Sixers draft targets: Is Jared McCain the answer at 16?

Duke guard Jared McCain (0) and guard Tyrese Proctor (5) reacts after McCain scored a 3-point basket during the first half of a second-round college basketball game against James Madison in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The Sixers will more likely than not trade whoever they select with the 16th pick, but some players, including Duke guard Jared McCain, may be worth keeping.

The majority of the discussion surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers‘ offseason has revolved around the team’s pursuit of a star in free agency or on the trade market. Forgotten at times is that the Sixers not only hold multiple selections in the 2024 NBA Draft, but they have their highest pick, 16th overall, since 2018 when the team selected Mikal Bridges, who was traded for Zhaire Smith (who was coincidentally the 16th selection) and a future first-round pick.

With the opinion of many being that the 2024 draft class is relatively speaking “weak,” it may seem unfortunate that the year the Sixers have a pick five to ten higher than typical, plenty of players within range can still contribute for years to come. That includes Duke guard Jared McCain.

The scouting report on Jared McCain

Duke’s Jared McCain (0) gestures after making a 3-point shot during the first half of a second-round college basketball game against James Madison in the NCAA Tournament Sunday, March 24, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

As a freshman with the Duke Blue Devils, McCain was a cog in an offense built around star big man Kyle Filipowski. While this perhaps limited his opportunities to show off as an offense initiator, it allowed him to shine as a strong catch-and-shoot threat.

In the NCAA postseason tournament, McCain took his game to another level, averaging 21 points while slashing 50/50/94.7 shooting percentages. Those numbers are a bit skewed by two 30-point performances, but that also shows McCain’s explosive scoring potential.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about Jared McCain.


Boasting less than impressive size, Jared McCain comes in standing 6’2 (6’3 on his toes). For a player who looks the part of a combo guard, it’s far from ideal, but there are plenty of players in the modern NBA who are proving guards of that size can succeed in the right situation, as long as their shot-making progresses enough.

In terms of wingspan, he measured in at the combine at 6’3.5, boasting a below-average hand length of 8.25 inches but a hand width of 9.5 inches, which is above average for both guard spots.

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and ESPN compared his measurements to that of New York Knicks star Jalen Brunson.


The obvious draw to Jared McCain is the three-point shot. Connecting on shots from range at a 41.4 percent clip on nearly six attempts per game, there’s clearly reason to believe in the shot transitioning to the next level. McCain’s picture-perfect form and quick release only add fuel to that idea, and his 88.5 percent efficiency from the free throw line is the cherry on top of his three-point projection at the next level.

In catch-and-shoot scenarios, McCain hit 42.1% of his shots on 160 attempts, according to Those triples came in a variety of ways, from stationary shots off the catch to transition threes to movement, relocation, and shots off screens. That vast shot profile, should it transition as expected, could lead to McCain becoming a quality option off the bench, at the very least, at the next level.

In the midrange, McCain had little volume in Duke’s Filipowski-first offense. Despite that limited opportunity, McCain’s balance and footwork give hope for a competent midrange game at the next level, but it’s admittedly a work in progress.

While his lack of size, athleticism, and good, not great, handles will hurt his finishing ability, McCain did find a fair amount of success overcoming those shortcomings, completing 62.5 percent of his shots at the rim, according to Adding a consistent floater would be ideal, but it’s more of a luxury than a necessity.

Playmaking and Ball-Handling

McCain is a capable ball-handler who not only can find his own shot but also find the open man consistently. Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor took over the majority of initiating the offense, which was built around big man Kyle Filipowski, so perhaps there is more to McCain’s ball-handling ability than was seen last season, but he’s at least shown an ability to create for himself and can grow into an effective passer off ball-screens.

More than his direct ball-handling ability, Jared McCain’s IQ with the ball is what truly stands out. McCain’s lack of assists makes sense, considering his role as an off-the-catch weapon who, at best, was the tertiary ball-handler for Duke. While his playmaking ability didn’t show up in the stat sheet in terms of assists, he also rarely turns the ball over. He’s also no stranger to the hockey assist, an ability the Sixers should covet.

He’s not going to break ankles, but he also won’t dribble off his knee.


Measurables and a lack of athleticism work against him, but he’s an engaged defender who can be a pest in the right defensive situation. Like how Tyrese Maxey has shed his previous label as a defensive liability, McCain is capable of the same thanks to the combination of his strength and tenacity.

McCain’s defense is clearly the biggest concern regarding his skill set, but there is a potential role for him at the next level. While he’ll be primarily relegated to defending point guards while playing man, he’s best suited to playing off-ball, where he can put his IQ and quick hands to work, playing the lanes instead of attempting to hold his man.

NBA players comparison

The shot-making ability of Jared McCain may have some Sixers fans hoping for the next Tyrese Maxey. Not to burst that bubble, but McCain is not Maxey, and mostly due to his lack of athleticism, a clear difference in speed to be specific, he will never be Maxey.

Still, McCain has plenty of potential to become a quality player in the NBA. Even at his worst, he still projects as a contributor at the next level.

Floor: Seth Curry

Ceiling: Immanuel Quickley