Around College Basketball is back with its third edition! Still in the thick of the out of division portion of the schedule, the teams in the Top 25 are trying to stay in that position before the season really picks up. Teams like Buffalo and Furman have been pleasant surprises while top tier schools like Michigan State and Oregon have gotten off to slow starts. Still projected to pick late in the first round, the Sixers won’t have the chance to grab a franchise star, but there are still plenty of solid options.
Pick Projection: 24th overall
Kings Watch: With a record of 12-11, the Sacramento Kings are projected to have the 14th pick. Since the Sixers will keep the lower between the two (top-one excluded), in this situation they will keep their pick at 24th overall.
Prospects to Watch:
Tre Jones, Duke (PG): The younger brother of Timberwolves point guard and former national champion at Duke Tyus Jones, Tre has a chance to follow in his brothers footsteps by being a first round pick in the NBA Draft. As of now Jones hasn’t jumped off the page in his short stint in Durham as he is stuck being the fourth option on offense. Relegated to a role as just a passer, Jones really hasn’t shown off his scoring ability just yet. Just because he hasn’t shown it doesn’t mean it’s not there though, as Jones has the ability to become a nice option in an NBA offense if he continues to grow his game. Only shooting 7 times per game (5 two point shots and 2 three point shots), Jones is averaging a meager 9 points per game but is showing tons of progress running an offense as a freshman, averaging 6 assists per game.
In the clip above Jones shows off his vision as he notices a streaking teammate toward the basket even from down the court. As of right now Jones’ stock is somewhat low because he hasn’t been too involved at Duke, but he has the upside and next level talent to rise up draft boards. The Sixers have a potential hole to fill next year at backup point guard and if Jones is available when the 24th pick comes around he would be the perfect player to take.
Shamorie Ponds, St. Johns (PG): One of the highest scoring guards in the NCAA, Shamorie Ponds knows how to get his team going. An offensive spark plug, Ponds leads St. Johns in scoring this year and has had too many highlight plays to count even this early on in the season. Ponds is a combo guard who can work well both on and off the ball, a need the Sixers need to fill at some point.
Averaging a career high 22.4 points per game, that kind of offensive punch is needed off of the Sixers bench. Pull up shots, driving to the lane and finding an open teammate are all things that Ponds could bring to Philadelphia, and Ponds could be available to pick at 24th overall.
Kris Wilkes, UCLA (SF): Another player that would fit the Sixers bench unit of athletic wing players, Kris Wilkes is off to a hot start this year. Averaging career highs in just about every single category, Wilkes brings the length and athleticism the Sixers need in order to keep pace with other top teams in the Eastern Conference. His shot isn’t a finished product, but his confidence to use it at any time in a game situation would be a welcome change to young players that the Sixers draft. Right now Wilkes dominates opponents using his athleticism, the upside is certainly there but he is a work in progress.
With a pick late in the first round it’s hard to find a finished product. Getting a player with big upside in the form of Kris Wilkes could be a plan that pays off for the Sixers, and who doesn’t want to see lobs to Zhaire Smith and Kris Wilkes?