The NBA draft is now just a day away, and while the Philadelphia 76ers are currently without a draft pick, that is rumored to change by tomorrow evening. The Sixers have reportedly been looking to acquire the pick by offering a team financial compensation. With that in mind, it’s important to understand who the Sixers could target with a potential pick. First up on the list, Amari Bailey.
A 6’3″ guard from UCLA, weighing in at 192 pounds. As a freshman, Bailey appeared in 30 games, starting in 28 of them under head coach Mick Cronin. Bailey, along with other key contributors, led the UCLA Bruins into the Sweet 16 of the March Madness tournament, eventually losing to Gonzaga. Over the season, he would average 11.2 points per game on 49.5% from the field and 38.9% from three. His performance will more than likely allow him to go earlier in the second round of the NBA Draft, somewhere around the 31-40 range.
There is reported belief, courtesy of Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck, that the Sixers could acquire a pick in the mid to late 40s. With a little luck, Amari Bailey could fall to a potential Sixers pick.
Amari Bailey has many strengths that could have Sixers fans and coaches salivating. He stands out as one of the best defensive guards in the draft. He has extremely quick feet and regularly cuts off drives, forcing contested midranges or contested layups at the rim. He, more than likely, won’t be someone whose offenses are going to be able to target. He also keeps his hands pretty active, picking up 1.1 steals per game.
Beyond just his defense, his offensive efficiency at UCLA is something to be excited about. While his 3 point shot doesn’t look as smooth as one would want, it’s hard to argue with the results. He also seemed to show flashes of positive court vision, especially out of the pick and roll. His 38.9% shooting, pick and roll ability, along with his defensive instincts, make him seem almost like a De’Anthony Melton lite, with more offensive potential.
Areas of Improvement:
Bailey, just like every other player in the draft, has his own share of areas of improvement. The most notable thing that he needs to improve on is his ball security. Bailey averaged 2.4 turnovers per game his freshman year, compared to only 2.2 assists per game. Not exactly what you want to see from your starting point guard. His turnovers seemed mostly credited to consistent overdribbling or trying to fit into tight spaces.
At times, it seemed that Bailey would just pick a direction and head into the defense without a plan fully formed. That’s not to say that Bailey isn’t capable of working his way out, but it did seem that at least once per game, Bailey would pick up his dribble at the elbows after a failed drive and end up throwing a hurried pass. He also seemed to have trouble with screens at the top of the key, often giving shooters openings while trying to avoid contact or go under the screens.
While these areas of improvement are what will make Amari Bailey a likely second-round pick, they also allow him to potentially fall the Sixers should the team acquire a draft pick. With the recent report that Shake Milton is likely to move on this offseason (Neubeck), acquiring a player like Amari Bailey could prove fruitful for the Sixers.