It’s a rainy day here in Philadelphia. The Sixers are off until tomorrow. The undefeated Phillies are this week’s Sunday Night Baseball game. Sounds like the perfect afternoon to stay in and watch Elite 8 action.
Here are today’s games, with mention of the players that could be targets for the Sixers in the 2019 NBA draft. As the standings currently hold, Philadelphia is slated to pick 26th in the first round, as well as have four second round picks, including Chicago’s and Cleveland’s selections which would currently be in the low 30’s.
#2 Kentucky vs. #5 Auburn - 2:20 PM - CBS
P.J. Washington: Kentucky, 6-foot-8 sophomore, power forward
Keldon Johnson: Kentucky, 6-foot-6 freshman, small forward
Tyler Herro: Kentucky, 6-foot-5 freshman, shooting guard
The three players above are all projected in the teens to early-20s, but one could certainly fall to the Sixers around 26.
Washington could find a role as a stretch big — he has improved his 3-point shooting to 41.9 percent on over two attempts per game this season. The Sixers could throw him into the mix as a potential backup for Embiid if he doesn’t prove to be too undersized at the 5.
Herro projects as the prototypical sweet-shooting guard; he has shot 36 percent from 3 on over four attempts per game. He could fill the void left by Landry Shamet’s trade departure.
Johnson looks the part of a 3-and-D wing at the next level. He has made 38.8 percent of his 3s this year and has the relentless motor scouts drool over. As this season’s quiet tournament showed, the Sixers are always on the lookout for that sort of wing.
Ashton Hagans: Kentucky, 6-foot-3 freshman, point guard
Like Duke’s Tre Jones (see below), Hagans is a quick, defensive point guard with a very questionable outside shot. Hagans has only attempted 1.3 3s more game this season, making just 27.7 percent. Still, his draft projections average around an early second round pick and you might want to take a flier on him there in hopes that the shot comes around.
Chuma Okeke: Auburn, 6-foot-8 sophomore, power forward
Sadly, Okeke tore the ACL in his left knee in the team’s Sweet 16 win. A projected late-first round pick, you have to believe Okeke will return to school now. Pay the players, NCAA.
Anfernee McLemore: 6-foot-7 junior, power forward
McLemore’s sophomore season ended early with a dislocated ankle and fractured tibia and he admitted it took him to a couple months this season to feel back to his old self. He is projected as an undrafted or late-second round pick, so he might also opt to return to school. His ability to both protect the rim and knock down 3s has some intrigue, though.
#1 Duke vs. #2 Michigan State - 5:05 PM - CBS
Zion Williamson: Duke, 6-foot-7 freshman, power forward
Orlando has moved ahead of Sacramento in the standings — the Kings’ pick now has a 1.0% chance for landing first overall. Let’s go!!!!
RJ Barrett: Duke, 6-foot-7 freshman, small forward
Cam Reddish: Duke, 6-foot-8 freshman, small forward
These other two star freshmen are both projected top-10 picks, so it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where the Sixers end up with either of them. Still, it’s always good to watch future NBA talent. Reddish sat out the Sweet 16 win and is a game-time decision with knee tendinitis.
Tre Jones: Duke, 6-foot-2 freshman, point guard
I’ve seen Jones mock drafted everywhere from the 20s to the low-30s. in that range, Philadelphia could potentially have multiple chances to take him. He is a strong defensive player who could help fill the Sixers’ void as a point-of-attack defender against small, quick opposing guards. The outside shot is still very much a work-in-progress, but keep a close eye on Tre this evening.
Enjoy the games!