Around College Basketball is back with its fourth edition! The top teams in the country are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, and some championship hopefuls are showing why they have the ability to get there. This draft class is deep and seemingly has a lot of players that can contribute from the start, even at the end of the first round.
Pick Projection: 25th overall
Kings Watch: With a record of 16-15, the Sacramento Kings are projected to have the 13th pick. Remember, the Sixers get whichever pick is worse between their own and that of the Kings, with the better going to Boston unless its #1 overall.
Prospects To Watch:
Jontay Porter, Missouri (PF): Jontay Porter had the chance to be drafted in the lottery last year, but decided to return to the University of Missouri for his sophomore year in order to raise his draft stock even more. Sadly, Porter tore his ACL before the season started and is now stuck rehabbing the injury in hopes that it doesn’t hurt his chances of being drafted high this year. When on the court, Porter helps tremendously on both offense and defense. His offensive game isn’t a finished product, but he can play above the rim and bang down low with his long frame. On defense Porter has the makings of a game changer. Known for his shot blocking and ability to keep pace with quicker players in transition, Porter would give the Sixers a reliable defensive option off of the bench or in due time, even in the starting lineup next to Joel Embiid. Whether or not his speed and explosiveness is sapped after the knee injury is a risk, but if the Sixers can get a player with high lottery upside late in the draft it might be a risk willing to pull the trigger on.
Quentin Grimes, Kansas (SG): One of the players most talked about heading into the season, Quentin Grimes got off to a hot start. In his collegiate debut against Michigan State, Grimes looked like the type of player that could carry his team to signature wins, producing 21 points and 4 assists. Besides that, this season has been a struggle for the freshman. Inconsistency has plagued the athletic shooting guard, and as a result, the Jayhawks have cut back on his playing time. In the first five games of the season Grimes was playing 28 minutes per game. In the last five that number has been reduced to 20 minutes per game. Only averaging 7.3 points per game, Grimes hasn’t showed that scoring knack that he did earlier in the year, but that may be because he is only shooting 7 shots per game. A true shooter, Grimes will need to get himself out of this funk. It is still early in the year so there is time to turn things around. Projected to go near the top of the lottery before the season started, Grimes’ stock has fallen some. Falling to 24th overall still might be out of reach as he is now projected to go just outside of the lottery. Whether or not he improves on his draft stock Quentin Grimes is a name to keep an eye on. If he does fall to the end of the first round that probably means he couldn’t turn things around, but that doesn’t mean he doesn't have the tools to contribute at the next level.
Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky (C): It’s no secret that the Sixers need a complete overhaul of their bench. One of the biggest weaknesses is that they don’t have anyone that can come in and be a reliable option on both offense and defense, especially down low. By drafting Charles Bassey, that would immediately change. Another player who had gotten some talk about going at the tail end of the lottery, Bassey would be a steal if the Sixers have the opportunity to take him. Standing at 6’11” and 220 lbs. Bassey is a huge body down low but can move around almost like a guard. Constantly hustling and finding open holes in the defense, Bassey stands out whenever watching Western Kentucky basketball because of how hard he works.
In the clip above Bassey is able to get in a strong position against his defender and force the defense to collapse on him, opening up another teammate for an easy basket late in the game. The clip transitions to defense where Bassey uses his superior athletic ability to get up and block a shot at the very end of the game to keep the lead. If he keeps playing up to his potential, Philly may not get the chance to take Bassey. But he fits the Sixers’ needs too perfectly that moving up in the draft in order to get him wouldn’t be a bad idea. At only 18 years old, Charles Bassey may only be scratching the surface.