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Future Sixers: College Basketball Starts Up

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High School Basketball: McDonald's All-American Games Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Another year, another winless start to November. The Sixers welcome the Pacers to the Wells Fargo Center tonight, but we all know they’re going to lose again. At this point in the year, there are only two things left to care about: Joel Embiid, and the Sixers’ 2017 Draft Pick.

It would be nice if we had moved to a place where we no longer needed to closely monitor the most attractive prospects, but the team looks likely to be in the running for another Top 3 pick, so we might as well monitor them as best we can. Luckily, this class is stockpiled with skilled, athletic perimeter players, and the likelihood that another center will be BPA when the Sixers name is called appears significantly reduced.

The college basketball season kicks off in earnest tonight, with a few high-profile, marquee matchups on the first night, and some more slugfest to follow immediately. Here are some of the games to pay attention to tonight and this weekend.

Arizona (10) vs. Michigan State (12)

November 11, 7:00pm, ESPN
Arizona frosh Lauri Markkanen makes his stateside debut after lighting up international competition the last three years. The sweet-shooting 7-footer is the kind of stretch big all teams covet.

He’ll be playing against Michigan State’s stud freshman Miles Bridges. He follows the Justise Winslow mold of athletic, stocky, and competitive. If his handle and shooting are for real, he could be a surprise riser as the year presses on.

Others: Rawle Alkins, Kobi Simmons (Allonzo Trier is suspended, Ray Smith has retired)

Kansas (3) vs. Indiana (11)

November 11, 9:00pm, ESPN
Projected Top 5 draft pick Josh Jackson makes his NCAA debut against perhaps the best wing defender in the nation in Indiana’s O.G. Anunoby. It should provide a lot of information about how Bill Self intends to use Jackson, as well as how Anunoby handles an increased role in IU’s offense.

Others: Thomas Bryant, Devonte Graham, Carlton Bragg

Kentucky (2) vs. Stephen F. Austin

November 11, 7:00pm, SEC Network
Tournament Cinderella SFA tries to rekindle their magic from March with a debut agains the second ranked Wildcats. Kentucky is the overwhelming favorite in this one, but it provides an opportunity to see quick PG De’Aaron Fox and physical adonis Bam Adebayo in competition for the first time.

Others: Malik Monk, Wenyen Gabriel, Isaiah Briscoe (Are we pretending Isaiah Briscoe is still a prospect?!)

Games to monitor this week:

Duke (1) vs. Kansas (3), 11/15, 9:30pm, ESPN
Kentucky (2) vs. Michigan State (12), 11/15, 7:00pm, ESPN
Yale at Washington, 11/13, 7:00pm, PAC12 Network
Villanova (4) vs. Purdue (15), 7:00pm, BTN

And now, it is time for the debut of our weekly series in which we power rank the Future Sixers who will be manning the starting point guard position for the Sixers for the next 11 years. Ranking is determined by complete and total objectivity, and by the perfectly calibrated “Future Sixer Meter,” which measures things like: Similarity to TJ McConnell; Probability of stepping over an opposing player on the ground; Hot Dog vs. Sandwich preference; Facial hair game; and fit next to Ben Simmons. This is an incomplete list of all inputs to the Future Sixer meter.

Future Sixers’ Point Guard Power Rankings:

1. Markelle Fultz

Future Sixer Meter: 8/10

The current leader of basketball’s most important power rankings, Markelle Fultz comes into the season with all of the momentum to be the #1 pick in the 2017 draft. Since the Sixers are never winning a game, and since Bryan Colangelo is the luckiest guy in the world, you know they’ll be picking #1, and Fultz will be the team’s future point guard.

2. Dennis Smith
Future Sixer Meter: 7/10

Coming into the season, Dennis Smith appears to be the most likely challenger to Fultz for the first overall pick. If his dunking ability has any say, he will be switching up the rankings real quick.

3. Frank Ntilikina
Future Sixer Meter: 6/10

One of the only players who actually has played games this year. He’s been forced to more of an off-ball role than expected for Strasbourg, but he has flourished surprisingly well, emphatically answering questions about his spot-up ability, and shooting an absurd 72.8% TS in 11 games so far this year. His Future Sixer likelihood has actually risen since the season began, as he could plausibly fit as an off-ball player next to Benny Boi.

4. De’Aaron Fox
Future Sixer Meter: 4/10

Can he shoot? Can he score? Early returns seem to suggest he can. It will be great to monitor the game against Michigan State to see how he fares against a stout D.

5. Lonzo Ball
Future Sixer Meter: 2/10

Oof. His pre-season was the opposite of encouraging. When you’re shooting 3-13 from the floor with only 3 assists as a point guard, there’s only one way to go.

6. Jawun Evans
Future Sixer Meter: 2/10

Evans had a really good, under the radar season last year! I mean, this is a pretty crazy game against the 2nd ranked team in the country!

He’s probably not the team’s PGOTF, but we might as well keep him around for interest’s sake.