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Daniel Olinger’s 2021 NBA Draft Day Notebook

The time has come.

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA Draft day is here, and though I don’t have a 1-60 NBA Draft Board for you, I have a rundown of many a prospect who could end up in a Philadelphia 76ers jersey by the end of the night, be it through picks 28, 50, 53, or even another trade Daryl Morey might have up his sleeve. Let the Draft Day fun begin!!!

Players Scouted:

Kessler Edwards / Pepperdine / 6’8”, 203 lbs / 21.9 years old

Full article breakdown of Kessler Edwards on Liberty Ballers.

Sixers Draft Podcast with PD Web on Kessler Edwards.

  • 146-for-374 (39.0 percent) on threes over three seasons, 38.3 percent this past year.
  • Can shoot from a standstill and comes from the JJ Redick school of being a devastating shooter while running to his right. Can’t do the same while moving left, but movement shooting is a great strength for him.
  • Only knock against his jumper is that it looks super funky, but he’s been a good shooter year-after-year.
  • Can’t create his own off-the-dribble advantage, especially while driving left where he often picks up dribble the moment he sees a stunt or dig. However, can attack closeouts well w/ his right, and has a variety of options such as a dead stop pull-up jumper, morphing his initial blow-by into a post-up turnaround, and some acceptable at-rim finishes.
  • Trusted enough as a ball handler to run some inverted pick and rolls at Pepperdine.
  • Positionally capable of guarding positions 1.5 through 4 (1.5 meaning basically slower and below averaged lead guards), doesn’t get caught trailing or moving laterally alongside drivers and almost always has his hands up, decently quick too.
  • Very weak in his upper body, either gets mauled by burly centers or can’t leverage strength against smaller players.
  • Bottom Line - To me, the absolute cleanest fit with the Sixers. Low usage, high efficiency piece who can become even more. His “reasonable floor” is a playable backup wing. His ceiling can be a movement shooting weapon that adds unbelievable value to the Sixers’ half court offense.

Sharife Cooper / Auburn / 6’1”, 180 lbs / 20.1 years old

  • I don’t know how else to say it besides that Sharife is un-freaking-believable at the things he’s best at. Impossible to keep out of the paint with his ability to effortlessly change directions with the ball in his hands, non-sensical strength and stability in spite of his size, and game-breaking lob passes.
  • Seriously, he’s great at transition passes, dump down after faking floaters, and crosscourt reads, but he’s likely a top-five lob passer in the NBA from day one. Auburn’s setup in their twelve games with Sharife were just him plus four hyper athletic dudes who didn’t like dribbling and just wanted the ball in his hands at all times, leading to a million thunderous baseline cuts for dunks every minute.
  • Shot is a work in progress. He went 13-for-57 (22.8 percent) on threes at Auburn and leans way too far back on his attempts, though his willingness to take them is a good sign. Also shot 82.5 percent on free throws and took an astounding 103 of them in 12 games. Just about impossible for a college defense to stay in front of him with his handle and passing manipulation skills.
  • Defensively is not even that bad in terms of positional awareness or quickness of feet, but he’s just too small and doesn’t have the springy, lighting quick twitch of a Trae Young to disrupt passing lanes off ball. Cooper pretty much can’t do anything to bother anyone in the paint on defense, leaving his only non-negative being his strength to hold with guards on the perimeter.
  • Think about Cooper as Tyrese Maxey but with the concerns and strengths all turned up ten notches. Not super portable on offense because his best value is with the ball in his hands, defensively just has to be a concern due to how small he is, and the jump shot needs improvement.
  • Ben Pfeifer put it best on our own Jackson Frank’s podcast, The House that Hinkie Built. “The question is not if Sharife is good or not, it’s whether Sharife in the NBA works.” Everyone knows he’s good, it’s just more a question of funneling the half court offense all toward a guy like Cooper, and to what extent are you successful as a team after that.
  • Bottom Line - The fit with the Sixers isn’t great. I don’t know if he and Maxey could ever play in a lineup together. But if he’s miraculously there at 28, I think you pull the trigger. He can add that much value on offense with his top tier passing and ball handling.

Jared Butler / Baylor / 6’3”, 193 lbs / 20. 9 years old

Sixers Draft Podcast with Aneesh Namburi and Kevin Rice on Jared Butler.

