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Potential 2nd-round targets for Sixers in NBA draft: Small forwards/guards

Potential 2nd-round targets for Sixers in NBA draft: Small forwards/guards

We've already taken a look at the big men the Sixers could target in the second round (see story).

Here are the small forwards and guards who could be in the mix for the team in Round 2. 

Josh Hart: Shooting guard, 6-6/204, Villanova
Who knows more about what they would be getting in the Villanova champion than the Sixers?

Hart grew by leaps and bounds as a player during his four seasons on the Main Line, but the one thing that remained the same: his energy level. Hart plays with a certain intensity on both ends of the floor that will definitely give him a boost at the next level.

He paired that focus with his evolving skills to put together a stellar senior season. The versatile wing averaged 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Hart also shot 51.0 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from three-point land during a 2016-17 campaign in which he was named consensus first-team All-American, Big East Player of the Year and received the Julius Erving award as the top small forward in the country.

What Hart lacks in athleticism, he makes up for with his high basketball IQ, fierce competitive nature and winning pedigree (see story). After the dog days of "The Process," the Sixers could definitely use a guy with such a history of winning on their roster.

Dillon Brooks: Small forward, 6-7/215, Oregon
Even with Joel Embiid finally in action, the Sixers' offensive numbers were still pretty ugly last season. They ranked 25th in scoring, 27th in field goal percentage and 25th in three-point percentage.

Brooks wouldn't solve those woes by himself, but he's and offensive weapon who would absolutely help.

Brooks continued his improved shooting in his junior season with marks of 48.8 percent on field goals and 40.1 percent on three-pointers. He led a deep Ducks team with 16.1 points per game as he was named Pac-12 Player of the Year.

The skill to drain shots from each level of the floor and come through in the game's biggest moments will be attractive to a lot of teams in the middle of the second round (see story). With the Sixers' wing-needy situation, they might give the fiery Brooks a long look.

Jaron Blossomgame: Small forward/power forward, 6-7/214, Clemson
Sometimes you just need that dog on the basketball court. A guy that you know is going to get after it on each and every possession.

From an NBA standpoint, think Tony Allen or Avery Bradley.

That's what the Sixers would be getting in a guy like Blossomgame, whom they worked out last year before he opted to return to Clemson and again earlier this month.

His offense is going to come and go (his point production dipped slightly as a senior and his three-point shooting fell off a cliff — 44.1 percent to 25.5 percent). However, Blossomgame will put on that defensive hat night after night and get the job done.

He's a bundle of energy, and at nearly 24 years old has a strong frame that's already built for the league (see story).

For a Sixers team that allowed 108.1 points per game (24th in the NBA), Blossomgame should at least be under consideration.

Frank Mason III: Point guard, 5-11/185, Kansas
Not too many prospects under the 6-foot mark get legitimate NBA consideration. However, when you are this good and decorated as a collegiate player, teams tend to make an exception.

Let's just take a look at what Mason accomplished in 2016-17 alone: named consensus national player of the year, named consensus first-team All-American, won the Bob Cousy award (nation's top point guard), named Big 12 Player of the Year and first-team All-Big 12.

While college achievements are far from a guarantee of NBA success, Mason's makeup suggests he will find a way to survive at the next level. 

First off, he's an absolute pit bull on the court. Despite, his short stature, Mason is stocky and aggressive on both ends. He's also a solid shooter, particularly from long range. The PG finished his four seasons with the Jayhawks with career shooting marks of 45.4 percent from the field and 42.0 percent from long range (see story).

The 23-year-old is also a natural leader. Mason is vocal and a true extension of the coach on the floor. Even playing with other prime-time players at a program like Kansas, he was still a major reason the Jayhawks won 116 games during his time on campus.

Tyler Dorsey: Shooting guard, 6-4/180, Oregon
When considering instant offense off the bench in a second-round pick, few players might provide that option better than Dorsey. 

Dorsey averaged 14.6 points per game on 46.7 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from three-point range. Those numbers skyrocketed during the NCAA Tournament when the 21-year-old caught fire as he averaged 23.8 points in five games and shot 59.6 percent from the field and 60.6 percent from deep.

