With the Sixers likely in the market for a new guard, this deep draft class is a great place to look. Here are 5 names to keep an eye on.
Despite having a successful regular season this year, the postseason failure makes it clear that there is a need for change on the Sixers roster. With Ben Simmons rumors continuing to swirl and the roster still being up in the air, this draft puts the Sixers at a crossroads. It is quite possible that the franchise will look to begin a new era in the backcourt, and this year’s draft is a great place to start. The draft class this year is fairly deep at guard, and here are five potential targets for the Sixers:
Tre Mann – Florida
The Florida combo guard stands 6’5 and has played two seasons in college. After not being able to earn major minutes his freshman year, Mann made the jump this season and averaged 16 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.4 steals. He is a score-first guard who uses his shiftiness to create his own shot. Tre Mann has NBA-ready range and has the potential to be an impactful off-the-bench scorer with the hopes he can develop into more.
While he lacks the explosiveness that one would hope for with his style of play, Mann is a solid passer and has flashed good IQ in the pick and roll. A recent growth spurt increased his NBA hopes, and his compact release should translate to the bigger stage. With a playstyle showing the influence of Kemba Walker, Mann would be a solid pick for the Sixers if he is on the board at 28.
Sharife Cooper – Auburn
At 6’0 tall and 190 pounds, Sharife Cooper was the engine that made the Auburn offense run last season. Averaging 20.2 points and 8.1 assists, Cooper proved to have an advanced read of the game and an eye for setting up the corner three. The 20-year-old is one of the best passers in the draft and is constantly looking one pass ahead. He is electric in transition and also would be extremely successful if paired with a lob threat.
There are concerns with his shooting ability as the Georgia native shot just 39.1% from the field and 22.8% from beyond the arc. There are some mechanical concerns with his shot as he often is caught leaning back, and his release needs to be sped up. Cooper showed enough flashes to believe the potential is there, but this improvement is necessary for his impact to be seen on the pro level.
One area where Cooper impressed greatly was his ability to attack the basket. Using his elite speed and quickness along with his joystick-like handle, Cooper attacks the basket extremely well. He had no fear when taking on bigger players at the rim and averaged 8.6 free-throw attempts this year. Connecting on 82.5% of his free throws helped the guard add to his stats and served as a reliable part of the Auburn offense. Even though he is slightly undersized, his scrappiness, lateral quickness, and passing ability make him worth taking a chance on.
Jared Butler – Baylor
If not for some medical concerns regarding a heart condition, Jared Bulter would likely be locked in as a top 15 pick. While this was an issue that Butler was aware of in college, and he has officially been cleared for NBA competition, reports seem to indicate that he has slipped down on some draft boards.
Even alongside the star-studded Baylor roster, Jared Butler asserted himself as a go-to scorer. The junior combo guard had 12 games with 20+ points this season and showed progression each season. He is a talented shot-creator who flashes potential as a movement shooter as he scored 1.11 points per possession off screens this year. His compact, quick shot should translate to the NBA immediately, as he shot 42.6% from beyond the arc.
While he was not relied upon for this role at Baylor, Butler projects as being able to be the primary ball-handler in an offense. He is also a high IQ defender and should be looked at as one of the safer prospects in the draft. Jared Butler is also extremely intelligent off the court and graduated from Baylor this spring with a business management degree- despite only being there for three years. The signs of a potential draft slide could all be smoke, and Butler may be gone far before the Sixers pick. But if he finds a way to slip to 28, this would likely be another guy who greatly outplays his draft slot.
Miles “Deuce” McBride – West Virginia
While most rookies often have growing pains that are best served in a low-pressure environment, Miles McBride may be best suited to play on a contender. He has an NBA-ready defense right now that is led by his impressive effort on this side of the ball. The 6’2 guard is willing to pick up full court and has no fear of matching up with the team’s best perimeter player. His 6’9 wingspan allows him to make up for some of his lack of size, and his fearless demeanor makes the WVU guard worth taking a chance on.
Offensively McBride is no slouch either. After primarily coming off the bench his freshman year, Deuce took a leap this season and was West Virginia’s leading scorer. Averaging 15.9 points, 4.8 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.9 steals, McBride is an impressive isolation scorer who flashes pick and roll potential. McBride scored 1.34 points per possession on catch and shoot stations this season which also is intriguing regarding his off-ball potential. The 20-year-old has a similar style of play to Jalen Brunson, with some influence of Avery Bradley in his game.
Ayo Dosunma – Illinois
While he may end up as more of a combo guard, Ayo Dosunma would be an interesting addition to the Sixers. Standing 6’5, Ayo is a quick-twitch athlete who can go coast to coast with ease. He has a mature feel for the game and has no fear for the big moment. As a three-year starter at Illinois, the 21-year old has an impressive array of finishes and is fearless when attacking the basket.
Dosunma has some developing to do as a passer but is not a selfish player by any means. He will likely always be a guy whose scoring sets up his passing, and he has a tendency to get caught on his initial look rather than letting the play develop. The toughness and defensive intensity he will bring would be a plus, and a pairing with Tyrese Maxey would make give the Sixers a backcourt with more speed and energy than any other team in the league. If Ayo Dosunma is there at 28, it would be a massive win for the Sixers.