Sixers 2024 draft: Players to watch in the second round

Kyle Filipowski walks the red carpet before the NBA basketball draft, Wednesday, June 26, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

The Philadelphia 76ers surprised quite a few people in the first round last night when they held onto the 16th pick to select former Duke Blue Devil Jared McCain despite receiving an intriguing offer for an unnamed player.

Now that the second round is growing closer and closer, only time will tell if the Sixers hold onto the 41st pick in tonight’s second round of the NBA Draft. Here are some prospects Philadelphia might be available for them.

Kyle Filipowski

Duke’s Kyle Filipowski, right, looks to pass the ball around North Carolina State’s Mohamed Diarra, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, March 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

Kyle Filipowski received many first-round grades before the draft but ultimately fell to the second. Filipowski played two years at Duke University, making an Elite 8 appearance with brand new Sixer Jared McCain.

When McCain was drafted, he cited playing with Filipowski as a great learning experience on how to play within a big man-centered offense. With McCain’s chemistry and a potential need at backup center with Paul Reed carrying a team option for free agency this year, why not try and pair the Blue Devils back up in Philadelphia?

Filipowski had an impressive sophomore season for Duke last year, averaging 16.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game. Combine the impressive counting stats with a 50.5% from the field and 34.8% from beyond the arc, and it’s easy to love the idea of Filipowski joining the Sixers.

He is an offensive-minded big who likes to play the perimeter. Standing at 7’0″, he needs to improve his interior finishing, post-game, and rebounding numbers, but he has a chance to be a solid stretch big for years to come.

Justin Edwards

Justin Edwards was the No. 3 recruit in the nation coming out of high school. After his lone season at Kentucky, he declared for the draft despite a smaller offensive role with the Wildcats. He finished as the 6th highest-scoring player for Kentucky, averaging 8.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 0.9 steals per game on 48.6% shooting from the field. He also shot the three ball efficiently, converting 36.5% on a small sample size of 2.7 threes attempted per game.

Despite his relatively quiet year at Kentucky, he has shown NBA teams this year that he can be an impactful role player for a winning basketball team. With great athleticism and serviceable three-point shooting, Edwards has struggled to put it all together. While he would be a project for the Sixers to develop more, his upside and his tools could be worth gambling on for the Sixers.

Cam Christie

If the Sixers want to add a 6’4″ off-guard who can shoot, pass, and defend, Cam Christie is the guy Philadelphia should look at. At Minnesota this past season, he shot 39.1% from beyond the arc on over five attempts per game. He averaged 11.3 points per game for the Golden Gophers and was their second-leading scorer. He also averaged 3.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

Now he did only shoot 42.0% on 2-point field goals this season, and that is cause for some concern, but as a three-point specialist, it could just take some more time for Christie to upgrade his midrange and finishing games. Also, at only 190 pounds, it’s possible that his effectiveness as an interior finisher never improves significantly. That being said, Christie is one of the best lights-out shooters out of the remaining available draft picks and could turn into a reliable sniper near the lower half of the bench for Philadelphia.

Johnny Furphy

Johnny Furphy walks the red carpet before the NBA basketball draft, Wednesday, June 26, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Johnny Furphy is a 6’9″, 200-pound athletic shooter who just finished his freshman year with the Kansas Jayhawks. For the Jayhawks, Furphy averaged 9.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 0.9 steals per game on 46.6/35.2/76.5 percent shooting splits. He started in 19 games for the 23-11 Jayhawks and was their 3rd best rebounder.

A super-intelligent player who knows how to play within a system as a shooter and rebounder, Furphy could be a great role player for Philadelphia, a team that notoriously failed at rebounding at some points this season and will always want more shooting around Joel Embiid.

With all second-round picks, there are reasons that Furphy has fallen to the second round. With a smaller frame and not a ton of speed, there are questions about Furphy’s ability to guard NBA-level players at the next level. He also probably isn’t going to be someone who can create their own shot, but with a team like Philadelphia and a great passing big man like Joel Embiid, Furphy wouldn’t be asked to very often. His shooting, IQ, and rebounding could make an impact early on for the Sixers, should he fall to them at pick 41.

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. It’s unclear where the son of NBA great LeBron James might land in this month’s NBA draft. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

If you have been living under a rock, LeBron (Bronny) James Jr. is the son of NBA Legend LeBron James. He also had an underwhelming freshman year at USC. In his lone collegiate season, he averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 19.4 minutes per game. He shot 36.6% from the field and 26.7% from beyond the arc. His offense struggled at the next level, and while some of the struggles can be attributed to when he suffered cardiac arrest at a USC practice, Bronny still looked like he struggled both to shoot and finish at USC.

On the other hand, Bronny’s basketball IQ cannot be denied. He has a feel for the game that most 19-year-olds can only dream of. He has shown off his passing IQ and a knack for the defensive side of the ball. He averaged 0.8 steals per game last year for the Trojans.

With a 6’7″ wingspan measurement at the combine, his defensive upside looks solid at this level. His shooting also seems to be something that should continue to grow, as evidenced by his 3-point shooting drill at the combine, where he finished second among participating players, going 19 for 25. It also doesn’t hurt that having Bronny James makes for an intriguing pitch to LeBron James.