I’ve already covered the top 5 prospects the Sixers could target with the #3 pick. Check it out here:
As you know, the Sixers have a second pick in the first round, the number 10 pick overall. They obtained this pick from the Jrue Holiday trade with New Orleans. The Sixers ended up with Nerlens Noel and the number 10 pick in this year’s draft. Needless to say, the Sixers netted a more favorable return in that deal.
Given Sam Hinkie’s track record, there is a risk that the Sixers will be very active in the trade market up to and during the draft. Thaddeus Young, MCW, the #3 and #10 picks are all valuable assets that could net a number of intriguing prospects in return (such as Kevin Love, the #1 pick, etc.).
While I will do a more in-depth analysis as to the utility of that approach soon, for now let’s operate under the assumption that the Sixers will indeed stand pat at #10. Let’s focus on players that could be available.
(Side note: I am not including players that do not have a realistic probability of lasting until the 10th pick, regardless of how much I like them. So Aaron Gordan, Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh and Julius Randle are out. While it would be lovely if Gordan made it to 10, he is just too good for 9 other teams to pass up, and I don’t want to give you a false sense of hope).
Doug McDermott, 6’8, SF, Creighton: This becomes a viable option if the Sixers land Embiid or Wiggins with the #3 pick. I do not think they draft both Parker and McDermott because both are liabilities on defense. But McDermott possess a skill set that the Sixers sorely need: shooting. He is likely the best shooter in this draft, as evidenced by having the best true shooting percentage (.652) of any other player. (True shooting percentage is a measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account 2 point field goals, 3 point field goals, and free throws). He has a very high basketball IQ, as evidenced by his ability to get open through constant movement despite lacking elite athleticism. He would be the perfect player to trail the Sixers fast break and spot up for a three. While he lacks a true position (too slow to cover three’s, too small to cover four’s), the Sixers would adequately compensate for this with the presence of Noel, Wiggins/Embiid and MCW, all plus defenders.
Potential target Doug McDermott. Photo credit to ESPN.com
Gary Harris, 6’4, SG, MSU: If the Sixers land Jabari Parker at 3, Gary Harris could be the pick. He isn’t flashy or sexy, he is steady. But at number 10, you aren’t looking for a perennial all-star, you are looking for a good starter that fits your overall scheme. Harris has two skills that could help the Sixers: he is the best defensive guard in this draft, and some would argue the best defensive player period. He also has potential to be a good shooter, especially from long range. But his 35% three point shooting percentage last year suggests he will need some work. I don’t love this pick, but I see the rationalization behind it.
Zac LaVine, 6’6, G, UCLA: this is my dark horse pick for the Sixers, regardless of who they get at number 3. LaVine is a polarizing prospect. Some consider him to be a bust. They will point to his jumper, which needs to be refined (although it looked improved during the combine), and that his production was sporadic (at best) in college. Others think that outside of the top 4 prospects in this draft (Wiggins, Parker, Embiid and Exum), LaVine has the highest upside. While there is considerable doubt over his long-term prospects, there can be no dispute over his elite athleticism. He has an explosive first step, can jump through the roof, and has the versatility to play both the point and shooting guard spots. Hinkie has repeated that he wants to take risks — to swing for the fences. I have a hard time reconciling that philosophy with him somehow settling on a "safe" pick like Gary Harris or Doug McDermott. LaVine fits the homerun mentality, so I would not at all be surprised if the Sixers go with him at 10.
Dario Saric, PF, 6’10, Croatia: Another dark horse for the Sixers. If he was committed to coming to the NBA, he would likely be gone by the time the Sixers pick. He is a very skilled point-forward that has drawn comparisons to Toni Kukoc. He projects as an elite passer, and has the ability to serve as a perfect stretch four for the Sixers. He scored 17 ppg on 58% true shooting percentage last year in the Adriatic League. Which is an impressive feat considering his high usage rate (27%, which was 3rd highest in the league). He lead his team to the league championship, and earned MVP honors along the way. He has been one of the most closely scrutinized international prospects ever. And if the Sixers can get assurances that he will come next season (or even the season after that), Saric could be worth the risk.
Nik Stauskas/James Young: putting these two players together because they have somewhat similar games. Stauskas is more comfortable at the 2, while Young is better at the 3. And while Stauskas is a better shooter — at least right now, Young has better athleticism. Otherwise, they are the type of wing player that could step in and improve the Sixers lack of three point shooting. Both can get to the rim, including Stauskas, lack of elite athleticism notwithstanding. If I had to choose between the two I would go Stauskas, because he at least has one elite skill — his shooting — that can make him a valuable role player. Young reminds me of Evan Turner. A guy that will take bad shots and kill the ball movement, all of which is a byproduct of his unwillingness to accept the fact that he is not an elite player in the NBA.
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