Sixers Only 2020 Mock Draft 1.0: A first-round steal

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The NBA still has yet to decide whether or not the season will continue or be canceled. The decision should hopefully be made over the next month or two but either way, there will be a draft, it’s just a matter of when.

The Sixers boast a bevy of picks at the moment and General Manager Elton Brand hinted that the team will try and keep as many as possible.

Now the Sixers may not have a flashy lottery pick but they do thankfully own a miracle first-round pick. Why is it a miracle you ask? Well, the Sixers received the pick in the Markelle Fultz trade; that pick was protected from picks 1-20 and would turn into two-second rounds picks if it didn’t convey this year; the pick also originally belonged to the OKC Thunder who had traded away both Paul George and Russell Westbrook before the start of the season. The Thunder were supposed to struggle and it seemed Fultz would only net the Sixers two second-round picks.

Thanks to this miracle, the Sixers have a total of five picks in this year’s draft which will be needed as the team should look to add as much depth as possible.


22. (via Oklahoma City): Aaron Nesmith, F, Vanderbuilt

Though his season was cut short, Aaron Nesmith put on a showing in his sophomore season with Vanderbilt. As pure a scorer as they come, Nesmith has an innate ability to find the bottom of the net. Averaging 23 points per game, when Vanderbilt needed a bucket, Nesmith delivered.

As prolific as he is offensively, Nesmith’s nowhere near as impressive defensively but that shouldn’t scare the Sixers away. There are few shooters like Nesmith in this draft and the Sixers are desperate for shooting. With a 3pt% of .522 last season, Nesmith showed the potential to become a top shooter in the entire league. If he can stay healthy and maintain his shooting stroke, Nesmith will be one of the steals of the draft.


34. (via Atlanta): Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota

The Sixers need a backup center, someone who can hold down the fort when Embiid is unable to be on the court. In steps Daniel Oturu. A versatile big man, Oturu would provide the inside-out threat that’s needed from a modern-day center. He likely wouldn’t be able to step in and replace Embiid but after taking the year to learn, he could be the Sixers’ backup for years to come.

Oturu is a big presence at 6’10” and 240 lbs with a 7’2″ wingspan. His size matches up well with his potential to man the paint defensively and also allows him to command attention on offense. The interim answer at backup center is likely in the free agent or trade markets but for the long-term, Oturu would be a fantastic addition.


36. (via NY Knicks): Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville

Shooting is at a premium in the NBA and you can never have enough of it. Like with Aaron Nesmith, the Sixers will look to add another sniper to surround Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Nwora can provide the shooting needed and more. He shot a solid 40.2% from three this past season and did so attempting six threes per game. That volume shows that his shooting isn’t just a flash in the pan. Nwora is also a terrific rebounder averaging 7.7, he’s more than a one-dimensional player.

Nwora has enough strength and speed to play both forward positions giving the Sixers a versatile piece. He’s better served as a small forward but Nwora can switch and adapt according to the team’s needs. He’s not the youngest target for the Sixers but his experience should prove valuable as it has given an opportunity to work on his shooting, rebounding, and defense. Nwora fits the mold of the ever sought after 3-and-D player and could fill a role immediately but also for years to come.


49. Markus Howard, PG, Marquette

Every year there are one or two guards that fit the same archetype, seasoned guards who can score at will and push their teams to their limits in the tournament. Markus Howard is the latest player to fit this mold. An electric player, Howard, through sheer force of will, was one of the most exciting scorers in the entire nation. His ability to create separation off the dribble mixed with his shooting prowess makes Howard a dangerous opponent.

Howard is lacking though as a defender and in terms of size. He’s not tall nor fast, nor quick and his wingspan is not incredibly impressive either. He’ll never be confused for Gary Payton but that’s not the point. Players like Howard are worth taking a risk on because when they work out, it’s magnificent (Devonte Graham, Fred VanVleet, Monte Morris) and if they don’t (Frank Mason III, Russ Smith) there’s no real loss. Low risk, high reward.


59. (via LA Lakers): Borisa Simanic, F, Serbia

It’s rare for any team, let alone a contender, to sign every player they draft to their roster especially when they have five picks. With the addition of the “two-way” contract, teams will sometimes sign one or two of their picks to two-way deals, sometimes they won’t sign altogether and the players become free agents, and then there’s the old “draft-and-stash”. When teams “draft-and-stash” a player, it’s a way of using their draft pick without having to use one of their roster spots. This process is almost exclusively done with international players as they continue to play in international basketball leagues until they come to the NBA.

During the process, the Sixers were believers in this tactic as it allowed them to draft talented players without them impacting the teams’ goal of tanking (Dario Saric). While it isn’t likely that Simanic makes the impact Saric had in Philadelphia, he could still be an intriguing player for this team.

Simanic is a lights-out shooter (albeit in limited action), with time to develop he could become a nice field-stretching addition to the Sixers’ roster. He’s a bit older (22) but he could follow a similar path to fellow Serbian Nemanja Bjelica who joined the league at 27 years of age and is now a sharpshooter that the Sixers attempted to sign two seasons ago.


Draft Season?

The league may not know if and when the NBA season will continue but whenever the draft takes place, the Sixers must be prepared. General Manager Elton Brand did well last year adding Matisse Thybulle and Marial Shayok but Elton passed up on the opportunity to add much-needed depth by trading away the rest of the team’s picks.

This draft has been known to be light on stars (which I don’t believe) but it’s also known to be somewhat deep. Hopefully this time around, Brand looks to take advantage of the depth.

Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

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