76ers draft: Five players who should be on Philadelphia’s big board

Philadelphia 76ers’ Daryl Morey speaks during a news conference at the team’s NBA basketball practice facility, Friday, May 13, 2022, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

With the NBA Playoffs heading towards the Finals and the conclusion of the season, the offseason is near. With two teams still remaining, the rest of the NBA has started their offseason, including the Philadelphia 76ers. After being eliminated by the Miami Heat, the 76ers have many questions that they have to answer during this offseason, including remaking the roster to a more competitive one. 

The first way to help make changes to the roster would be during the upcoming NBA Draft in June. The 76ers included their 2022 first-round draft pick in the James Harden/Ben Simmons trade but also gave the Brooklyn Nets the option to defer the pick to 2023. With all signs pointing to the Nets deferring their rights to the 76ers’ first-round pick until next year, Philadelphia will suddenly have another route to upgrade their roster.

Who knows if the Sixers will actually use it to draft a player or package it to bring in another player. If the Philadelphia 76ers do intend to use the 23rd pick in the draft, there are few players that could help the team in the short term and long term. Here are the top five players the 76ers should be considering on their draft board:

EJ Liddell | 6’7 PF | Ohio State

Comparisons: Grant Williams, a little bit of Tobias Harris, Paul Millsap

EJ Liddell is one of Sixers’ twitter’s favorite prospects, and for good reason. Liddell is a player who has improved each of his three seasons at Ohio State. Liddell is very strong and a good rim protector. He has a knack for altering shots at the rim when playing center and getting help-side blocks. He has some switchability and is a good rebounder, and those are some qualities the 76ers should be looking for

Offensively, Liddell has a good mix of offensive moves he can go to that can translate to the next level. He can post up against mismatches and bigger players due to his strength, finishing through contact. He also is a good passer and doesn’t hesitate to pass when he receives a double team. He is a solid three-point shooter, shooting 37 percent on almost four attempts a game. He was used a lot in the pick and pop game, which afforded him a good amount of looks from the top of the key.

He does have some things he needs to work on when he gets into the NBA to maximize his effectiveness. Liddell needs to work on lateral quickness as small, fast guards will likely blow past him at the NBA level even though he has the ability to switch. He has a tendency to leave his man and commit to the help block. With great passers in the NBA like Luka Doncic, they will make him pay for committing too early. Liddell also has moments when he falls in love with the contested mid-range game, which is not one of his strengths currently.

If Liddell can work on his lateral quickness and become a good volume three-point shooter from the corners, he could really help the 76ers out.

MarJon Beauchamp | 6’6 Wing | G-League Ignite

Comparisons: Herb Jones, a little bit of Jerami Grant, early Robert Covington

MarJon Beauchamp is a 6’6 Wing who has been making some good impressions throughout his pre draft process. He has also been quoted saying that he has met with the Sixers during the Draft Combine in Chicago. Beauchamp is a player that has some good upside if he can lock in and improve his offensive game. If the 76ers were to trade Matisse Thybulle, Beauchamp could fill right into Thybulle’s role as one of the team’s top perimeter defenders.

The Ignite standout is super athletic and a standout defender. He can guard 1-4 and can disrupt a lot of things on defense. He stands at 6’6 but has a 7’0 wingspan, which allows him to effectively contest jump shots and disrupt jump shooters. He has a knack for getting blocks when players attempt stepback jumpers due to his length.

He can currently help a team offensively by continuing to be a good cutter and knowing when to cut. He plays above the rim and could really bring juice to the transition game for a team like the 76ers. He does have a little midrange game and some ball-handling ability, but his overall shooting needs work. His mechanics aren’t the best, and that leads to inconsistency in his shooting. His shot seems flat, and teams sag off of him because of that. If he works with a normal NBA shooting coach, he can carve out a role on any NBA team, including the Philadelphia 76ers, right away.

Wendell Moore Jr. | 6’5 SF | Duke

Comparisons: Josh Hart, a little Eric Gordon, a little Scottie Barnes

Wendell Moore Jr. is a combo guard/forward who improved each year he was at Duke. He is a versatile player with a good all-around game and gives good effort on both ends of the court. He played many roles for his team at Duke, and that experience will help his transition to the NBA.

