76ers Draft: Five prospects for Philly with the 23rd pick

NCAA tournament
PITTSBURGH, PA – MARCH 20: Ohio State Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell (32) looks on during the men’s March Madness college basketball game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Villanova Wildcats on March 20, 2022 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire)

As the 76ers turn their attention to upgrading the team this offseason, the draft is one key piece of the puzzle. It is uncertain if Philadelphia will have a first-round pick as the Brooklyn Nets have an opportunity to take possession of it thanks to the Ben Simmons/James Harden trade. The Nets can defer the pick to next season, and it appears the franchise is leaning in this direction. If this is the case, the Philadelphia 76ers will hold the 23rd selection, where there is a surprising amount of talent that fits the team’s needs. If they do end up with this pick, here are five names to keep an eye on as the draft gets closer.

EJ Liddell | SF/PF | Ohio State

In this draft, there are many players for the Philadelphia 76ers to choose from, but one who should be near the top is E.J. Liddell. A powerfully built forward who has continually improved his game through his three years at Ohio State, Liddell averaged 19.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 2021-22. He also averaged an impressive 2.6 blocks per game despite his 6’7″ frame. Liddell also increased his three-point percentage each year in school and was a 37.4% three-point shooter from deep this past season.

While he is most comfortable operating out of the post and the mid-range, Liddell has continually expanded his game to the perimeter. He is a versatile defender and projects well as a modern-day power forward.

Modeling his game after guys like PJ Tucker would be the best way to maximize his NBA career. The 21-year-old plays with winning habits and is one of the more NBA-ready prospects in this range. He will be a productive role player for many years to come and a solid selection for the 76ers.

Wendell Moore Jr | Wing | Duke

Another three-year player who has shown some massive growth during his time in college. Wendell Moore was once a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school. He has underperformed during his time at Duke and has been overshadowed by the large amount of talent that has surrounded him. This past season was Moore’s most productive season, as he averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.4 steals. 

The biggest swing skill in his game has been his shooting. The 6’5″ forward shot just 21.1% on three-pointers as a freshman and 30.1% as a sophomore. He showed massive improvement this season and knocked down 41.3% of his three-point attempts. The Duke product has the makings of a lock-down defender and also excels in transition. Wendell Moore Jr is far from a finished product, but his upside is worth a gamble, and there is a place for him in the NBA, perhaps with the 76ers.

MarJon Beauchamp | Wing | G-League Ignite

Formerly a JUCO standout, MarJon Beauchamp has had a difficult path to the NBA. At 6’6″ with an over 7-foot wingspan paired with impressive defensive instincts, Beauchamp is a stellar combination of height and length for an NBA wing. He has an impressive frame and an active motor as well, which help him excel in transition. Beauchamp is a solid rebounder and can make the right passes with the ball in his hands. On top of all of this, Beauchamp is also an impressive cutter, something James Harden will certainly take advantage of.

The biggest red flag with the G-League Ignite is his shooting ability. Despite averaging 15.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.6 steals per game, Beauchamp shot just 24.2% on three-point attempts in the G-League Showcase. He also shot just 65% on free throws, which is oftentimes an indicator of shooting potential. While some may fear the 76ers are adding another Matisse Thybulle, Beauchamp is already more polished offensively. He may not ever be a knock-down shooter, but there is much more appeal in what he brings on the offensive side of the ball already.

Jalen Williams | SG/SF | Santa Clara

A high-level athlete with awesome length and an enticing skillset. Williams stands 6’6″ with a 7’2″ wingspan. He seems to have a bigger following among NBA circles than the general public, likely due to playing his college ball at Santa Clara. While there are questions about the level of talent he matched up with, Williams added layers to his game all three seasons in college. This past season he averaged 18 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.2 steals. 

The largest reason for his increase in NBA attention has been his improved three-point shooting. After shooting 27.4% on three-pointers as a sophomore, Williams connected on 39.6% of long-range shots this season. The swingman is a capable isolation scorer with a deceptive first step. He has a nice balance of scoring ability and court vision. Jalen Williams will need to adapt to being less ball-dominant at the NBA level, but he has a skill set that projects well. A skill set that the 76ers could certainly use.

Kendall Brown | Wing | Baylor

The sole one-and-down prospect of this group, Kendall Brown, is likely to go off the board before the Philadelphia 76ers’ selection but has seen his stock drop slightly. The Baylor product averaged 9.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.0 steal this past season. He is a hard-nosed player with high-level defensive potential. Brown stands 6’8″ with impressive athleticism and great energy. He is a terror in transition and plays with a motor that would be a breath of fresh air on the 76ers. Brown is a high-flyer who can catch lobs easily and is a great cutter off the ball. 

The offensive concerns are likely the cause of the potential draft slip for Kendall Brown. He lacks in shot creation and needs to improve his overall handle. His 34.1% three-point percentage is solid, but he attempted just 1.2 long-range shots per game. The 19-year-old was criticized for his lack of assertiveness offensively, but he projects well as a complimentary piece.

While most of the big-name talent will be off the board at the 23rd selection, there are plenty of intriguing prospects that would benefit the 76ers greatly. Keep an eye on these five names and for more clarity if the Philadelphia 76ers will officially keep the pick as the June 1st deadline approaches.