NBA Draft: Sixers-centric Big Board

With the NBA Draft less than 24 hours away it’s time for our Sixers-centric Big Board. This isn’t necessarily how I value each prospect in relation to one another, but rather in terms of their fit on the Sixers. Three things I look for with that in mind: shooting, scoring, and more shooting.

Note: I didn’t include players who are likely to be gone by 21—so you won’t see Tyrese Maxey, Aaron Nesmith, Tyrell Terry, or any prospects like that. I also didn’t include big men. While I wouldn’t rule a few of them out for the Sixers, I find it very unlikely that 21 overall is used any where but guard or wing—unless it’s traded, which remains a strong possibility.

1. Cole Anthony (20)

UNC, Guard, 6’3” 190 lbs

Score-first, bouncy PG with a solid shooting stroke. Not a true “point” in the sense that he doesn’t get others involved, but is too undersized to play the two. A spark plug early with the ability to score at the rim, shoot off the bounce, and threaten off-ball. Great athlete who plays with a ton of energy. Quick feet and advanced handling allows him to easily break down defenses; and strength, body control, and touch allows him to finish around the rim with both hands. Not unlike a lot of players with his scoring package, Anthony needs to improve his shot selection. His inability to be a true playmaker, and thus real PG, limits his value a ton. While his on-ball defense will be strong against players his size, he will undoubtedly be targeted on switches by bigger wings (at least early in his career). All of this makes for limited upside despite obvious scoring traits. More here>>

2. Desmond Bane (22)

TCU, Wing, 6’5” 215 lbs

A popular prospect, Bane has limitless range as a shooter—43% from three. Excellent catch-and-shoot player both running off-screens and in spot-up situations. Average athlete with an NBA body and high IQ. An improved handle will go a long way in unlocking his ability to contribute in multiple ways. Low ceiling but is a projectable role player from day one. More here>>

3. Josh Green (19)

Arizona, Wing, 6’6” 210 lbs

3-and-D/slasher—more league-ready than his age suggests. Consistent spot-up shooter (1.2 points per possession) who can add some appeal putting the ball on the floor and getting to the rim. Good NBA body and has enough tools on defense to flash on-ball and make instinctive plays off-ball. Limited potential, but his 3-and-D skillset is more balanced than most players in the 20-30 range. More here>>

4. Jah’mius Ramsey (19)

Texas Tech, Guard, 6’4” 195 lbs

Excellent scorer who can shoot off-the-bounce or off-the-catch. Explosive athlete, can get to the rim with ease, though he’ll need to learn to finish at a higher clip. Pairing a sturdy NBA frame with commensurate athletic traits and it’s easy to see his potential on defense. Needs to grow a lot in terms of technique and fundamentals, but that’s natural for his age. A scoring package like his should absolutely be in play at 21. More here>>

5. Jaden McDaniels (19)

Washington, Wing, 6’9” 200 lbs

The classic 5-star prospect who mostly disappointed in college—he’s a long, athletic wing with elite shooting potential and an appealing scoring package. Very fluid shooter who can contribute off-screen, spot-up, as a movement shooter, and especially with his pull-up (off-dribble) game. His shot is tough to block and he’s skilled enough with the ball to shake space, find an angle, and rise up from almost anywhere. Obvious flaws are hard to ignore: skinny as hell, will consistently be pushed off his spot, and will be exposed early on defense. An erratic decision-maker, which limits a profile that otherwise lends itself to playmaking. If he adds muscle, tightens his handle, and develops as a passer he could be one of the top offensive players in the class—but that’s more wishful thinking than projection. More here>>

6. Malachi Flynn (22)

San Diego St., Guard, 6’1” 185 lbs

League-ready pick-and-roll ball-handler with a jumper to complement. He makes up for a lack of size and athleticism with an advanced feel for the game, tough mindset, and a constant motor. Lacks defensive versatility or elite potential, but fills a very projectable role. Polished decision-maker with the ability to pull-up off the dribble or shoot off the catch. Strong on-ball defense, alert help defender. All around very buttoned-up basketball player. That being said: he’s small, not particularly strong, and average athleticism limits him in a lot of ways. Would be a reach at 21, however. More here>>

7. Theo Maledon (18)

France, Guard, 6’4” 175 lbs

One of the younger players in the class, Maledon will likely be overseas another year (at least) before joining his team. He has an advanced feel for the game and ideal NBA frame. His jumper is a work in progress, but there’s a lot to like about how it’s already developed thus far—I would bet on it fully being there soon. Long wingspan and good frame provides a strong base for defense. Overall he’s a project, but an appealing one for teams willing to wait a year or two.

