Sixers 2023 NBA Draft targets: Emoni Bates

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 07: Shirts line the seats of the Wells Fargo Center for fans before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 07, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The NBA draft is today, and the Philadelphia 76ers are doing what they can to acquire a pick. With that pick most likely being in the second round, let’s look at who they could select. Next up, Emoni Bates.

Emoni Bates has to be one of the most polarizing players in this entire draft. The now 19-year-old was hyped up immensely when he was 15, only to struggle in college and transfer to one of the worst schools in D1 with Eastern Michigan.

Bates has gone through everything, from being compared to Steph Curry, LeBron, and Kevin Durant, to character concerns, to single-handedly bringing excitement to one of the worst college basketball programs in the country. He averaged 19.2 points per game last season for Eastern Michigan on 40.5% from the field and 33.0% from beyond the arc on 7.7 threes attempted per game. Bates is currently projected somewhere in the 50s as one of the last names called in the draft.

Emoni Bates’ Strengths

Emoni Bates’ biggest strength is his shooting. A stepback three-pointer from NBA range? He drills it. A quick handoff pull-up jumper from the corner? Easy. A moving three from behind a screen? No problem. Bates can really hit any shot that he wants to on the court, especially when he’s in a rhythm. A fantastic transition three-point shooter who is also a reliable catch-and-shoot guy who’s highly effective in a pick roll as the ball handler is hard to come by.

He moves fluidly on the court, and his handles are a big reason why. Bates is always looking to score and showed at Eastern Michigan that he can, even if his efficiency wasn’t quite as good as desired. His jump shot is not a question mark in any way, shape, or form. Bates is an instant offense type of player and is one of the best players beyond the arc in this draft. He has extremely high confidence, which helps him to take big shots when needed.

Emoni Bates Areas of Improvement

With someone so good from beyond the arc, he has many other things he needs to improve on. First, Bates doesn’t really pass. He wants to shoot and is looking to shoot every single time he touches the ball. He only averaged 1.4 assists per game last season. He needs to improve his passing and look to pass more often. He won’t be able to just take every single shot in the NBA.

On top of that, he favors his right side significantly more, telegraphing which way he is usually going. Beyond just which direction he’s going, everyone already knows what he is looking to do. Bates is a great shooter, but a horrible driver. When driving out of the pick-and-roll, he moves past the screen and drives down to the baseline, and then typically takes a heavily contested layup. This is where the 40% field goal percentage comes into play.

On the other side of the ball, Bates is not a very good defender. He often either looks distracted on defense or just frozen. He takes a lot of awkward angles when the other player drives to the hoop, relying on help around the rim. His off-ball defense is also a struggle as he often closes out too slow on wide-open shooters, or simply leaves passing lanes wide open. His defensive instincts seem a little raw at this point in time. Thanks to his wiry body, he is also often targeted in the post, giving up layups and easy twos to players both bigger and smaller than him.