  • Speaking of versatile offense, ooooooooooh boy does Butler bring it.
  • On-ball he has incredible balance and shiftiness with his handle. Sells everyone of his moves and has violent change of direction skills. Off-ball he’s very smart about when to drag and flare to corners and shoots quickly over contests with relative ease. 214-for-558 (38.4 percent over three seasons) on threes years, 77-for-185 on threes (41.6 percent) this past season.
  • Passing isn’t game-breaking but it’s a plus. Knows that teams react to the threat of him as a scorer and can manipulate that to find really good dump downs.
  • Just not super tall and is limited on defense at times. Not bad, but can get caught off-ball and doesn’t have elite recovery tools. Lateral mobility and upper body and core strength are positives, though.
  • Only five dunks this past year despite being near 6’4” in shoes, just doesn’t have quick or high-end vertical burst.
  • Bottom Line - The versatile goodness of Butler is too appealing to pass up. Put him in any competent offense with additional advantage creators like Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris, and he can thrive.

Trey Murphy III / Virginia / 6’9”, 206 lbs / 21.1 years old

Full Article breakdown of Trey Murphy III on Liberty Ballers.

  • 183-for-452 (40.5 percent) on threes over three seasons in college and 43.3 percent this past year
  • Deadeye from a standstill and can backpedal as a pick-and-roll popper, but not versatile outside of that. Almost never shoots threes off the dribble (94.2 percent of threes were assisted this last year), and cannot move violently off dribble hand-offs and pin downs into threes.
  • Has the quick twitch ability to move with quicker forwards and the occasional guard on defense and with his shooting prowess can punish teams w/ timely backdoor cuts.
  • Strength is very lacking, can be moved off his spots on the few drives he does have and can’t bang with burly centers who will just bury him under the basket. Does the John Collins tendency where he gets overly handsy to compensate and can rack up fouls.
  • Has a tendency to almost always drive and dribble with his left despite being right handed, indicative of his proclivity to shoot jumpers over all other options, always looking for a time to pull rather than to finish at the rim or rack up fouls (only 47 at-rim attempts and 41 free throw attempts in 25 games this past year)
  • Bottom Line - Superb standstill shooting and size makes him a viable backup four option for the Sixers, but his limitations keep him at just that. I don’t see how he gets much better than prime Mike Scott.

Chris Duarte / Oregon / 6’6”, 190 lbs / 24.1 years old

  • Get it out of the way now — the oldest prospect in the draft by far, and that’s a problem.
  • Good at so many different things on offense. Capable of running pick-and-rolls, beating a man from a standstill with his jab steps and violent head-down driving, can catch and shoot from three off shakes and cuts, and while not a phone booth explosive athlete, can get up and jam when necessary.
  • As Draft Twitter’s king PD Web noted, off-hand mastery is important for some of the less vertically explosive guards, and Duarte is already a master. Dude will hold defenders with his left when he has an advantage and flat out whack them to keep his advantage.
  • 108-for-284 (38.0 percent) on threes in two seasons at Oregon, but 42.4 percent on 144 attempts this past season. Prefers to be moving/dribbling to the left while shooting.
  • Has the strength to bang with some bigger players on defense and not an automatic blow-by, but the closeouts can get really sloppy and bad at times.
  • Handle and rim pressure is not good enough for him to justify more than the occasional side pick and roll.
  • Bottom line - Unlikely that he reaches 28 based on most mock drafts, but a good target for a team like the Sixers should he fall. Versatility on offense is the name of the game, and Duarte offers it even if he’s not a significant raw value adder and may struggle defensively.

Jaden Springer / Tennessee / 6’4”, 202 lbs / 18.8 years old

  • Second youngest prospect in the class behind Alabama’s Josh Primo.
  • A physical tank who can guard up against bigger forwards on defense and can barrel through skinny dudes on the offensive end. Has violent and powerful hips.
  • As Draft Twitter has pointed out to no end, he’s exclusively a two foot leaper. Doesn’t have the craft to navigate through tight spaces, and as PD Web pointed out on his “Let’s Watch Film” Twitch stream, he could benefit from studying off-hand karate masters Malcolm Brogdon and Dillon Brooks. Non-explosive vertical dudes need to find ways to maintain advantages.
  • Not a flashy passer, but contorts to find dump downs and kick outs in creative ways. Does have a weird tendency where he jump stops, then has to rise to full elevation in the air to make his passes, even on some basic post entries.
  • Shot well from three (43.5 percent) but only on 46 attempts and has a bit of a slow release.
  • Bottom Line - I don’t think there’s any way he’s still available at 28, but stranger things have happened. Along with Butler, Edwards, and Cooper, he’d be one of my “you have to take him if he’s there” picks for the Sixers.

