While a lot of Sixers fans were debating which wing the Sixers should select with the No. 3 pick in the draft, a couple of talented guards, Dennis Smith and De’Aaron Fox, have edged their way into the picture.
Adam Zagoria was the first to tie the Sixers to Smith, a claim which was followed up by a separate report from Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:
The Sixers like both De'Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr. for the third pick, according to sources.— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) May 24, 2017
Before we go any further, consider the sources on both claims. Both reporters are based out of New York—and both players are very much in the mix for a guard-starved team like, say, the Knicks—and it behooves people who work for the team to have it leak to reporters that the guy they might take could be in the mix much higher than they’re likely to end up going.
That said, both players are, let’s say “interesting” for the Sixers for different reasons. Fox’s jumper has removed him from a lot of Philadelphia-based big boards, because despite his shot looking better than Josh Jackson’s, he was abysmal outside the paint at Kentucky. He has every other tool you could ask for in a guard prospect, but unfortunately the ability to shoot may be the most important one. And unlike with a wing or a big man, it’s pretty hard to impact the game enough defensively as a guard to justify being a non-shooter.
Smith is a guy with similarly volatile stock, but for much different reasons. The rosy view on him would project him to be a three-level scorer at the next level, and his athleticism looked scarier and scarier as N.C. State’s season went on. But he was heavily ball dominant in his freshman season, and his space cadet act on defense would get old quick. He’s not the smoothest fit in the world next to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, and he’d have to prove he’s comfortable playing (and thriving) off the ball, because he’s never really had to before.
If I had to choose between the two, give me Smith for this roster, because the last thing the Sixers need is a guard who can’t shoot a lick. Treat all these rumors with caution, however, because there’s motivation behind every morsel that makes its way to the media this time of year.