The Sixers’ Need For Shooters
If you were to poll any assortment of Sixers’ fans about the Sixers’ needs the most common answer would, shooting. When your two best players are a Center and a non-shooting “basketball player” you need to surround them with as much shooting as possible.
The Sixers have an opportunity to do just that this draft with five picks between the first and second rounds.
While many are quick to point out that this is a weak draft (in terms of star potential), the draft is quite deep, a great year to have four second-round picks.
The Sixers can total transform their roster in one year if they target the right players, players like:
Sixers Mock Draft 3.0
21. (via OKC): Desmond Bane, SG, TCU
Pure unadulterated shooting. Bane shot a fiery 44.2% from three for the Horned Frogs showing off “in the gym range”. That percentage, by the way, comes off of 6.5 attempts per game and 11 per 100 possesions. Many of those three come off of catch and shoot opportunities as well, a trait that the Sixers should covet highly.
To call Bane a catch-and-shoot specialist though would be an insult. He is a catch-and-shoot maestro and so much more. Bane led TCU in points, assists, and steals in addition to three-point shooting.
The scoring comes as no surprise considering Bane’s shooting numbers but the passing game is a pleasant surprise. Bane’s assist percentage ballooned to 26%, nearly twice the size of last year’s number.
Bane is a serviceable defender, deadly shooter, and has a chance to transcend expectations similar to Malcolm Brogdon.
34. (via ATL): Grant Riller, G, Charleston
Another player who would fit the Sixers like a glove; Grant Riller could provide a level of play at combo-guard not seen in Philly since Lou Williams.
I had the chance to speak with Riller about, among other topics, his play style and the mutual interest between himself and the Sixers.
Riller’s ability to score at all three levels along with his ball-handling ability help him bear slight similarities to Shake Milton. While Riller lacks Milton’s size, he is far more polished and would take over Milton’s Point Guard duties.
His shooting numbers are quite on Bane’s level (36.2) but they’re nothing to thumb your nose at. Additionally, Riller told me that one of his points of focus over the past three months was to improve his jump-shot mechanics.
Riller was already projected to be a solid three-point-shooter at the NBA level (36.4% per Tankathon); If his new mechanics are truly improvements, then Riller could transform into a sniper.
36. (via NYK): Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
While big men are becoming better and better shooters, few can even be qualified as good at this point in time. In fact, last season there were only five Centers who shot above 35% from three (per Basketball-Reference). Daniel Oturu can join that list one day.
The sophomore from Minnesota shot an impressive 36.5% from deep last season albeit on less than two shots per game but it’s something to build on.
Oturu is projected to shoot a little over 33% from three in the NBA (per Tankathon) but it’s easy to see him surpassing that number.
Drafting Oturu not only adds shooting but solidifies the back-up Center position for the Sixers. He is more than a shooter, he is solid in most areas a Center should be. Rebounding, shot-blocking, and efficiency, Oturu is a well-rounded prospect who likely won’t become a star but can be a great role player for years to come.
49: Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas
In the bottom half of the second round, teams start looking for draft-and-stash options. That could come in the form of drafting a player committed to an overseas team or signing that drafted player to a “two-way” contract.
The Sixers have had success with the “two-way” contract recently. Names like Shake Milton, Marial Shayok, and Novelle Pelle come to mind. Isaiah Joe could be the next success story for the Sixers.
At this point, he doesn’t provide much more than shooting but the potential is there. even if he never becomes much more than that, a high-volume three-point shooter is a need for the Sixers.
Joe’s ceiling could be as high as Tim Hardaway Jr. with a floor of a less athletic Ben McLemore. He’s begun to rise in recent mocks; he may not be an option at 49, but if he falls, or if the Sixers trade up, the team could have a sharpshooter on their hands.
58: Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
It’s not often that an NBA team with five draft picks uses all five. If the Sixers were to do so, or at least keep the 58th pick, Lamar Stevens would be a great selection.
A local prospect, Stevens bleeds Philly as I discussed with him not too long ago. He’s a bit of a tweener but in the modern NBA, that could now be an advantage.
Stevens loves using his quickness to run past Power Forwards and his strength to bully Small Forwards.
A defense-focused player, Stevens lacks a three-point shot but he’s self-aware; in fact, he’s been working on his shot non-stop since his season ended. If Stevens can find some semblance of a consistent shot, he could be a quality NBA player for years to come.
The Sixers Need To Strike Now
We are no longer living in the Sam Hinkie era; the franchise has shown a disinterest in valuing second-round picks but that cannot be the case in this draft.
The depth, specifically the shooting depth, is too rich to pass up. It’s up to Elton Brand and company to realize that and strike while they can.
While this draft likely won’t magically solve their problems, it can be a step in the right direction.
Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire