The Sixers have the 1st, 24th and 26th picks in the upcoming draft, which will be held on June 23rd. Below is my personal big board. It’s definitely stat-heavy, but I’ve seen most of these guys on tape (AKA YouTube). I also played basketball in 7th grade, so I’m definitely a “basketball guy” too.
A couple things:
This is a big board, not a mock draft.
My board represents my rankings if I were Bryan Colangelo, so there are a lot more guards than bigs.
However, there are some big guys that I’d draft anyway. The Kings and Browns draft for fit. The Patriots will draft a QB in the 2nd while Brady still has 5 years left on his contract.
I’m looking forward to looking back on this 5 years from now and seeing how bad it was.
- Ben Simmons- PG/SF/PF, LSU
Good Ol’ Benny Ballplayer. Ben is going to be amazing in transition, and will be tough to stop in the half court. He’s legitimately a 6’10 point guard. I’m really upset that one of his AAU coaches didn’t force him to shoot right handed because that seems to be his natural dominant hand- he finishes less than 5% of his floaters and layups with his left hand. People will point to his free throw shooting (which is still only 67%) and claim that it’s no big deal that he only made one three this year, but I’m concerned that his shot is broken. And it’s tough to be a go to guy when you don’t trust your shot– that scares me. The rest of his game will scare opponents– he’s an awesome rebounder (highest rebound rate among wings), gets to the line a ton (most free throw attempts per game among all players) and has vision that can’t be taught. The character concerns are notable, but I think they are way overblown. He’s not Demarcus Cousins. Simmons was visibly competitive and tuned in during the first half of the season, and Johnny Jones slowly drained the life out of him. LSU was a very dysfunctional team, especially when their best/only shooter, Keith Hornsby, went down. However, those concerns can’t simply be brushed aside either, especially if he comes here without a veteran mentor (Luol Deng maybe?). Simmons is excellent at every aspect of the game, except shooting. Do I wish he could hit threes? Of course. But LeBron and Westbrook had two of the worst shooting three point seasons of all-time this year, and they turned out just fine. So did Magic.
NBA Comps: So many comps.
Floor- Michael Beasley with point guard skills
Middle- a 6’10 Rondo, a Blake Griffin/Lamar Odom hybrid
Ceiling- Magic Johnson
- Brandon Ingram- F, Duke
I had Ingram at 1 for a couple of weeks, but I was overthinking it. One could definitely make an argument for him though — a year younger than Simmons, his wingspan is 3 inches longer, and if you haven’t noticed, he shoots better than Simmons. Straight up, Ingram is not Durant and those comparisons are unfair. He isn’t quick enough to create his own shot like Durant could, and he’s not as good defensively as Durant was in college. Look at their numbers as freshman, and it’s not particularly close. What I love about Ingram is his confidence shooting the 3 for his age and height. He shot it 5.4 times/game at a 41.5% clip. However, as great as he looks shooting the 3, he only shot 68% from the line, which is slightly higher than Ben. Also, most of his 3’s were assisted, which skews his percentages a little. The same could be said for Winslow and Parker – a product of playing in the wide-open Duke offense. Defensively, his STOCK% –steals + blocks– (5.5), is similar to Ben’s (5.6) but Ben has a higher impact on his team defensively because he can guard multiple positions, like Draymond or LeBron. Ingram also isn’t the rebounder or passer that Ben is, although he likely won’t be a liability on either front. I love Ingram, but I’m going with the guy who has a higher upside over the guy who’s the better fit.
NBA Comp: Floor- Tayshaun Prince, Ceiling- Paul George
- Dragan Bender- PF, Croatia
Bender is a versatile player who can play stretch 4 or stretch 5. He’s the youngest player in the draft, and that’s a Big Effin Deal. Bender is smart and skilled. Although he doesn’t have an elite skill, he’s very good at almost everything– shooting, rebounding, shot-blocking, passing. Scouts love his ability to defend the perimeter. He’s not the toughest player yet, but he’s just a kid. Toughness comes with age. Bender’s stock will likely benefit from Kristap’s early success, although Bender doesn’t have the offensive polish and ceiling Kristaps boasts. He likely comes over this season, so expect him to go at 3.
NBA Comp: Kristaps/Joakim Noah hybrid
- Kris Dunn- PG, Providence
Dunn (and the 5 guys ranked after him) are closer to mid-to-late lottery guys in an average draft. Your opinion of Dunn depends on how much you value defense from your point guard. I think I do more than others, because I think it makes a difference when the game slows down come playoff time (PLAYOFFS?!?!). He’s the second best defensive guard prospect in this class, and his shooting isn’t all that bad (37% from 3, although his 69.5 FT% suggests he’s not great). High AST and TOV%, but that’s because he was the only creator on his team. He should be above average in transition and below average in the half court. He’s not a consistent enough a shooter to play off-ball, and not good enough a distributor to be a great on-ball point guard. The only guy I can think of who fit that criteria and became a star is Wade, but I’m not willing to bank on that. He’s also the same age as Noel.
