The college basketball season is officially over, with Baylor University sitting at the top of the mountain after a dominating win over Gonzaga in this year’s national championship game. Tons of players stood out during this year’s tournament, with many becoming potential first-round picks. Luckily for the Sixers, they can look to take advantage of these great performances and draft a difference maker at the end of the first round.
Here are the players who could be available.
Pick Projection: 27th overall
Players to Watch
Cameron Thomas, LSU (SG): Few players in all of college basketball can score the ball more effectively than Cameron Thomas, which he continued to show throughout March Madness. In his freshman season, Thomas averaged 23 points per game, becoming the go-to scorer the Tigers were looking for in short order. While he only shot 32 percent from three-point range, Thomas was unafraid to let it fly, averaging just over seven attempts from deep.
The Sixers have a lot of depth at the guard position at the moment but things change quickly. We’ve heard names like Shake Milton, Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle come up in trade talks before, so grabbing another pure scorer could make one of the guards already on the roster expendable in the search for another star player on the trade block.
Terrence Shannon Jr, Texas Tech (SG/SF): In his two years as a Red Raider Terrence Shannon Jr. has shown the top-tier athleticism that will allow him to become a difference maker at the next level. He took a step forward as an offensive threat in his sophomore year, averaging 12.9 points per game and shooting the ball more frequently, going from 1.2 three-point attempts per game as a freshman to 3 attempts as a sophomore. While the shot isn’t all the way there yet he has shown flashes of it becoming a more consistent secondary weapon that defenses will have to be aware of, as well as his ability to drive to the net.
Terrence Shannon Jr y'all. the shooting is still a work in progress but the POA & events creation is real fun. pic.twitter.com/pGmgTJb0bz— PD Web (@abovethebreak3) December 23, 2020
Terrence Shannon Jr. is a hard worker on both sides of the ball, and he’s got an NBA ready body that will allow him to guard multiple positions right from the get go. The Sixers could use more pure athleticism on the wing and that is exactly what Shannon Jr. will bring to the team, if he's available when the Sixers are on the clock they need to take a long look at him.
Kai Jones, C (Texas): It’s no secret that the Sixers have struggled to find a solid backup center for superstar Joel Embiid in the past. This year the team has used Dwight Howard in that role and while he has been great the team should be looking for more of a long-term solution. Should Kai Jones be available when the Sixers are on the clock, they should be running their card up to the podium to draft him. The sophomore took a big step forward for the Texas Longhorns this season even though he wasn’t a consistent starter, something not many can say. His averages of 8.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1 block per game don't exactly jump off the page, but when you watch him in action it’s hard not to be incredibly excited about his potential at the next level.
12 points, two 3s, one steal in the first half for Kai Jones: pic.twitter.com/AGW0SVurSq— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) January 2, 2021
A player of Jones’ size simply should not be able to get up and down the floor like he does. He is a threat on both ends and separates himself from the other center prospects because of his capability as a transition scorer. It feels like Kai Jones is around the ball on every single play. His fingerprints are truly all over the game even if the stats don’t always show it.