Cam Thomas / LSU / 6’4”, 210 lbs / 19.8 years old

  • Will be labeled as a “bucket getter” by any and all people who have watched him.
  • Physical strength is a big plus, can just fight his way to the rim through the trees in the paint.
  • Has a very weird trait where despite being a righty shooter he holds the ball on the left side of his body while shooting and prefers to drive and get left almost every time he drives.
  • Points toes straight to the opposite sideline while shooting from three almost every time. Just very weird in his footwork and alignment, but he gets height on his jumpers and rotates mid-air.
  • Generational grifter who took 224 free throws in 29 games.
  • All of LSU was bad on defense, but he was even worse. When engaged on the ball has the strength to not get destroyed, but a mess off the ball, and actually is the worst transition defender I think I’ve seen. Takes no-hearted, fruitless swipes at the ball that I swear have never worked once. It’s just a guaranteed negative for him in my eyes.
  • Not a passer of playmaker at this point
  • Bottom Line - I think Cam could turn into a good off-ball shooter with his shot hunting prowess and ability to square himself mid-air, but the Sixers already have a small, movement shooter in Seth Curry. Would not be my pick.

Miles McBride / West Virginia / 6’2.5”, 195 lbs / 20.9 years old

Sixers Draft Podcast on Miles McBride with CJ Marchesani.

  • Nicknamed “Deuce”, which is automatic bonus points because that’s an awesome nickname.
  • His 54 percent True Shooting is bad and he took a lot of bad mid-range shots, but that might be more context than anything. Was asked by WVU to create off the dribble because no one else could, similar to Shake Milton having to operate for the Sixers’ bench lineups this past year.
  • Very good spot-up shooter who went 41.4 percent from three on 111 attempts this past year. Not a dynamic movement shooter but can shake and flare for threes.
  • Awesome transition hit-ahead passer, but passing in the half court is limited and more reactionary.
  • Can mash little dudes in the post and elevates well.
  • Defensively has a crazy long wingspan, a lot of dense strength, and great ground coverage, but gets way too aggressive on the ball at times and gives up penetration. Also too willing to let his man get parallel with him instead of trying to stop opponents by forcing them to run into his chest.
  • Bottom Line - Lack of great decision making with the ball in his hands along with his small stature means he wouldn’t be my first pick, but I’d understand it at 28 still.

Tre Mann / Florida / 6’4”, 178 lbs / 20.5 years old

Sixers Draft Podcast on Tre Mann with Mark Schindler.

  • Space creation, space creation, space creation. Mann has the ball on an absolute string and own the nastiest snatch back dribble in the entire class.
  • Shot 45-for-112 on threes this season (40.2 percent) after shooting only 27.5 percent from three on 80 attempts as a freshman at Florida. Most were unassisted again as he has was trusted to create from both isolations and out of ball screen actions.
  • Not much of a playmaker for teammates. Capable of decent reactive passes and dump downs, but not picking apart defenses and punishing them for mistakes. Also has a tendency to throw almost every pass in transition with one hand.
  • Not much of an off-ball mover, less portable due to his need to have the ball in his hands.
  • Only shot 59.7 percent at the rim on 77 attempts and took fewer than 4 free throws per game despite soaking up a ton of on-ball reps. Just not explosive enough to burst through holes and loses his open court shiftiness in a congested paint.
  • Defensively capable, but can fall asleep at times, and with his skinny frame and limited burst as a guard, that can’t happen. Does try to hunt weak side charges as a low defender.
  • Bottom Line - The shot creation potential is very tempting, and if he turns into a nuclear off the dribble shooter he’s at the very least a super helpful offensive piece in important playoff and half court contexts. But that kind of has to happen for Tre Mann to truly work, if not, I don’t think he’s much more than a rotational guard.

Nah’Shon Hyland / VCU / 6’3.5”, 169 lbs / 20.9 years old

  • Do you like hang gather slides into 30-foot pull-ups? Well so does Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland.
  • Shot “only” 37.1 percent from deep but on a ludicrous 186 attempts, and while doing a lot off the dribble, he also functions well off-ball flaring out for threes and knowing when to sink into spaces for good looks. Per BartTorvik, 66.7 percent of his three-point makes were assisted.
  • Very skinny and it hurts him on both ends. Offensively he can struggle to get downhill when stronger dudes get into him, and defensively he just has a lot of plays without impact because he’s too light to make opponents feel him.
  • Passing in transition is very good, passing in the half court needs work, more reactive than manipulative in that setting.
  • Bottom Line - The plus shot-making and flexibility in operating both on and off ball kind of insulates him as a plus on that end, though the lack of strength and weird frame with his super long arms kind of limits just how many on-ball reps you can give him. Not my favorite pick at 28, but would not mind it.