NBA Comp: Reggie Jackson
- Timothe Luwawu- SG/SF, Serbia
From here on out, most players should be evaluated based on role-player potential (with a few exceptions). Luwawu’s a dude that will probably be drafted mid-to-late-lottery, so he’s unlikely to go to the Sixers. But he’s the exact type of player we need. Tall (6’7) and skilled, but someone who can play at the 2 and 3. He’s improved as a scorer and can dish the ball pretty well, too. Solid rebounder and defender with offensive potential. He’s one of those guys that is picked because of that potential, not necessarily production. And I’ll admit, this ranking has a lot to do with the consensus among basketball experts I trust, but I didn’t feel good about anybody else after him.
NBA Comps: Floor- Thabo Sefolosha, Ceiling- Andre Iguodala
- Denzel Valentine- SG/SF, Michigan State
Denzel has clear strengths and weaknesses. His offensive numbers jump off the page. He’s the best shooter over 6’5 (highest 3pt and FT%). He has the highest assist rate among all players (45.5%) and a low turnover rate (although he had relatively high rates before this season). He’s got all the intangibles. But like Ingram and Durant, comparing Valentine to Draymond Green is unfair — I doubt he can a top 30 player in this league because he’s not a very good defender. He won’t kill you there, but he won’t add anything. Denzel also lacks explosiveness so he rarely gets to the line (3.1 FTA/g). He has the second lowest stock% (STL% + BLK%) among wings. And of course, age has to factor in here. Valentine is still a guy I’d love to have, but you need to understand what he is.
NBA Comps: Brandon Roy’s passing, Danny Green’s shooting, Jared Dudley’s slowness. Draymond Green’s Michigan State-ness. Guard version of Boris Diaw?
- Jamal Murray- SG, Kentucky
Murray’s a guy I like in the right role. He found his niche as an off ball guard midway through the season and excelled. Not the playmaker we hoped he would be (12.1 AST%, 12.1 TOV%), and projects to be more of a shooter than a scorer at the next level because he can’t score at the rim. But he seems like he has the intangibles and should be a solid player. To be effective, he’d have to develop point guard skills, like Deron Williams and Chauncey Billups did when they became pros. But his measurables and lack of explosiveness limits his potential. He’ll likely hurt you defensively.
NBA Comps: Floor- Randy Foye, Eric Gordon (middle), Ceiling- Chauncey Billups
- Brice Johnson- PF, North Carolina
Brice is a great 2 way player who led (lead?) UNC to a 1 seed. He is an exceptional rebounder for his size despite being very thin. He’s a senior, but was effective as a freshman (20 pts and 12 rebounds per 40 minutes). His floor is a solid bench big in the NBA with stretch 4 potential. He improved his free throw shooting every year, from 57% his freshman season to 78% his senior season (same exact rate as Jamal Murray). Johnson might present the best blend of individual/team defense in the draft. He would best fit in with a team who likes to run, which hopefully we become. The red flag with him is weight (he weight 20 lbs less than Nerlens), and he lacks handles and passing ability. But Brice fits in fine with Embiid, complements Okafor nicely, and would form a ridiculous defensive combo with Noel while making up for Noel and Jahlil’s rebounding deficiencies, so I’d like him at 24/26 despite the logjam in the frontcourt.
NBA Comp: a more athletic Taj Gibson
- Marquese Chriss- PF, Washington
Chriss has a drop of star potential, and that’s why he’s this high. Chriss’ stock peaked at the right time with an impressive showing in the NIT tournament, where he put up an exciting 27 and 11. He definitely has a steep learning curve but flashes 2 way ability. NBA size at 6’9, 225. Very good individual defender (1st in block rate among wings at 5.8%). Rebounding production was eh- offensive was good but defensive was poor. I think he loved going for the rebound only when there was a put-back opportunity (all about the pointzzz). People are already writing him off as a rebounder- I think it’s too early for that. He doesn’t have any NBA-level offensive skills yet, and his AST and TOV% (6.3 and 14.7, respectively), indicate that he’s got a ways to go. But he’s not even 19, so if he develops a reliable 3 and commits to rebounding, look out, because he seems to have the confidence to succeed.
