76ers Throwback Thursday: Looking back at Daryl Morey’s draft history with PHI

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)

The 2022 NBA draft is now just two weeks away, and the question surrounding Philadelphia is, what will Daryl Morey do this time around? Astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “You have to know the past to understand the present.” That philosophy has applications in many aspects of life, even in regard to the NBA draft. With that in mind let’s take a look back at Daryl Morey’s draft history with the Philadelphia 76ers.

2020 NBA Draft

CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 06: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Tyrese Maxey (0) dribbles the ball past Chicago Bulls Guard Malcolm Hill (14) during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls on February 6, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

Players Drafted

  • Tyrese Maxey | 20th overall
  • Tyler Bey | 36th overall (traded to Dallas)
  • Isaiah Joe | 49th overall
  • Paul Reed | 58th overall

In his first season with the Philadelphia 76ers, Daryl Morey struck gold right from the start by drafting then-Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey. At the time, this was seen as an absolute steal for Philadelphia, and in the years since, it has only proven to be even more the case. In Maxey, the Sixers not only have a starter but a player whose potential is that of a multi-time All-Star. There are surely many teams to thank for foolishly passing on the young star.

Maxey wasn’t the only hit of the draft for Morey. Of the three players drafted and kept, a case could be made that both Isaiah Joe and certainly Paul Reed were quality picks as well. The 49th and 58th picks, respectively, may not have busted onto the scene yet, but they have shown the skill sets necessary to carve out NBA careers.

Joe has struggled lately to find a way into the rotation, but as much as that is about him needing to progress, an argument could easily be made that he was not afforded the proper opportunity to do such. The Sixers sharpshooter looks to be on the verge of increasing his playing time one way or another next season. This could be by taking the minutes of teammates traded away, being dealt himself, or just improving to the point that he doesn’t give Doc Rivers a choice.

The prize of the second round, though, has undoubtedly been “Bball Paul” Reed. Reed was instantly popular in Philadelphia thanks to the grit and hustle he constantly displays. While he can play a bit out of control at times, the more he plays, the more comfortable he looks on the court. This could be seen more than ever this past postseason when Reed served as Joel Embiid’s primary backup.

Trades Made

LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 01: Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry (30) before an NBA game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers on December 01, 2019, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)

Mavericks Received:

  • Josh Richardson
  • The Draft Rights to Tyler Bey

76ers Received:

  • Seth Curry

It wasn’t just Maxey, Joe, and Reed who joined the Philadelphia 76ers that night. Daryl Morey also added sharpshooter Seth Curry by sending Josh Richardson and the draft rights to Tyler Bey (36th overall) to Dallas Mavericks. This trade has since been considered won of Morey’s best in Philadelphia or otherwise.

While Curry is no longer with the team, the impact he had during his time in Philadelphia cannot be understated. The veteran sharpshooter replaced JJ Redick as the only volume shooter Joel Embiid could rely on. He was traded at the NBA’s trade deadline this season in the Ben Simmons/James Harden trade. Curry was one of the 76ers’ most reliable starters for nearly two seasons, while Josh Richardson has been traded twice since this deal, so the winner of this trade is clear.

2020 Draft Grade: A+

Without question, Daryl Morey earned the highest of grades for his work in the 2020 NBA draft.

2021 NBA Draft

NASHVILLE, TN – FEBRUARY 24: Tennessee Volunteers guard Jaden Springer (11) brings the ball down the floor during a game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and Tennessee Volunteers, February 24, 2021, at Memorial Gym in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire)

Players Drafted

  • Jaden Springer | 28th overall
  • Charles Bassey | 53rd overall

The team entered with two selections in Morey’s second draft with Philadelphia. The 28th overall pick and the 53rd overall pick — which Morey essentially purchased for $2 million. With their first selection, the 76ers selected Tennessee guard Jaden Springer and, with their second, Western Kentucky center Charles Bassey.

Neither player has had a chance to make an impact at the NBA level, but both have been able to show off their skill sets in the G League playing with the Delaware Blue Coats. While on assignment, Springer averaged 14.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists, while Bassey averaged 18.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks per game.

It’s near impossible to evaluate a player based on G League stats alone but those down in Delaware for the games were able to watch the pair progress night in and night out. Bassey, in particular, made it clear that he is likely not too far removed from making a difference for the 76ers.

2021 Draft Grade: B-

As exciting as both of these young prospects may be, without the NBA-level reps, it’s difficult to give the team too high of a grade, but the potential of both of these players is certainly exciting.

It’s admittedly easy to look at players drafted after Springer like Herb Jones or Ayo Dosunmu and feel as though an opportunity was missed, but that type of retrospective thinking is fruitless. One year is also certainly not enough to make a final decision on this matter and Springer was selected based on his ceiling, not his floor.

What Does the Future Hold for the 76ers

When looking toward the future, the outlook seems favorable for the Philadelphia 76ers. Daryl Morey has done extremely well in regards to the draft, and with a plethora of talented players mocked around where Philadelphia will select, the odds are that the team will be able to find a young talented player. One also cannot discount the possibility of a draft-day trade from the 76ers’ President of Basketball Operations.