While the Philadelphia 76ers appear to be selecting a player from the SEC with the No. 1 overall pick, they might target the Big East for another elite prospect in the 2016 NBA draft class. According to a report from CSNE's Gary Tanguay, the Sixers are enamored with Providence point guard Kris Dunn.
Celts and Sixers trade talk heats up. Philly really really wants Dunn per Tim Welsch. @CSNNE— Gary Tanguay (@Gary_Tanguay) June 20, 2016
Dunn's ascension to possible top-5 pick status rivals Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, in his development as a senior, and is arguably the marquee point guard on the board. En route to winning the 2015-16 Big East Player of the Year award, Dunn averaged 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists on a strong Providence team that made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Even if the Sixers favor Ben Simmons or have an affinity for Brandon Ingram, point guard is a position that stands out and has yet to be ideally addressed for multiple seasons. Ish Smith's hot start for the team last season turned into a tepid finish and T.J. McConnell was a definite spark off the bench. However, Dunn is on another plane in terms of two-way upside and ability.
Defensively, Dunn was a stalwart as a senior, posting an exceptional 94.8 DRtg at the point and had 2.5 thefts per game. His build, in addition, is a plus for the seasoned prospect. At 6'3" and 205 pounds, Dunn's physicality would be beneficial on any team and shouldn't be an issue throughout his career. He's also blessed with rare athleticism that contributes to his adept play on both sides of the ball. Possibly paired with a Simmons, Dunn could give Philadelphia a versatile offensive weapon at the point, able to attack the basket and be a competent contributor from deep (37.7 percent).
However, for Dunn to warrant a package of assets for, he has to progress as a scorer and become more adept off-ball, not palming the rock on every possession. The absurd 41.0 percent assist rate was a product of Dunn operating as the Friars' primary ball handler, but controlling the ball (3.5 turnovers per game) is a necessity for a team to invest heavily in him.
It's speculation on what the Sixers are willing to offer for the dynamic guard, but Nerlens Noel and/or Jahlil Okafor could be discussed-with their names featured in trade rumors for weeks. Boston lacks a high-end big and either talent could be more useful in a playoff run than a rookie.
If Philadelphia wants to pair Dunn with a Simmons or an Ingram, the Sixers will have two new, talent-laded starters to accelerate the rebuilding process.