8. Grant Riller (23)

Charleston, Guard, 6’3” 190

A bucket-getter and pick-and-roll threat, Riller can pull up from anywhere, spot-up, and finish around the rim at a high level. He’s a popular prospect as a result of his ability to score—something the Sixers desperately need—but lack of size and real concerns on defense make Riller a bit risky. He should be in play at 34/36. More here>>

9. Mason Jones (22)

Arkansas, Guard, 6’5” 200 lbs

Despite athletic limitations he thrives getting to the rim and finishing around the basket—plus size/strength combined with good body control, touch around the rim, and a strong feel for working angles (he’s crafty) should allow this talent to translate. Jones shot 35% from three on high-difficulty and has NBA range for sure; he’s better off-the-dribble than he is catch-and-shoot, and his array of step-backs and a high release offers an intriguing counter to his slashing ability. Some scout knock his mechanics but it’s a nice follow-through with a feathery touch. If the shot is improved off-ball (I think it will) then Jones could be a really solid bench piece from day one.

10. Isaiah Joe (21)

Arkansas, Guard, 6’5” 180 lbs

Versatile shooter with NBA range. Can run off-screens, spot-up, or shoot off-the-dribble. Has some playmaking potential once he’s run off the line. Promising defender who can pair good length and quick feet to disrupt on-ball and off. Will need to develop his body and game a little more to truly carve out an NBA role, but there’s a lot to like if he’s around at 34/36.

11. Sam Merrill (24)

Utah St, Guard, 6’5” 205 lbs

A sharpshooter, Merril connected at 42% from three spotting-up from range, running of screens, and occasionally pulling up off the dribble. He’d fill the Redick role for the Sixers, and there’s little doubt as to his ability. Naturally, he’s limited athletically and is basically at his ceiling (24 years old). Nonetheless he fills an obvious role for a team. Eye him at 34/36.

12. Jordan N’wora (22)

Louisville, Wing, 6’7” 225 lbs

Shooting 40% from three at his size, N’wora has limitless range as a shooter and should be able to plug right into the NBA. Average athlete who gets by on defense with good technique and quick feet/hands. N’wora is limited in what he does offensively, and he’ll never be a difference maker on defense, but the size/shot combo is too much to pass up for me.

13. Tre Jones (20)

Duke, Guard, 6’3” 185 lbs

Jones is a polished basketball player whose feel for the game is excellent for his age (20). He’s not explosive, but still managed to take home ACC DPOY by pairing dogged, smart on-ball defense with engaged, high IQ team defense. Add in his ability as a floor general—good decision-maker, strong P&R playmaker—and his improved jumper (36% from three), and he’ll be good value at 34/36.

14. Cassius Stanley (21)

Duke, Wing, 6’6” 195 lbs

Elite athlete and a good spot-up shooter (36% from three). Stanley still has a lot of room to grow, but his physical traits make him an intriguing prospect. He’ll be a plus defensively with the potential to grow into an elite on-ball defender given his quickness and athleticism. I’m not sure why he’s so far down a lot of boards given his potential combined with clear traits that can impact the game right now, but he’ll be in play at 34/36. More here>>

15. Tyler Bey (22)

Colorado, Forward, 6’7” 215 lbs

Oozing with defensive talent both on and off-ball, Bey is a consistent jump shot away from being an immediate 3-and-D contributor. He’s not very skilled, however, and at 22 he is what he is as a player. Could be in play at 34/36.

16. Ty’shon Alexander (22)

Creighton, Guard, 6’4” 195 lbs

Shot 40% from three last season on high volume and is a strong catch-and-shoot player. His length, quickness, and instincts allows him to play strong on-ball defense, and he’s engaged and disruptive off-ball and in passing lanes. The 3-and-D appeal is obvious. He’s not overly skilled, but he’s league-ready and fills a projectable role—some will knock that, but at 34/36 it’s what you want.

17. Cassius Winston (22)

Michigan St, Guard, 6’1” 185 lbs

High-IQ PG, good playmaking and feel for the game. Excellent shooter (43% from three) both off-dribble and off-the-catch (including off-screens). Strong pick-and-roll player—he’s really the full-package offensively. Competes on defense but is completely undersized and while he’s a good athlete, he’s not what he needs to be to have a high ceiling in the NBA. Nonetheless, he’s a clear bench contributor. More here>>

18. Payton Pritchard (22)

Oregon, Guard, 6’2” 190 lbs

Pairs good playmaking with good shooting off-ball to be a possible spark-plug PG who can complement other lead ball-handlers. Limited size and lack of athletic traits are a real concern though. There’s a ton to like offensively, but there are a lot of similar options at point guard in this range, so it comes down to a matter preference.

19. Nico Mannion (19)

Arizona, Guard, 6’3” 190 lbs

TJ McConnell with a jump-shot is the best way to put it. A lot of people love Mannion as a prospect because of his shooting, passing, and IQ; but his limited athleticism and size will be too much to overcome to warrant a first round pick, Morey knows this. If he falls to 34/36 he could be in play, but there are far more appealing options at his position.

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