Quentin Grimes / Houston / 6’5”, 210 lbs / 21.2 years old

  • Took a ridiculous 248 attempts from three and canned 40.3 percent of them this past year. Good on catch and shoots, more comfortable shaking and sliding to the left than to his right while preparing for a shot, and though not a dynamic off the dribble guy, he can surely do it.
  • Defensively has a weird habit of over helping from one pass away, then closing out too hard with his chopping steps and giving up an advantage to the driver.
  • Size is a big plus. Very strong so that he can guard on-ball well and hold positions vs other attackers.
  • Uses that strength to put pick and roll guard defenders in jail, and from that position he then can turn into a good passer and game reader.
  • Does not get to the rim very much and cannot slither through tight spaces all too well.
  • Bottom Line - I think the “Sixers always need shooting” narrative is overused, but I understand that Grimes is pretty plug-and-playable with his baseline of size and spot up marksmanship. Not my first choice, but an understandable one.

Joshua Primo / Alabama / 6’5”, 189 lbs / 18.6 years old

  • Shooting and youth baby (literally the youngest prospect in the draft).
  • Shot 43-for-113 on threes this past season (38.1 percent), and mechanics and variety of the attempts are encouraging. Played as the third or fourth guy in most of Alabama’s lineups too, so he can scale into that role pretty well in the NBA with a team like the Sixers.
  • Not a movement shooter hunter and not dynamic enough to have the ball in his hands a ton.
  • At-rim finishing and his foul drawing need to improve.
  • Just not a ton of tape on him and had an unusual context at Alabama as a member of a good college team with other fringe NBA prospects and a “no middies” philosophy.
  • Bottom Line - I have probably not seen quite enough of Primo to have a definitive evaluation, but he’s interesting and can at least help on offense right away with his shooting.

David Johnson / Louisville / 6’5”, 203 lbs / 20.4 years old

  • Capable of running pick and rolls and has good cross court vision. Passing wings are a very enticing archetype.
  • Basically didn’t shoot threes at all in his 2019-20 season, then went 38.6 percent on just over four attempts per game this last season. Pretty rigid and can’t really shoot off movement, and also has a noticeably wide base when shooting, but might be good enough to justify strong closeouts that he can exploit.
  • At his best when he’s given an advantage and can bang with smaller guards inside the arc and use his strength, then uses his height and vision to dissect defenses with passes.
  • Defense is good enough with his length and strength, but I think he could improve in terms of positioning and activity. Also has a bad tendency for weak one-handed swipes and digs that result in dumb fouls.
  • Bottom Line - I get the idea behind him, but I feel like he really needs the ball in certain stretches to return value, and someone who isn’t super wired to score and create advantage like him isn’t the guy I would give that to. Trade back into the early 30s and I think it’s a solid pick.

Joel Ayayi / Gonzaga / 6’5”, 180 lbs / 21.4 years old

Sixers Draft Podcast on Joel Ayayi with Jackson Frank.

  • Unique prospect who got to play in a role that gave him the most efficient routes to offense possible, clocking in a ridiculous 66 percent True Shooting this past season. Ayayi functioned as the fourth option on one of the best offenses in college basketball history.
  • The best backdoor cutter in the class by a wide margin. Turned into a reliable spot-up shooter (38.9 percent on threes on a decent number of attempts at 95 on the season).
  • Absolute menace of a rebounder as a guard/wing who averaged around 6.9 per game despite playing with a lot of capable bigs at Gonzaga.
  • Handle is a little lacking in tight spaces, and his vertical burst is not easily activated in congested areas of the court.
  • Bottom Line - Unfortunately, Ayayi falls right in that range where there are just enough off-the-dribble bets that are probably better picks than him, but also he’s far too good to fall anywhere past the 30s. If the Sixers could somehow move back into the early 30s with a trade, I think he’d be a great pick.

Isaiah Livers / Michigan / 6’7”, 232 lbs / 23 years old

Article breakdown on Isaiah Livers for Liberty Ballers.

  • Livers shot 162-for-396 on threes (40.3 percent) over a long four-year career, while also swerving around the perimeter to hunt out those shots. He’s not just a catch-and-shoot banger, but can be used along the arc in a multitude of ways. Movement shooters with size baby!!!
  • Foot speed is a minus on both ends, can’t stay with shifty, downhill attackers, and can’t really attack the rim a ton himself due to his low end speed (only 49 rim attempts in 2021).
  • Missed the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA Tournament games with a very undisclosed foot injury. Health could be a concern for sure.
  • Good connecting passer, which is helpful as he’s much more likely to be the fourth or fifth option in an NBA lineup and not someone commanding on-ball reps.
  • Can guard up a few spots with his strength defensively.
  • Bottom Line - I honestly wouldn’t hate him at pick 28, but realistically the Sixers could target him at 50 or 53, and as a shooting wing, I’d love him at that spot for Philly.