Moore Jr. is versatile on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he has a high IQ and shows signs of being a really good playmaker. He can handle the ball and play in the pick and roll game. When he is off the ball, he really loves making the extra pass to the open man creating good ball movement on the perimeter. In the NBA, he can be a secondary or tertiary ball handler. He has also improved his catch and shoot percentage and can hit the pull-up mid-range if he is chased off the line.

Defensively, he is a smart defender and gets a lot of Matisse Thybulle-like steals. He can cause some issues when attacking dribble handoffs or blitzing pick and rolls that he is defending. He can also play in a switching system and attempts to hold his own against bigger and stronger 4’s.

As good of an all-around player, as he is, there are still some things he needs to improve on at the NBA level. Moore Jr. is not the best finisher when being challenged at the rim. He needs to improve his finishing because he won’t get a lot of wide-open layups at the rim in the NBA. He could add a floater or some crafty moves at the rim, which would make him much more efficient when attacking. He tends to fall out of his shooting mechanics when pump faking and shooting the side step three. That makes his shooting look more inconsistent, so improving shooting off the dribble could definitely help his ability to score at the next level.

Moore Jr. is definitely a player that could help the 76ers in the short and long term. He can really compete on defense, and he can help on offense by being able to not only create for others but create for himself as well. This team lacked a lot of playmaking last season, and adding Moore Jr. to the fold could inject some much-needed playmaking juice outside of James Harden into this 76ers team.

Kendall Brown | 6’7 SF | Baylor

Comparison: Jalen Johnson

Kendall Brown is a super athletic wing with a ton of explosiveness and can jump out of the gym. He is an above-the-rim finisher and can finish with contact as well. He is a good cutter and takes advantage when teams fall asleep ball watching on the perimeter or in the corner. Brown is a great transition player and can finish with the best of them. 

When engaged, Brown can be a good versatile defender in the NBA. He can guard 1-4, and his quick twitch ability allows him to be able to time blocks well.

In order for Brown to take the next step of his development, he needs to improve offensively. He is a reluctant three-point shooter and only shoots when he is wide open. He shot 34 percent on one attempt a game, so many opponents had their centers guard him knowing they could roam the paint. Brown can also lose focus and can be susceptible to back cuts because of ball watching. 

If the 76ers drafted him, his best role would be similar to Bruce Brown. He would be best suited by setting screens and being the roll guy on pick and rolls. His athleticism could help him catch lobs or finish at the rim against bigger defenders.

Jake Laravia | 6’8 PF | Wake Forest

Comparisons: Joe Ingles with a mix of Kyle Anderson

Jake Laravia is a 6’8 do-it-all forward who made a major jump from his sophomore to junior year at Wake Forest. Laravia can be found on draft boards from anywhere in the late first round to early second round as a prospect. His skill set makes him an asset to teams that will give him a chance to carve out a role on their team.

Scouts have raved about Laravia’s “feel for the game.” He is a skilled player and has a good all-around game. He is a knockdown shooter that can space the floor out deep. He shot 38 percent from three and was money in the corners, although he didn’t shoot a high volume amount of threes. He can attack closeouts with crafty fakes and finishes. He can also handle the ball and operate out of the pick and roll, making good passes off the drive. He has a feel for when to cut or vacate an area when teammates are Iso-ing. He competes hard and does the small things to make up for his lack of athleticism.

Laravia does have some things that need to improve in his game. He isn’t super athletic, and his lateral quickness isn’t the best. If he is switched on to smaller, faster guards, they will likely get right by him. With some strength and conditioning work, he can improve his lateral quickness so he won’t be that much of a liability defensively. He needs to work on shooting off the bounce, as most of his makes come from set shooting. He also needs to work on creating more space on the drive to help with finishing and decision-making at the rim. 

He may not be the prototypical player the 76ers may be looking for right now (3-D wings), but he would be helpful on this team. You can never have enough players that can shoot, drive, and dish with high IQ, and the Philadelphia 76ers seem to lack many of those types of players on their current roster. 

Who should the Philadelphia 76ers select?

The Philadelphia 76ers have many options if they truly pick at 23. There are some players that could help short-term and long-term, but ultimately, the Sixers have to make the right pick. The 76ers’ front office has hit on several picks in a row drafting Matisse Thybulle, Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe, Paul Reed, and Jaden Springer, who some thought would be a lottery pick. Let’s hope the trend continues.