The Philadelphia 76ers need to maximize their spacing around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. They should’ve taken a step toward that with the selection of Tyrese Maxey even if the stat sheet disagrees about that.
Maxey looks the part of a spacer—or at least a better shooter than his 29.2 three-point percentage would lead you to believe. His form is compact and repeatable, and it surfaced in both deep threes and at the foul line (83.3 percent), the latter of which often points to long-term potential.
He’s a tough-shot-maker, in part because he doesn’t have the burst or dizzying dribble moves to shake defenders out of their shorts. He’s built like a combo guard (6’3”, 198 lbs), but his passing must perk up to play that role.
Defensively, he’s a coach’s dream. He’ll never get outworked at that end, and he uses his length (6’6” wingspan) and instincts to keep players in front of him.
Wasserman likened Maxey to former Sixer and super-sub extraordinaire Lou Williams. If the incoming rookie can provide that level of shot-making, Philly will have aced this selection.
For the second time in as many picks, the Philadelphia 76ers might have found another floor spacer, this time with Arkansas’ Isaiah Joe.
For a shooting specialist, Joe’s conversion rates during his sophomore season at Arkansas might sound alarm sirens for some (36.7 percent from the field, 34.2 percent from outside). Others, though, viewed them like a coupon discounting one of the draft’s top snipers.
“A drop in shooting percentages hurt Isaiah Joe’s stock, making him one of the best value picks of 2020,” Wasserman wrote. “He still buried threes at a ridiculous rate with picturesque mechanics and fluidity.”
Joe’s offensive bag features every long-range look in the book. He can full-speed sprint around a screen and immediately catch-and-launch, or he can find his own shots by dribbling into step-backs and pull-ups.
The Sixers shouldn’t ask him to do much more offensively than shoot, so it’s imperative he increases his strength so as not to become a target at the defensive end.
After addressing spacing with their earlier picks and the trades for Danny Green and Seth Curry, the Philadelphia 76ers sent their athleticism into overdrive with DePaul’s Paul Reed.
Reed plays a loud game when he’s engaged. He flies around the floor defensively, using every bit of his 6’9”, 220-pound frame to wreak havoc. If that activity creates a transition chance, he can dazzle with above-the-rim flushes or nimble Eurosteps and spin moves.
He gets in trouble when he tries to do too much, and he’ll need to curtail that quickly as he encounters more defenders who are on his level (or above it) athletically. It also isn’t clear how much, if any, spacing he’ll provide. He made 34 threes in 93 collegiate contests, though he did shoot an encouraging 73.9 percent at the free-throw line.
21. Philadelphia 76ers (via OKC): SG Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky
I’m not sure I love Philadelphia adding another non-shooter because Maxey was inefficient beyond the arc at Kentucky. But NBA scouts and people at Kentucky believe he can improve on that skill in time. But he can really play basketball and had some big games, and if he solves that shooting issue, he’ll be a good player. And he was the second-best player on my big board. Grade: B+
49. Philadelphia 76ers: SG Isaiah Joe, Arkansas
He’s a great catch-and-shoot threat with deep range who was regarded as one of the best shooters in college hoops before a down sophomore season. Had him as a top-25 talent so the 76ers are getting a steal. Grade: A
58. Philadelphia 76ers (via LAL): PF Paul Reed, DePaul
Daryl Morey does it again, selecting an analytics darling who somehow slipped to No. 58. Reed averaged a double-double last season but profiles as an all-around defensive weapon with great size and untapped scoring potential. Grade: A-
21. Philadelphia 76ers (from Oklahoma City Thunder): Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
This is a great combination of team fit and best player available for Philadelphia. Maxey is a combo guard who can play on and off the ball and defend at a high level. The only reason that he’s not a lottery pick is that he’s 6-foot-3 and won’t be a primary ball handler in the NBA. But playing next to Ben Simmons, he won’t have to be. He’ll be able to defend point guards while serving as a secondary playmaker. Don’t worry too much about him shooting 29 percent from 3. Shooting 83.3 percent from the free throw line is a better indicator of his potential from deep.
21. Philadelphia 76ers - Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
This feels like the best value pick of the first round. Maxey is a perfect fit in Philadelphia as an aggressive guard who shines attacking the rim and playing physical point of attack defense with a 6’6 wingspan. While he didn’t shoot the ball as well as expected in college, he was a great free throw shooter who should improve from three-point range in time. For now, Maxey’s touch on floaters and his ability to contort his body for tough finishes at the rim will be a nice addition next to Ben Simmons’ oversized playmaking at the four. Maxey deserved to be a lottery pick, but he found a great home on the Sixers. Daryl Morey knows what he’s doing.
Philadelphia 76ers: A-
Philadelphia is beginning to re-tool its roster with Daryl Morey at the helm, and the Sixers’ draft night suggests a smooth transition into the Doc Rivers era. Philly added Seth Curry in a trade with the Mavericks, and they’ll add another quality guard with Tyrese Maxey. The Kentucky product should fit in well next to Ben Simmons, likely slotting in as a two-guard at the pro level. Maxey is tough and versatile. He should bring some much-needed pace to Philadelphia’s second unit. After a disastrous 2019-20, Morey and Rivers could very well lead the Sixers to their second Finals this century next season.
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