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Wing Prospects - Draft 2022

The top names connected to the Sixers at pick #23 have been EJ Liddell and Jalen Williams. Both players represent the glaring need for the Sixers to improve the wing. But, in addition to these two players, this draft is extremely deep on the wing. So here is a collection of alternatives that the Sixers should be interested in.

1. The players who will likely be selected before the Sixers:

Tari Eason - LSU, SF/PF - 6'8" in shoes, 7'2" wingspan

Eason is a terrific defender with plenty of 3-and-D upside. His age is easily his biggest weakness, since he is already 21. Despite that, he has consistently been projected to be selected above the other players on this list. He has the potential to carve out a significant role similar to Mikal Bridges, who was also drafted at age 21. His more likely projection is still a very solid role player. His length and defensive potential is something the Sixers roster sorely lacks.

Malaki Branham - OSU, SG/SF - 6'5.5" in shoes, 6'10" wingspan

Branham has one of the most complete offensive packages of the entire draft. He's already an efficient 3-level scorer at age 19. He hasn't shown much defensively, but has the length and size to improve on that end. The Sixers need bench scoring, length and energy. The other wing players here bring more energy on both ends, but Branham easily has the most scoring potential and at least has great length as well.

Kendall Brown - Baylor, SF/PF - 6'7.5" in shoes, 6'11" wingspan

Brown is an electric 19 year old finisher who brings a ton of athleticism. He has a long way to go as both a scorer and a reliable defender. If the Sixers roster had fewer needs, his athleticism would be a worthwhile addition. But he may be not be a great first addition for the Sixers since they need more bench scoring right now.

Jeremy Sochan - Baylor, PF - 6'9", 7'0" wingspan

Sochan joins Brown out of Baylor as a fellow 19 year old freshman. He's less flashy and productive than Brown, but he he does the little things well inside. He's a better defender than Brown but is really unproductive offensively. This is another player that probably makes more sense on a rebuilding team that can give him time to develop.

2. The players who could be traded back for:

Wendell Moore - Duke, 6'5.5" in shoes, 7'0.5" wingspan

Moore has one of the most NBA-ready role player packages, but he is rightfully listed lower on most boards because he is almost 21 years old and was really underwhelming in his freshman and sophomore seasons. What he did to improve in his junior season was truly impressive though, as he developed a legitimate outside shot. He has been a great free throw shooter his whole career, so his improved outside shot is likely sustainable. He also has a shot to be the best on-ball perimeter defender of this entire draft. He checks off all the boxes for the Sixers: athletic, can shoot, above average length and defense, energy provider. Based on most boards, Moore would be a reach at #23, but he could contribute for the Sixers right now, so he should be high on their board.

Jabari Walker - CU, 6'8" in shoes, 6'10.75" wingspan

Walker would really only be a target if the Sixers acquire a 2nd round pick, but he has decent potential as a bench stretch 4. He doesn't yet look like an NBA player but he has a shot at developing into a solid role player. He would be a project for a Sixers team that's looking to win now.

3. The "two first names" player:

Dalen Terry - Arizona, 6'7.25" in shoes 7'0.75" wingspan

Terry is a big point guard rather than a wing, but he has all the characteristics of a wing who can contribute right now. He's long, athletic, explosive in transition and was all-defense in the PAC 12. He has a great assist-to-turnover ratio so he has playable skills that can be relied on while he further develops his shot, which is mediocre but improvable. He is projected at the end of the 1st, early 2nd, so it would be reasonable for the Sixers to select him at #23. Most importantly, he has two first names.

Summary:

The main takeaway from these breakdowns is that there are many players worth targeting in this draft. In fact, this may be the deepest draft on the wing we've ever seen. The Sixers roster may benefit more from drafting two wings, rather than trying to find wings around the league via trades and signings. While the Sixers are in win-now mode, several of these prospects can contribute today. One of the forwards projected above #23 may fall to the Sixers, but frankly they may not even be the best prospects for the Sixers, given the time most of them need to develop.

Grandpa's preferred draft outcome for the Sixers:

Firstly, select Dalen Terry with pick #23. Slot him in on day 1 as the bench point guard. Will Rivers want to do this? Of course not. But he should. And Cassell can develop him into a very good point guard. Terry will immediately bring energy, length, defense and creation for others. The potential is there for Terry to eventually join Maxey as a great long term backcourt duo for the Sixers.

Secondly, make a trade to also acquire Wendell Moore. Either let a team draft him and then trade for him (using future 2nd round picks and/or a player). Or simply trade with a team like Memphis to select him at pick #29 (Memphis makes sense as a trade partner since they already have pick #22 and a ton of wings). This would be another rookie who can contribute on day 1, due to his age, length and defensive talent. He can be the Sixers version of Bruce Brown fairly quickly if his junior year was not a fluke.

Terry and Moore may not be forwards, but they both have elite length as perimeter players. Because of their top end length and defensive skills, they'll be able to switch 1 through 4 against most teams. Both will need to prove they can score at the NBA level but they seem to have the drive and potential to get there. Because of all their other skills, both will be able to contribute right away even if the shots aren't yet falling. They should also both be very easy to acquire because of how many solid players have been projected ahead of them.

The Sixers shouldn't shy away from these rookies in favor of mediocre veterans. The future is as important as the present. Hopefully the coach and GM feel that way too.

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