NBA Comps: Floor- Hakim Warrick, Ceiling- Serge Ibaka
- Wade Baldwin- G, Vanderbilt
Baldwin is another guy that will be drafted based on potential, not production. He turns the ball over a ton and didn’t make the talent on Vanderbilt better, leading to a very brief (and probably undeserved) appearance in the tournament. I don’t like him as a point guard at all. He’s best suited as an off-ball/combo guard because he’s got two way skills and NBA size for both guard spots. He can shoot (80% FT, 40% 3pt) and play guard point guards (6’4 with a 6’10 wingspan). Those are the exact skills you look for in a guy to pair with Simmons. I think there’s enough there for a team in the top 10 to feel good about him. He’s a possible trade-up candidate for the Sixers, especially if he falls.
NBA Comps: Patrick Beverly, George Hill
- Buddy Hield- SG, Oklahoma
Buddy was an awesome shooter at Oklahoma and he’ll be a great shooter in the pros. Some of the shooting numbers he put up this season are ridiculous. The Buddy hype train has slowed down thanks to his 9 point dud vs Nova, but we shouldn’t forget his outstanding performances before that. Think about this: he was the Big 12 POY and could have won most improved player this year, partly because he developed a more all-around game this season (5.7 FTA compared to 3.6 last year). That being said, I think his NBA prospects are way overvalued by the casual basketball fan. He only has one NBA level skill, and to be a star you need more than that. You can’t expect anyone to shoot over 45% from 3. He shot over 50% in the first three months- that’s unheard of and unsustainable. He’s an average defender, although he works his ass off- so he won’t kill you there. What I don’t like about Buddy is his complete lack of passing skills. He turns the ball over a lot and he fell in love with the isolation game despite having two other great shooters around him. I don’t think you can develop those skills as a senior. I love Buddy. He seems like a great dude and is a gamer. But I also loved Adam Morrison and Jimmer. If I’m being realistic, Buddy tops out as a guy who is a top 5 three point shooter and not much else.
NBA Comp: Jodie Meeks (floor), JJ Redick (ceiling)
- Patrick McCaw- SG, UNLV
Nobody watches UNLV basketball, and even those who do probably haven’t noticed McCaw. He’s a 6’6 sophomore shooting guard with really good 3 and D potential. He shot 36% from 3 and 77% from the line and will probably improve, plus he can dish it a little. He’s probably the third best defensive guard behind Dunn and Payton, and the best defensive shooting guard. The defense and two way ability is what sets him apart from the next 3 guys. And if I had balls, I’d put him ahead of Buddy. He’s the king of the steal and score. I’d love him with the MIA/OKC pick.
NBA Comp: Caldwell-Pope
- Malik Beasley- SG, Florida State
Shooting guards, yah bish. In my opinion, the strength of this draft is at the 2 guard position, which works out for us. Beasley’s a freshman guard from Florida State, where he shared a backcourt with another freshman guard, Dwayne Bacon. Beasley has Jimmy Butler type steal potential. He brings the same toughness, energy and scoring that Butler does. He has a great combination of athleticism and shooting. He is dynamite in transition, and provides Violence at the Rim (TM). I think his weaknesses (playmaking ability and defensive diligence) are all partly a product of his age, although those red flags are definitely worth noting. Guys with low AST/TOV ratios and below average defensive numbers usually don’t work out. I’d feel better about him going forward if he got to the rim more, but I still think he’d be a great fit with the Sixers.
NBA Comp: Wes Matthews
- Furkan Korkmaz- SG, Turkey
Like Luwawu, he will likely be selected before the Heat pick, but he’s also 6’7 and a good fit for us. Furkan’s an awesome scorer and shooter. He’s skinny, but he’s another 18 year old so he’s still got time to gain a few lbs. Not a great defender. OK, I’m going to stop pretending like I watched him now. But he played with Saric, so maybe drafting him guarantees he comes over?
NBA Comp: Nik Stauskas with a clutch gene
- Gary Patyon II- PG, Oregon State
The analytics guys have officially talked me into Payton. He’s an awesome rebounder and one of (if not the best) defensive players in this guard class. As a guard, those skills could be overshadowed by his shooting, which hasn’t been good. It might be his fatal flaw at the next level (like MCW), but scouts think he can improve on it. He’s also not the best at creating for his teammates. However, he’s explosive and has shown he can get to the rim and finish, which bodes well for him at the next level. Payton will likely be more effective in the NBA than he was in college because he’ll have other scorers around him and won’t have to carry the team on his back. He’s so great defensively that if he can improve and be an average shooter and ball handler, he’ll be a very effective player. But at 24 years old, it might be too late to improve those skills.
