Philadelphia 76ers select Jared McCain with 16th pick

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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 Philadelphia 76ers entered draft night with rumors swirling regarding whether or not the team would make their selection or if they would be moving the pick in favor of veteran talent. Ultimately, Philadelphia decided to make their pick, selecting Jared McCain, a guard out of Duke.

Daryl Morey said after the draft that the Sixers considered McCain among the 10 best players in the draft coming into the night, so they were thrilled when he was available at 16. Morey admitted there was legitimate concern that their pick would be sniped by the Miami Heat one pick ahead, and for a moment, it seemed like that would be the case as an incorrect report stated that the Heat had chosen McCain.

The 76ers are certainly grateful that the draft broke the way that it did.

“We had McCain as a top 10 player in this draft, Daryl Morey said. If you can get a player who is hopefully rotation-ready at a very young age, I don’t want to put pressure on him, but we think he’s got that.”

McCain certainly appears rotation ready in large part thanks to the fact that he, more than anything, is a sharpshooter. Hitting shots from deep at a 42.1% clip last season, McCain gets his shot from all around the horn. He’s comfortable off the catch, pulling up, and is able to relocate to find his shot.

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)

A player more than capable of running similar actions to what Tyrese Maxey does currently, McCain offers what teams can never have enough of: shooting.

On McCain’s ability as a shooter, Morey praised his volume and efficiency, making sure to point out the

“He’s already putting up a high volume of threes and being able to shoot threes at a high volume and be in the high 30s, low 40s is maybe the most valuable skill in the NBA.”

While questions are present surrounding McCain’s fit directly alongside 76ers star Tyrese Maxey, his fit alongside Joel Embiid is far more clear.

“We really value shooting given the rest of our roster, especially Joel,” Morey said. “We just think Joel’s unguardable when he has shooting around him.”

Again, his fit next to Maxey remains questionable, with Daryl Morey even acknowledging such during his post-draft availability, though he chalked a good portion of that up to

“Obviously, Jared is not going to be playing with Maxey a whole lot,” Morey said. “It’s just hard for a rookie, but that elite shooting from two guys out on the floor is pretty hard to guard, and both of them make it really tough on if you try to guard them tight.”

McCain’s size and lack of athleticism are legitimate questions, but his toughness is undeniable. He wasn’t able to showcase much in terms of playmaking at Duke, given their offense built around center Kyler Filipowski, but it also allowed him to grow comfortable working off of an attention-grabbing big man.

I spoke to McCain after the 76ers selected him, asking in particular about how playing in an offense centered around a big man could help his transition to playing next to Embiid.

“Yeah, I think it’s a great transition for me,” McCain told Philly Sports Network. “Obviously, playing through Flip, I learned to create space for him and to be able to let him do his work, and find gaps, and find ways to get open. So, I think it’s a great transition for me.”

McCain averaged 21 points while slashing 50/50/94.7 shooting percentages during the NCCA tournament.

The 76ers could still opt to move down the line, but for the time being, there’s a new sharpshooter in Philadelphia. One that seems like an awfully good fit alongside Joel Embiid and could grow into a thrilling backcourt alongside Tyrese Maxey.

The Philadelphia 76ers still own the 41st selection, which will take place tomorrow as the NBA Draft is split between two days for the first time in NBA history. There are plenty of names who could still contribute for Philadelphia as early as next season.