Ranking in tiers who the Sixers should target in the draft

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 10 SEC Tournament – Missouri v LSU
TAMPA, FL – MARCH 10: LSU Tigers forward Tari Eason (13) stars a laugh with an official during the SEC Tournament between the Missouri Tigers and the LSU Tigers on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire)

The 2022 NBA Draft is now right around the corner, with teams continuing to search for their missing pieces. The Philadelphia 76ers have joined this process after officially gaining the 23rd overall pick via the Nets, electing to take next year’s first-rounder instead. Given the salary cap limitations, the Sixers are currently under, hitting on a cost-controlled rookie who can make an impact and help the Sixers a great deal. Here are some names to watch with the draft rapidly approaching.

Tier 1 | Trade up

These are players that will likely be off the board, but the Sixers should have no hesitancy taken if they fall. Philly has had great success with this tactic during the Daryl Morey era. Both Tyrese Maxey and Jaden Springer were expected to be off the board prior to the Sixers pick, but this did not end up being the case. While it seems simple to sit back and select the best player on the board, this is not always the case. Here are a few guys to watch as potential fallers in this draft.

Tari Eason | Forward | LSU

A popular name on Sixers Twitter, Tari Eason is a versatile forward who wreaks havoc on the perimeter. He is an explosive athlete with impressive defensive instincts and excellent transition play. Eason averaged 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game this year. He made a massive leap in his shooting ability this season, improving from 24.1% his first year in college to 35.9% on three-point attempts this season.

The 6’8” forward was also the first college player to post a season with an over 6% block rate and 4% steal rate since Matisse Thybulle in 2019. Tari Eason needs to improve his left hand, cut back on fouling, and polish his overall offensive game but he would be a slam dunk pick if he falls to 23.

Ousmane Dieng | Forward | New Zealand Breakers

The 19-year-old has a polished playstyle and is an incredibly smooth athlete. He had an extremely slow start to the season before catching fire late. Standing 6’9” with an over 7-foot wingspan, Dieng has good defensive ability and can recover at an impressive rate. He is a better passer than the numbers indicate and oftentimes manipulates the defense with his eyes and fakes.

Dieng must continue to develop as a shooter and must put on weight at the next level. At times the Frenchman had the proper defensive technique and was in the right spot but was simply overpowered due to his narrow frame. Regardless, he has terrific defensive instincts and has a bright NBA future.

Tier 2 | Stand Pat

There are many candidates who fit the Sixers’ needs in the 23rd pick range. While there are some more in-depth breakdowns of guys like Wendell Moore, Jake Laravia, and several more prospects, this is what I believe should be the top three targets for the Sixers.

EJ Liddell | PF/C | Ohio State

A three-year impact player at Ohio State, EJ Liddell averaged 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.6 blocks per game this season. Liddell is a surefire impact role player who can defend multiple possessions and connected on 37.4% on three-point attempts this season. Built from the PJ Tucker or Grant Williams mold, Liddell likely projects as a wing with small-ball five potential. He plays with great energy, is a solid athlete, and has a high floor compared to most NBA prospects.

Jalen Williams | Wing | Santa Clara

An impressive athlete with a ridiculous 7’2” wingspan, Jalen Williams averaged 18 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.2 steals this season. He spent three seasons at Santa Clara and showed improvement each year. He has intriguing potential as a passer and made some impressive reads in the pick and roll.

The growth as a three-point shooter drastically changed his NBA outlook as Williams connected on 39.6% of his three-point attempts this season. He also shot 48.4% off of catch-and-shoot opportunities in the halfcourt. The athleticism and versatility that Williams adds would be a great addition to the Sixers.

MarJon Beauchamp | Wing | G-League Ignite

MarJon Beauchamp had one of the most unique paths to the draft, but this should not change his NBA outlook. The 6’6” wing has a 7-foot wingspan with impressive defensive instincts. The G-League Ignite product is an impressive threat in transition and has terrific defensive potential. The 24.2% rate he connected on three-pointers and 65% free-throw percentage is concerning, but he finds a way to assert himself offensively regardless. Beauchamp averaged 15.1 points per game and looks smooth in his pull-up jumper. He is not a completely polished prospect but will make an impact right away, even still.

Tier 3 | Trade Back

With the Sixers lacking assets and such a wide disparity for the talent in the draft, it would make a lot of sense for Philly to trade back. There are a number of similar prospects in the 23 range that each team likely rates different, and adding an asset while still getting a quality prospect should hold a great deal of appeal to the Sixers. Here are a few prospects who could still make an immediate impact that will be around beyond the 23rd pick.

Dalen Terry | Wing | Arizona

Dalen Terry completely rocks. His averages don’t jump off the page (8.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.2 steals), but his fingerprints were felt on just about every Arizona game. Terry was overshadowed at Arizona by Bennedict Mathurin and Christian Koloko, who will each be off the board before him in this draft, but there is a lot to like about his game as well.

The 6’6” wing shot 36.4% from three, was a vocal leader who helped run the offense at Arizona, and is an in-your-face defender. Dalen has no problem picking up a guy full court or slapping the hardwood as he gets into his defensive stance. He flat-out brings it on a nightly basis and would make a major difference in solving the Sixers’ issue of the consistent lack of effort.

Christian Braun | Wing | Kansas

A three-year impact player at Kansas, Christian Braun projects as a solid three-and-D wing at the NBA level. He averaged 14.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.0 steals per game in his final season in college. Braun is an impressive rebounder for his size and connected on 38.6% of his three-point attempts this season. He is a smart basketball player who makes the right reads with the ball in his hands and plays efficiently. The 23rd pick feels a little high for him, but if the Sixers are able to trade down a few picks and walk away with Christian Braun, it should be looked at as a successful draft.

Jake LaRavia | Wing | Wake Forest

Jake LaRavia transferred from Indiana State to Wake Forest this year and greatly impressed. He averaged 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game this year. The 6’8” forward is a crafty player who shoots it fairly well from deep. The lack of athleticism is concerning, but he has decent size and always finds himself in the right spot. It would feel a reach to walk away with him at the 23rd pick; however, it would not be entirely surprising if another team takes him in this range.

Wendell Moore | Wing | Duke

The career trajectory of Wendell Moore has not gone quite according to plan. After being ranked as the Number 22 prospect coming out of high school in the 2017 Class (Tyrese Maxey’s Class), Moore has struggled to find his footing at Duke. He has struggled to stand out among the rest of the talent at Duke and spent the past three seasons with the program.

Moore had his most impressive season this year and averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. The 6’5” wing improved his three-point percentage by roughly 10% each year, starting at 21.1% as a freshman and increasing all the way up to 41.3% this season. While some teams may believe there is still untapped potential, I am not as confident this is the case. Even so, he projects as a solid role player and has a game that will translate better in the NBA. Moore has been looked at as a faller in the draft as it inches closer, and moving down to the early second round to grab him would be a solid move.

While the Sixers do not have a top pick in the draft, there are a lot of solid options for their needs around the 23rd pick. This draft class is considered to be a little light on talent overall; however, there are a number of athletic wings similar to who the Sixers should be in search of. Daryl Morey has been successful in the draft with the Sixers so far, and expect him to do the same this year.