Sam Hauser / Virginia / 6’8”, 217 las / 23.5 years old

Sixers Draft Podcast on Sam Hauser with Francis (@beenthrifty on Twitter).

  • All that was just said about Isaiah Livers kind of applies to Hauser, just turned up a few notches in both the positive and the negatives.
  • Just an out of this world shooter who made over 43 percent of his attempts on over 704 attempts over four college seasons at Marquette and Virginia. Not just static catch-and-shoots either. He can shoot moving both ways, off the dribble with hang gathers and step backs, and off of creative backpedals. Contests don’t usually matter with his size and high release point.
  • Knows how good of a shooter he is at all times. If a defender’s hand is too low on his right side, he’s pulling. If he has a slow and tall dude on him (read: Matthew Hurt), he’s faking a step back and driving. If he’s ever given space he’s hunting for that shot and that freaks opposing defenses out.
  • Smart passer who could operate in short rolls and in pick and pops as a good decision maker.
  • Like all UVA products, his defense is pretty perfect positionally, but the physical tools are just bad. He’s slow of foot, and though he compensates with good angle taking and physicality, he can’t keep up with quick attackers. Rotates well at the rim, but his contests simply don’t matter due to his lack of length.
  • Bottom Line - Absolutely in love with the idea of him at pick number 50. You’re not getting a star at that pick or a creation upside bet in almost any circumstance, but Hauser seems like a pretty bankable roster piece with his size and shooting.

Matthew Hurt / Duke / 6’9.5”, 232 lbs / 21.3 years old

  • Shot 98-for-233 (42.1 percent) on threes over two seasons at Duke and on ridiculously tough shots. He almost has a Larry Bird style form with multiple motions and it cocked way behind his head. Contests almost don’t matter to him and he can has some capability on the move and off the dribble.
  • Added bulk as a sophomore to bury smaller guys inside and takes it personally if a team puts weaker players on him. Does not let them off the hook.
  • Has super weird foot alignment on almost all of his shots. Can be very far apart or inverted in wonky directions.
  • The lack of movement skills are just damning. He cannot stay in front of any type of decisive driver and doesn’t have the vertical ability to recover and disrupt at the rim.
  • Bottom Line - He can make shots, but he basically has to make them at a ridiculous rate to justify rotation minutes in the league.

Ayo Dosunmu / Illinois / 6’5”, 194 lbs / 21.5 years old

  • Avoid Shai Gilgeous-Alexander comps. Just because they’re both similar sizes with long wingspans and similar-ish hairstyles does not make them akin players.
  • Had a huge shooting jump from three this past year from 29.0 percecnt as a sophomore to 38.6 percent as a junior. Decent spot-up guy and good at doing hang dribble gathers to slide to his right and pull-up when given too much space.
  • Defensively he could run into problems with a lack of foot speed to guard one’s and a lack of strength hold off wings. Not bad, but probably capped at league average defense at his best.
  • Took 174 non-rim two’s this past year, and while that’s very interesting creation potential, he just doesn’t really have good enough touch and separation ability to justify that volume (37.9 percent on those shots per BartTorvik). But also took 174 attempts at the rim and has a way of mashing his way to the interior.
  • Awesome lob passer, which is something the Sixers haven’t had in forever.
  • Bottom Line - If he fell all the way to 50, I’d love him as an tertiary creation bet, but most mocks have him way before that. I wouldn’t take him at 28 due to the lack of burst and shooting touch, and he probably tops out at roughly a Shake Milton in 2021 level.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl / Villanova / 6’9”, 242 lbs / 20.7 years old

  • Physical strength is very good and he knows it. Engages opponents on defense with his chest and can send them backward without fouling.
  • Willing to shoot and has some interesting mid-range face-up flashes, but at 28 percent on only 82 attempts from three, he won’t generate a ton of closeouts.
  • When he does drive, he loves to go to a power-based spin move and attempts to move defenders with his powerful elbows while he keeps two hands on the ball.
  • Bottom Line - If he were a backup “stretch four” the Sixers could get at 50, I’d love him. He’s been mocked more closely to 28, and that’s a little too rich for my tastes. Still a solid rotation bet with his strength and defensive mobility.

MaCio Teague / Baylor / 6’4”, 195 lbs / 24.1 years old

  • Okay, I cheated. Teague is not a real NBA Draft prospect most likely, but I just wanted to mention him because he was an absolute joy to watch at Baylor this past year. Look at these bank shots!!!

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