Sixers 2024 Draft: 5 guards to watch

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)

With the NBA draft approaching in a couple of weeks, the Philadelphia 76ers have some decisions to make regarding their selections. The likelihood that the Sixers would trade the pick is high as they would be looking for a veteran player to join their roster to help win now. If the right player fell to them or they couldn’t get a veteran that fits with their two stars, they could have a chance to add a cost-controlled younger player to the mix.

The Sixers currently have four players tied to their roster for next season: Joel Embiid, Paul Reed (non-guaranteed), Ricky Council IV, and Tyrese Maxey (restricted free agent). With that being said, they have a chance to add another guard to the mix that could fit with Tyrese Maxey in the short term and long term. With a seemingly guard-heavy draft, take a look at five guards that Daryl Morey and company may be interested in drafting:

Jared McCain

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)

Jared McCain is a one-and-done guard out of Duke who is a knockdown and willing outside shooter who could fit nicely next to the two-stars in Philly. He has been linked to the Sixers in different mock drafts due to hit potential fit. He was a high-percentage three-pointer shooter while at Duke and was able to get his shots off in a variety of manners. He was someone who could shoot pull-up jumpers off of screens and isolations, including using side steps and step-backs.

One of his most important traits that would translate well to Philly is his willingness to launch threes off the catch with confidence and frequency. With Embiid and Maxey getting the defense shifted to stop them, he could eat off catch-and-shoot opportunities and attack closeouts. He could also be used as a secondary ballhandler, something Philly needs to have going forward.

McCain is a smaller guard coming in at 6’2, and fitting him next to Maxey could be hard defensively. He is a tough-nosed defensive guard, but having a small backcourt could cause problems defensively for the Sixers, especially if they don’t have multiple defensive wings on the roster.

Rob Dillingham

Florida’s Walter Clayton Jr. (1) hits a three-point shot while defended by Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard (15) and Rob Dillingham (0) in the closing seconds of the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, sending it into overtime Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, in Lexington, Ky. Florida won in overtime 94-91. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

During the season, Dillingham seemed to be a consensus top-five pick out of Kentucky due to his ability to score and his development as a playmaker. After the season, his outlook started to change and his draft measurables brought up some significant questions about his size. In recent weeks, there have been some reports about him sliding in the draft because of his height and weight (6’1 and 164 pounds) and if he could be effective in a physical league.

Although he has some drawbacks, his offensive game is a major plus. He is a great shooter and shot creator and started to really develop his playmaking skills as the season went on. He is a willing shooter and can finish with crafty layups and floaters at the rim. That is a skill set that would fit well with the Sixers, but there would be major questions about his ability to be on the court with Tyrese Maxey at the same time.

Kentucky guards usually turn out to be really good pros, and if they bulk up and go to the right team, they can be successful in many different roles. If he does slide, expect the Sixers to take a long look at drafting him, as they have had major success taking a previous Kentucky guard who was drafted later than he should have been.

Isaiah Collier

Collier started his freshman season at USC expecting to be a surefire top-three pick, but his season and USC’s didn’t go as planned. Collier and his team underperformed, and that hurt his draft stock tremendously. He is a 6’3 guard who is strong with a knack for downhill attacking and finishing and could work well on a team with good spacing and willing shooters. He has good size at 205 pounds, which allows him to play bully ball in the paint and finish with contact.

His shooting was questionable all year at USC, which could make him a questionable fit next to Embiid, but he has other skills that could translate to the NBA. If he could develop into a league-average shooter, his upside could be worth the risk of drafting him into a role as a bench guard and secondary or tertiary ballhandler. If he develops, he could be a good piece to have in the backcourt with Maxey for the future.

Baylor Scheierman

Creighton guard Baylor Scheierman (55) drives to the basket past North Dakota State guard Lance Waddles during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Schneiderman is a 6’6 lefty shooter from Baylor who can light it up from behind the line. He’s a movement shooter who can score in a variety of ways, using screens, dribble handoffs, and off-the-catch. He can space the floor and has deep range to shoot from a couple of feet past the three-point line. He can also attack closeouts and has some ballhandling skills to give him added offensive value.

He isn’t a great athlete, which limits him defensively and could impact how teams view him in the draft. He does rebound well for a guard but could be exploited and attacked on the defensive end, even though he gives a ton of effort.

His skillset matches what the team needs, with Embiid and Maxey as the two stars. His shooting could have teams stretched further on the perimeter and help to have defenses think twice about collapsing. His defense leaves questions of whether he could find a role on this team, but if he’s making shots, the Sixers could live with some of his limitations. There are plenty of guys in the league like him, and it could be worth taking him in the second round, hoping he could make an immediate impact being 23 years old.

Bronny James

FILE – Southern California’s Bronny James (6) brings the ball up the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Although he is not projected to be drafted in the first round or early second round, Bronny James has been the talk of the town. His freshman year at USC didn’t go as planned due to a heart issue that had him miss the beginning of the season. When he returned, he never looked comfortable, and his entire team underperformed. With many directing him to transfer and stay in college a little longer, he decided to declare for the draft.

He moved up the draft boards with his performance in individual shooting drills and measurables at the draft combine. He didn’t play well in scrimmages, but he showed he had some tools to be a solid NBA contributor in the future. He’s only worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, and it’s widely expected he will be drafted by the Lakers to play with his father.

If the Sixers did draft him, it would be for one reason only: to lure LeBron James to sign in Philadelphia for the remainder of his career. James is expected to opt out of his deal with the Lakers and is a target for Daryl Morey and the front office. If they could persuade him to leave the bright lights of LA, drafting his son in the second round could be the first step in doing so.