixers is that he can shoot very well and already has NBA range. The Sixers are a team that thrives on defense and three-point shooting, where Knox can provide both of them. Being on a young team and developing with players like Simmons and Fultz on the wings as well, would help Knox and he could be an immediate impact player for the team.
2) Miles Bridges, 6’6”, 220 lbs, Michigan State
Bridges has the motor and competitive fire on both ends of the court to provide energy, defense and scoring to a team that thrives on all three. He’s a very good shooter with NBA range and his ability to move off screens will help on the team. He’s a small forward with the height that would be on the low end for those playing the position in the league. But, his energy and longer wingspan should help make up for his lack of height. Shooting and defense are where Bridges will succeed and as the leagues teams move toward positionless basketball, Bridges could really thrive on this Sixers team.
3) Kevin Huerter, 6’7”, 200 lbs, Maryland
Huerter is a reach at the tenth pick but doesn’t seem like he’ll be there when the Sixers pick again at #26. The one thing that Huerter brings to the table is shooting. At 42% this past season on three-point shots, he’s an NBA ready shooter. His lack of strength would hinder him, but his length allows him to be a good defender and he has very good passing ability for a two-guard. Depending on how the first nine picks play out, Huerter wouldn’t be a bad selection for the Sixers.
Once you get past the 10thpick in the draft, the Sixers have the 26th, 38th& 39th. Depending on how the team uses it’s early picks, they could look at any of the following.
1) Gary Trent Jr. 6’6”, 215 lbs, Duke
Trent is a very good shooter, with good decision making on both ends of the floor. He knows how to score and is fearless when it comes to taking big time shots. He’s not going to create a lot of shots, but with a player like Simmons handling the ball, Trent is a very good shooter off the pass and could wind up filling a good role for the Sixers.
2) Khyri Thomas, 6’4”, 200 lbs, Creighton
The knock on Thomas is that he’s 22 years old. It’s crazy to think of a player as old since he’s played a bunch in college, but the idea is that he doesn’t have much to develop at that age. He’s a very good shooter as his 40% from three-point land for his career shows, but he’s also good at creating space for himself and plays good defense, which the Sixers thrive on.
3) Lonnie Walker, 6’5”, 200 lbs, Miami
Lonnie Walker may fall out of the first round. He’s a good player with a good shot, but it’s still improving and he needs to continue to work on it if he’s going to be a successful professional. The one thing that Walker brings is his ability to score in half-court sets as well as transition. The Sixers could use someone that is adept at both. One downfall for him as a fit for the Sixers is that he’s not a very good defender.
4) Brandon McCoy, 7’1”, 250 lbs, UNLV
McCoy is a beast. He’s strong and has the power and length to compete with the centers in the league. He has a limited offensive game, even in the post, but he’s working on it and becoming good at the short to mid-range jumpers. What he does very well attack. He’s up and down the floor with aggressiveness on both ends. He attacks the boards on offense and defense and he’s a good shot blocker that will only get better if he can work with someone like Embiid who’s one of the best in the game. He’d provide an improvement over any of the backup centers the Sixers currently have on the roster.
5) Grayson Allen, 6’4”, 200 lbs, Duke
Allen is a pest. Frist and foremost he’s made a name as someone that’s out of control on the court with his emotion. That can work both ways in the NBA, but he should be able to learn to tame that side of his personality, even a bit. What he can do is shoot. 44% on three-pointers for his career at Duke. He’s an aggressive player who needs to improve his defense, but that will come when he’s playing with one of the top defensive teams in the league. He’s not great with the ball in his hand, but he doesn’t have to be on the Sixers. He could wind up being a JJ Reddick clone with just his shooting ability alone.
6) Landry Shamet, 6’5”, 190 lbs, Wichita State
Shamet is a shooter. That’s it. There’s no other way to say it. He has beyond NBA range, right now. He’s shot over 41% the past two years and could see that number go up if he’s not the main option on offense where teams would be looking for him. He’s had some foot issues and that is causing his stock to drop, but as a later pick up in the draft, he’d be worth a look for a team that thrives on three-point shooting.
7) Sviatoslav Mykhailuk, 6’8”, 210 lbs, Kansas
Mykhailuk is a pure shooter with good height and the ability to shoot over smaller guards. He has a good lift to his form when shooting and isn’t afraid to shoot from anywhere on the court. He’s not a good defender and his wingspan is actually shorter than his height which NBA teams look at as a detriment. Leave his defense aside, you’re looking at a guy that could be picked up at the end of the draft and provide scoring off the bench at any time. He’d be what people actually thought TLC or Korkmaz were going to be.
It’s almost a given that the Sixers will be moving some of the picks in this draft, it’s really just a question of where they’ll go and for what? Using one or two of them to get a team to take on Jerryd Bayless contract would be a huge help for the team as they’re looking to make a splash in free agency. Moving up and getting a star player to start for the team this year would be their best bet, but they can make solid picks with their allotment and still help the team. They need to get themselves away from the bad signings like Bayless and Amir Johnson. Let the team continue to develop with all of their young players. We won’t have to wait much longer as the draft is only a few weeks away but, with Bryan Colangelo now out of the picture, we should be able to see the team make quality picks with what they have and look to improve the team for the next season and the seasons beyond when they’d like to be contending for NBA Championships.
Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports