With the Sixers adding former Rockets exec Daryl Morey as their new head of basketball operations, fans should get ready for the team either dealing picks for established players or drafting any type of forward. Morey loves selecting them. With that in mind, here are 5 small forward prospects the Sixers should target in this year’s draft.
Aaron Nesmith – Vanderbilt
What do the Sixers lack the most on their roster? Shooters. What’s Aaron Nesmith good at? Shooting threes. Nesmith is by far the best pure shooter in this draft class. He’s absolutely phenomenal from deep. His shot mechanics are smooth, precise, and fast once he’s set his feet, and Nesmith would make an instant impact on an NBA team with his scoring efficiency.
You can clearly tell Nesmith has studied the best shooters in the NBA and added their weapons to his arsenal. He’s added a lethal step-back jumper and also learning to add more fakes, and little foot movements to open shots up for him. Nesmith has decent size for the position, standing at 6’6 213 lbs, and while his footwork isn’t the fastest, his length and active hands are great for his defensive game.
A 6’10 wingspan gives him great length that allows him to be a solid finisher at the rim but he does have some flaws. He struggles with passing the ball effectively and he’s not the most fluid of athletes, especially with things like hip movement and body control when he’s driving to the basket.
While it’s very unlikely Nesmith drops to 21, the Sixers should have at least done their homework on the Vanderbilt prospect and noticed that he’d instantly fix a lot of their issues.
Jaden McDaniels – Washington
Jaden McDaniels is the perfect modern-day forward and the Sixers have a real shot at snagging him with the 21st overall pick. McDaniels stands at 6’10, 200 lbs, and has a 7’0 wingspan that allows him to play really good defense against multiple positions on the court.
The Washington prospect is only 20-years-old, so his game is still incredibly raw and he will need a couple of years to perfect the specifics of his game for the next level, but Tobias Harris would be a great teacher for Jaden, who probably has one of the highest ceilings in the draft this year.
Jaden wasn’t known in high school for being a prolific scorer, however, in his freshman year in Washington, he showed great improvement all over the court and his draft stock definitely rose as a result. He still has a 3 point shot to work on and develop, having shot only 33% last season, but has a lot of time on his side.
His physical profile makes him the perfect candidate on defense, and it also gives him a great edge when driving to the basket. Like I said before, Jaden is far from the completed article but he has every fundamental going for him and within the next two years, he could be the next big thing in the NBA.
Elijah Hughes – Syracuse
Now some college basketball purists may hate me for putting Elijah as a small forward as he’s mainly thought of as a shooting guard prospect, but I think he has the game to play small forward even if he is only 6’6. Versatility is huge in the NBA and will only help him once he gets there.
Elijah is a phenomenal athlete with elite speed and explosiveness and is a fantastic finisher at the rim. His ball-handling skills are impressive and he’s a guy you want on the ball and driving at a defense, especially with his fakes and stop-start moves to get past opponents with ease.
His shooting form and mechanics are pretty smooth and he’s a great finisher at the rim who can score pretty consistently and quickly within the arc. His 3-point shot did drop off last season down to 34%, but he was heavily pressured by the system to be a 3-point shooter. He has a good enough shot from outside to arc to make defenders think about it. Elijah is a fantastic passer of the ball and his court vision is up there with the best which just elevates everyone around him.
However, the Syracuse star can get a little too confident and end up forcing bad shots, passes, or bad decisions. He also wasn’t asked to be a technical defender, mainly just a bully type with his 6’10 wingspan, which worked for blocks and rebounds, but opponents can run rings around him if they’re elite dribblers.
Jordan Nwora – Louisville
Jordan Nwora may be one of my favorite prospects in this draft class. No one really knows where he’s going to go in the draft, however, the Sixers should definitely be looking at him. The 6’7, 220 lbs prospect out of Louisville is a strong scorer who seems to just effortlessly put up points for his team at all three levels. He was mainly a catch-and-shoot threat for Louisville and you can see why with a high and quick release that allows him to be clinical anywhere on the court.
When watching him play, you can clearly see he has an extremely high IQ and understanding of roles across the court. Nwora can drive to the rim really easily and he doesn’t care what route he has to take, he’ll most likely execute it perfectly. Defensively, he’s great off the ball and knows when to help out teammates with assignments. He’s also great as a rebounder, averaging 7.6 rebounds per game for Louisville, and can get up and block for his team too.
On the negative side of his game, he’s not the greatest athlete and he will struggle to defend faster and stronger players he’s matched up against. Another thing is his 3 point shot isn’t quite there yet and Louisville were still experimenting with him in both forward positions, but this could lead to him being in a Tobias Harris situation.
If Nwora falls to the middle of the 2nd and the Sixers can get him, you absolutely do so.
Josh Hall – Moravian Prep
For my final small forward prospect, I went with a guy who you can rely on as a shooter. Hall shines as a defensive small forward who knows how to get easy blocks and steals in every game he plays, along with making strong offensive contributions.
Hall is also a decent ball-handler and while he can definitely grow into a lot of potential, he has enough ability right now to get past opponents. Hall will be a guy who NBA teams will happily take a chance on in the late 2nd round as his main skills are 3 point shooting and defending. Hall is strictly a project player, something the Sixers would benefit from with Tobias Harris on the team and whilst you’d have to wait to see if he was
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