NBA comps- Ronnie Price (floor), Avery Bradley/Mike Conley hybrid (ceiling)
- Jakob Poetl- C, Utah
7 foot 1 true center who can score and rebound in the paint. Not as good a shooter or rebounder as Sabonis, but he’s still solid (69% ft and 18 REB%). He’s an above average shot blocker with a high basketball IQ. I’ll bet my life savings that he won’t be a Sixer.
- Caris LeVert- SG, Michigan
9 shooting guards in the top 17! LeVert is a rich man’s Hollis Thompson. Great shooter (44.6% from 3, 63.6 TS%) and good playmaker (33.3 AST%). Smooooth. Highest PER among guards (28.8). Not a great defender but he’s 6’7 with a wingspan over 7 feet, so he’s disruptive by default. Of course, he can’t stay on the court. His three foot injuries won’t help his below average explosiveness either. Where he falls will likely depend on his medical evaluation pre-draft. But I think he’s a solid fit for us. Closer to Jamal Crawford than Jordan McRae. Feels like a guy Hinkie would get with the MIA/OKC picks, but I think Colangelo avoids the risk.
- Chinanu Onuaku- C, Louisville
I think he’s the best defensive player in the class. Onuaku was an awesome rebounder as well (4th highest rebound rate). Looking strictly at the numbers, his offense needs work- although his field goal percentages and passing skills aren’t bad (actually solid considering his age) and indicate he might have a shot at being a two way player. I love this guy but I don’t think he has a spot on our team unless Nerlens gets traded. If we didn’t have a center logjam, I’d move him into the top 10. Bismack Biyombo’s domination in Game 7 came at a good time for Onuaku, as they are similar prospects.
- Demetrius Jackson- PG, Notre Dame
In hindsight, Jackson probably should have declared last year, although he’s still a likely first round pick. His 3pt % dropped 10 percentage points, but his free throw shooting improved and he was a better passer. Boasts a similar skill set to Lowry offensively. If we get him with the MIA/OKC pick I won’t hate myself.
- Dejounte Murray- G, Washington
The two Washington guys have been getting some luv recently, but something is telling me to throw some cold water on the Dejounte hype. Murray is athletic, raw, wiry, etc, etc. He is great in transition and passes the eye test. But he was such a bad shooter this year (.49 TS%, 29.6% from 3, and not much better from the line). He’ll probably have to be a 2 guard in the NBA, and will likely have trouble fitting on a team that doesn’t love to run. But he’s a great athlete, and has shown hints of being a great player. I don’t think he falls to the mid-twenties.
- Domantas Sabonis- PF, Gonzaga
Very productive sophomore year across the board after a promising freshman season. 17 and 11 and a 27.2 PER. Underrated shooter, 36% from 3 and 77% ft. Great rebounder at the college level, and rebounding usually translates to the NBA. Versatile player- can play old-school 4 and stretch 4. He doesn’t quite have the tools to be a plus defender, but he’s active and quick so that part of his game doesn’t worry me as much.
- Henry Ellenson- PF, Marquette
Ellenson’s a guy I really want to like because he passes the eye test, but the numbers preach caution. He shot 29% from 3pt, mostly due to poor shot selection. He shot 75% from the line and has a nice stroke. Defensively he’s poor to below average. Decent rebounder. He’ll be a stretch 4 in the NBA but his star potential has waned. He’s closer to Spencer Hawes than Kevin Love.
- Jaylen Brown- SF, California
Guys like Jaylen Brown and Skal Labissiere wouldn’t be mocked so high if people weren’t blinded by their preseason ranks. Jaylen has all the athleticism in the world but hasn’t used it yet. Jaylen– I ain’t mad, just disappointed. How are you one of the worst defensive players in the draft class with your athleticism? C’man dude. Besides having an “NBA body”, he does have one other positive trait- getting to the free throw line. He was in the top ten in that category, and everyone else at the top was an upperclassman, so that’s impressive. The problem is he can’t make those free throws. He’ll probably be drafted in the top 10 based on potential, but I don’t want him.
- Deyonta Davis- PF, Michigan State
He’s a good rim protector and rebounder who has some offensive potential. He reminds me of Richaun Holmes. A dude who will grab a rebound and throw it down with two hands. I thought he should have done himself a favor by staying in school with Izzo for another season.
- Isaia Cordinier- SG, France
Athletic 2 guard but a bit undersized (albeit with a long wingspan). Decent shooter and ball handler. Doesn’t have great vision yet. Honestly, I could have grouped him with the McCaw-LeVert club but I don’t know enough about him.
Written by Tyler Cloran
Image Source: sportingnews.com