The Philadelphia 76ers have been eliminated from the 2021 NBA playoffs, so that means it’s time to look forward to the 2021 NBA Draft. The Sixers are outside of the draft lottery, picking at no. 28 overall — the backend of the first round. The Sixers also have one pick in the second round at no. 50 overall. While Philly may look to shake things up this offseason and Daryl Morey has never been shy about trading draft picks, it doesn’t hurt to think about who among incoming rookies could fit the team best should they stand pat and make a pick at 28. So without further ado, let’s take a look at our first mock draft roundup of the 2021 draft season.
Jared Butler was referred to a fitness to play panel at the combine after undergoing medical exams in Chicago, so his stock is in limbo as we wait to learn more. If he’s cleared, he’s a clear first-round talent, though. Butler was the Final Four MOP for title-winning Baylor whose court vision, creation skills and above-average 3-point shooting makes him uniquely positioned to contribute to a Philly team that is in dire need of everything he can bring to the table.
Abmas would represent another step in adding more scoring options to the 76ers’ rotation. He ranked as the most efficient half-court scorer in college basketball, largely thanks to his ability to make difficult shots from beyond the arc operating out of pick-and-roll. His range, savvy and speed should also allow him to see time playing off the ball.
The player: McBride is one of my favorites in this class. He’s lightning quick laterally and is elite at the point of attack defensively. His game is all about pressure. He attacks the opposing ballhandler, then attacks when he has the ball on offense. When West Virginia switched to more of a four-out offense in the second half of the year, McBride thrived and looked like a potential high-level backup. He could become a starter if his jumper off the bounce continues to come along.
McBride was as decorated a college player as you’ll find this past season, a first-team All-American who has worked his way into a genuine draft prospect over the last two years. He’s a 6-3 scoring guard who can knock down shots from the outside, both directly off the catch and off the pull-up. He averaged nearly 17 points per game while shooting almost 42 percent from 3 and taking tough shots too. Plus, he was All-Defense in the Big 12 and generally does a good job of playing within scheme and locking down opposing players.
The fit: The 76ers continue to need more shooting around Joel Embiid, whether Ben Simmons is there or not. GM Daryl Morey, of all people, will certainly continue to value perimeter scoring. McBride is a terrific defender and playmaker who can make an impact early off the bench. He also hit over 40 percent from 3 this year.
What will the Sixers do with Ben Simmons? That’s the question on everyone’s mind. We might know by draft night. Regardless of what they choose to do about Simmons, the Sixers would benefit from adding more wing defenders who can fill multiple roles. Robinson-Earl can space the floor or roll to the rim when sharing the floor with Joel Embiid, and he also has potential to fill a small-ball role in lineups without him. Robinson-Earl may not have major potential, but steady role players are critical for teams with championship aspirations.
Prkačin is a 6’9 forward with shooting potential (35 percent from deep on 160 attempts) and creativity as a ball handler in the open court. Prkačin doesn’t turn 19 years old until late November, which makes him the youngest player in this draft class. With a solid all-around skill set, good size, and impressive production playing against grown men in the Adriatic League at such a young age, Prkačin is an ideal draft-and-stash candidate at some point in the late first or early second round.
Of the prospects listed above, who would you prefer the Sixers select?
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