The Philadelphia 76ers are nearly two weeks away from making the 23rd overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. There’s no telling what may happen as the team could also trade the pick — only after the selection is made — so they may actually draft higher or lower (or admittedly not at all). With the big night only a few weeks away, it’s time to look at some of the players who the 76ers could draft, starting with the next OG Anunoby.
One of many lessons learned over this most recent postseason run is that Philadelphia is lacking the type of depth that makes a team true contenders. The 76ers could stand an upgrade at various backup spots from the point to the wing, and once again, star Joel Embiid is in need of a serviceable backup. That’s not where the needs end, though, as the team’s starting small forward position looks to be as open as they come at the moment. While the chances of a rookie starting for a hopeful contender are slim to none if the Sixers can draft a player who can grow into that role sooner than later, that’s the obvious move.
Who’s capable of this, though? At least who will be within a realistic distance from 23? Admittedly there are a few players much to the luck of the Sixers, but one stands above in this case, the player who has the chance to be the next OG Anunoby.
- Matisse Thybulle
- 2022 first-round pick (23rd overall)
- 2022 first-round pick (15th overall)
- 2022 second-round pick (45th overall)
- 2023 & 2024 second-round picks (via BOS)
As stated earlier, the 76ers have the ability to trade up in the draft; they just have to wait until after the pick is made and the deal can become finalized on the first day of the new league year (July 1st). That’s precisely what they look to do in this case with the Charlotte Hornets, who are looking to improve as a defensive team. Trading for two-time second-team defender Matisse Thybulle is a solid first step in that journey. The Hornets gain the defensive savant for the slim price of moving down eight spots and three additional second-rounders that the team, considering their abundance of young players, wouldn’t use in the first place.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, moves all the way up to the 15th pick, adds a second-round selection so they can further bolster their bench with affordable, controllable youth, and adds future assets in the form of two second-round picks. Trading up to 15, in this case, is clear as it allows the team to select their
With the 15th pick the Philadelphia 76ers select: Tari Eason | Forward | LSU
After trading up to 15, the Philadelphia 76ers have their man in Tari Eason. Physically, Eason is as impressive as they come. Standing at 6’8″ with a 7’2″ wingspan, Eason is an imposing presence on both sides of the ball. The LSU product averaged 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game this season. After transferring from Cincinnati between his freshman and sophomore seasons, Eason was able to truly show off what he was capable of.
Long, athletic, with a nose for good hard basketball, Tari Eason boasts the prototypical player profile the Philadelphia 76ers need. His versatility is perhaps his most endearing trait, as he can do just about everything. Eason is a plus defender, a ferocious rebounder, a thrill in transition, and a capable shooter on top of it all. Perhaps one of the biggest selling points is simply that the 76ers don’t have a player like Eason, and that became painfully clear during the playoffs.
Eason’s jump shot is admittedly shaky, he’ll need to work on his shot mechanics, but the bones of progress are there — improving from 24.1% to 35.9% from deep. While it’s hard to imagine the 76ers current coaching staff giving starters minutes to a rookie, Eason may be able to force their hand and earn those minutes sooner rather than later, a la Tyrese Maxey.
With the 45th pick Philadelphia selects: Alondes Williams | Guard | Wake Forest
After their deal with the Charlotte Hornets, the Philadelphia 76ers now have a selection in the second round. With this pick, the target is Wake Forest guard Alondes Williams. The leader of the Demon Deacons averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists last season as he willed his way into the draft conversation.
This past season, Alondes Williams made a name for himself as a scorer, yes, but also for his flashy passing ability. Williams’ 5.8 assists per game led the ACC in 2022. This is a significant step up from his time in Oklahoma during his freshman and sophomore seasons, where he averaged 0.6 and 1.3 assists per game, respectively.
In Williams, the Philadelphia 76ers would have an heir apparent for Shake Milton assuming the team picks up his $1.9M option — which is almost certain. Williams would be able to study behind James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Milton and work on the parts of his game that need improvement.
Williams’ weakness is clearly his shooting. While he only made 28.2% of his threes, he proved that he is at least a willing shooter averaging over four attempts from deep per game. If Williams can become a close to average shooter from deep, the 76ers will have found themselves a steal. One that has been compared to the Chicago Bulls’ Ayo Dosunmo.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a long road ahead of them before they’re ready for true contention, but this draft could be a step towards success in both the short and long term. It’s up to Daryl Morey and the front office to see that it through.