CAMDEN, N.J. — The main story from Thursday night’s NBA draft was the Sixers’ surprising first-round trade of No. 10 pick Mikal Bridges for No. 16 selection Zhaire Smith and a 2021 first-rounder (see story). Deservedly so.
But the Sixers also had five other picks heading into the draft. It’s worth breaking down the picks they traded away, the ones they kept, and how their selections after Smith could fit with the team.
No. 26: Landry Shamet
Shamet’s standout skill is his outside shot. The Wichita State junior shot 44.2 percent from three-point range last season — he’s excellent spotting up or running around screens. The 6-5 guard is a very smart player and has good instincts as a passer. However, Shamet isn’t a great athlete and he may not have the handles or quickness to be an effective shot creator in the NBA. Many experts had Shamet projected in the second round.
“I think just immediately, I can provide three-point shooting and just someone that’s going to play hard,” Shamet said in a conference call from Brooklyn after he was selected. “Playing for Coach [Gregg] Marshall at Wichita State, you’re not going to slack off at the defensive end. ... In the NBA now, the three-point shot is so important, and I can provide that right away.”
Brett Brown said he was impressed with Shamet’s shooting and attitude when he worked out with the Sixers last week.
“His ability to just play basketball and play the modern-day game, and his character,” Brown said. “I enjoyed the research on the person. I really enjoyed communicating with him on different levels … and then you saw him play, he’s got a lot of game. And I see him being a combo type of guard that can shoot, make plays and I think really has a prideful approach to his defense that was really attractive to us.”
No. 38: Khyri Thomas — traded to Pistons for two future second-round picks
The Creighton guard, a two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year, seemed like a steal at No. 38, and his impressive defensive ability and outside shooting may have fit well with the Sixers (see profile). Ultimately, the Sixers opted to accumulate more assets, something Brown said was a key reason why the team took the Suns’ first-round deal.
No. 39: Reportedly traded to Lakers for 2019 second-round pick and cash
This deal was reported on Wednesday night. Again, piling up assets.
No. 54: Shake Milton
The Sixers acquired the 54th pick (Milton) by trading away the 56th and 60th picks to the Mavericks.
Milton, the SMU product, is a fluid playmaker who does a lot of things well. He averaged 18.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.4 steals. Like with Shamet, his versatility and character appealed to Brown.
“I think he’s incredibly interesting with a 7-1 wingspan and a 6-6 frame that’s again a combo type of player, and high character,” Brown said. “I feel tremendously confident and proud of the fact that the people we brought in are our type of people.”