Dorsey does provide the option of playing either guard spot and noted he would be a good fit alongside Ben Simmons and the rest of the Sixers when the Pasadena, California native worked out for the team earlier this month (see story).

He doesn't offer much outside of the shooting department, but that's arguably the biggest issue for this young Sixers squad.

Others to keep an eye on: Duke SG Frank Jackson, Gonzaga PG Nigel Williams-Goss, Florida State SF Dwayne Bacon.

Raptors continue to take care of business at home

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Raptors continue to take care of business at home

TORONTO -- Kyle Lowry scored nine of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, DeMar DeRozan added 21 and the Toronto Raptors beat San Antonio 86-83 on Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak against the Spurs.

Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 11 rebounds as the Raptors improved to 17-3 at home, the second-best home record in the NBA behind San Antonio's mark of 19-2.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Pau Gasol scored 15 points and Patty Mills had 13 as San Antonio lost for the fourth time in six road games. The Spurs are 11-15 away from home.

It had been more than two years since Toronto last beat San Antonio. The Raptors won 97-94 at home on Dec. 9, 2015.

San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili missed his second straight game because of a sore right thigh. Ginobili returned to Texas after the Spurs won at Brooklyn on Wednesday (see full recap).

Beal, Oubre spark Wizards’ win over Pistons
DETROIT -- Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 26 points each, and the Washington Wizards scored 45 points in the third quarter before holding on for a 122-112 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

The Pistons cut a 20-point second-half deficit to four in the fourth quarter, but John Wall made a big 3-pointer to put the Wizards up 107-100. Oubre added a four-point play a few possessions later to push Washington's lead to nine.

Andre Drummond had 14 points, 21 rebounds and eight assists for the Pistons, who have lost four straight.

Both teams were struggling coming into the game. The Wizards lost by 24 at Charlotte on Wednesday, and they fell behind by 15 in the first quarter at Detroit. It was tied at 46 at halftime, though (see full recap).

Nets edge Heat to snap 5-game home skid
NEW YORK -- DeMarre Carroll scored 26 points, Spencer Dinwiddie had 15 and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Miami Heat 101-95 on Friday night.

Brooklyn snapped a five-game losing skid at Barclays Center and a seven-game home losing streak to the Heat.

Caris LeVert and Joe Harris each added 12 points for the Nets. D'Angelo Russell played 14 minutes and went 0-for-5 from the field for Brooklyn in his first action after missing 32 games following left knee surgery.

Hassan Whiteside had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Goran Dragic scored 17 points for the Heat.

LeVert made an acrobatic layup to give the Nets a 95-91 lead with 57.8 seconds remaining and then made a step-back jumper to ice the game at 97-91 (see full recap).

Is a rival upset with Embiid's ASG starter nod?

Is a rival upset with Embiid's ASG starter nod?

While Joel Embiid was sharing his first All-Star nod with his teammates and deciding to move on from his former crush, at least one person wasn’t happy that the Sixers’ center was tabbed as a starter.

Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis feels like he should have garnered that final frontcourt spot in the Eastern Conference.

“Players know,” he said, per the New York Daily News. “That’s all I’m going to say.”

True, Porzingis had more of the players’ support as he finished third in the East in that category compared to Embiid in fourth. 

However, Embiid had the trump card with a pair of third-place finishes in both media and fan voting while Porzingis came in fourth. The fan vote was the main key, as it accounted for 50 percent of the overall tally.

“I feel very blessed to be in this type of position,” Embiid said Thursday. “Thank all the fans out there for the support. It’s been a tough couple of years and I really appreciate it — everybody out there, everybody around me, the whole team, the whole organization, the fans especially, for making this happen. We can only get better from here.”

If Embiid is going to get even better, look out. He’s already averaging 23.9 points (48.7 percent shooting), 11.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 blocks per game this season. Oh yeah, he also has the Sixers with a 21-20 record and sitting in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, Porzingis’ overall numbers have gone down every month this season. He’s currently putting up 23.6 points (43.4 percent shooting), 6.9 boards, 1.2 assists and 2.4 blocks a night. And the Knicks have lost 11 of their last 15 games to fall to 20-25.

“Everybody has their own opinion,” Porzingis said. “Fans are one thing. It is what it is. There are a lot of things I could have done better also. It is what it is.”