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2019 NBA draft profile: Why Sixers might want to keep Eric Paschall in town

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2019 NBA draft profile: Why Sixers might want to keep Eric Paschall in town

Eric Paschall was an integral part of Villanova’s unprecedented success over the last four years. After transferring from Fordham, he redshirted during the Wildcats’ 2016 national championship season. His role gradually expanded within the Villanova program over the next three years. That culminated this past season with a First Team All-Big East selection.

Paschall averaged 16.5 points and 6.1 rebounds as a senior, establishing himself as a fringe first-round NBA Draft prospect. He’s a winning player — he enters the NBA with a pair of national championship rings and a 94-18 record in his three seasons on the court at Villanova.

He was overshadowed at times during his college career by the likes of Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Mikal Bridges and Donte DiVincenzo. But Paschall has proven he is capable of shining when the lights are brightest. His 24 points on 10 of 11 shooting against Kansas in the 2018 Final Four is one of the greatest single game performances in Villanova history. 

  • Position: Forward
  • Height: 6-8
  • Weight: 255
  • School: Villanova

Strengths 

Versatility, athleticism and intangibles come to mind. Paschall will be able to play and defend multiple positions in the NBA. His perimeter shooting and passing ability should enable him to be utilized as a center in a small ball lineup, similar to how the Warriors use Draymond Green. 

Paschall’s strength and athleticism will serve him well on the defensive end of the floor. He has a sturdy frame and won’t be pushed around by too many NBA forwards. Paschall is also a tremendous finisher around the basket; he takes a backseat to no one when it comes to leaping ability. 

His mindset and work ethic may be his two greatest assets. Paschall is cut from the same cloth as former Villanova teammates Ryan Arcidiacono, Hart and Brunson, guys who were either drafted late in the first round, early in the second round or in Arcidiacono’s case, weren’t drafted at all. They all worked themselves into valuable NBA contributors. It’s a safe bet that Paschall will do the same. 

Weaknesses 

Paschall needs to prove that he can be a consistent perimeter shooter at the NBA level. He was a streaky shooter in college, prone to cold stretches. His ballhandling remains a work in progress. Paschall handled the ball quite a bit in college but still has plenty of room for improvement in that area of his game.

Paschall’s age could work against him. He’ll be 23 in November. NBA evaluators tend to prefer younger prospects who they believe have greater “upside.”  

His advanced age for a prospect shouldn’t be seen as a hinderance or an indication of limited potential. Paschall is a mature and experienced player who will be ready to contribute immediately for whichever team drafts him.

Fit

Paschall would be a great addition to the 76ers’ roster. He was impressive during a workout for the team earlier this month. Paschall would be a solid complementary piece and would have no trouble accepting and playing a supporting role.

Whether the Sixers consider Paschall a possibility with the 24th pick remains to be seen. But he would be a terrific option if he’s still available in the second round. 

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2019 NBA draft profile: Carsen Edwards' elite scoring ability a perfect fit for Sixers

2019 NBA draft profile: Carsen Edwards' elite scoring ability a perfect fit for Sixers

Position: Guard

Height: 6-0

Weight: 199

School: Purdue

Carsen Edwards was on the short list of the best players in all of college basketball the last two years. A two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection, he was the face of the Purdue program during his sophomore and junior seasons. 

Edwards averaged 24.3 points this past season as a junior and cemented his status as a legit NBA prospect during Purdue’s run to the Elite Eight in March. He averaged just under 35 points in the Boilermakers’ four NCAA Tournament games - including 42-point performances against Villanova and Virginia, two programs that have combined to win three of the last four national championships. 

Edwards turned 21 in March and enters the NBA with three years of experience at the highest level of college basketball. He projects as a late first-round to early second-round selection. His elite scoring ability combined with his impressive work ethic should enable him to carve out a successful 10-12 year NBA career.

Strengths 

Jay Wright came up with a fitting description of Edwards before Villanova’s NCAA Tournament game against Purdue - a thick Allen Iverson. 

At just under 200 pounds, Edwards is sturdier than the former Sixers superstar. That’s not to say Edwards will follow the same career path in the NBA as Iverson, but the skill sets are similar. 

Edwards can score the ball. That’s his biggest asset as he makes the transition to the professional level. He can score with the ball in his hands and he can score playing off the ball. Like Iverson throughout his career, Edwards has been relied upon heavily to carry his team on the offensive end of the floor. 

Edwards attempted nearly 20 shots per game as a junior at Purdue. He connected on 39.4 percent of his field goal attempts, including 35.5 percent from three-point range. His efficiency numbers were down from his sophomore season, when he was a 40.6 percent three-point shooter.

In addition to being an extremely talented offensive player, Edwards is a fierce competitor who puts forth maximum effort on the defensive end. His foot speed, lateral quickness and 6-6 wingspan should enable him to become a more than adequate perimeter defender.

Weaknesses

Decision making stands out here. Edwards had more turnovers than assists last season at Purdue. He has the tendency to try to do too much offensively, something he will have to reign in at the NBA level. 

He measured at just over 6-feet in shoes at the NBA Combine, so he’ll be undersized for a guard. It also remains to be seen how he transitions from being “the man” in college to playing a complementary role in the pros. Can he be effective with a significantly lower usage rate? 

Fit

Edwards would be a tremendous fit with the Sixers. He’s a dynamic scoring guard capable of creating his own opportunities. He shoots effectively off the dribble. These are traits that the Sixers’ offense lacked last season. 

He would be a terrific spark off the bench and could also blend in nicely with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and the rest of the first unit. He has a winning mentality, the type of guy you want in your locker room.

Edwards should be available when the Sixers make the 24th pick in the first round. There’s a slim chance he could still be on the board early in the second round. He impressed the Sixers at his pre-draft workout last week, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if they target him on draft night.

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2019 NBA draft profile: UNC's Cameron Johnson is big-time shooter, can help Sixers

2019 NBA draft profile: UNC's Cameron Johnson is big-time shooter, can help Sixers

Position: Guard

Height: 6-9

Weight: 210

School: North Carolina

Cameron Johnson’s draft stock was bolstered significantly by an outstanding senior season at North Carolina. Johnson averaged 16.9 points and 5.8 rebounds and shot 45.7 percent from three-point range in 36 games for the Tar Heels. He was a driving force for one of the best teams in the country and finished the season as a First Team All-ACC selection.

It’s not hyperbole to suggest Johnson is the best shooter in this draft. That 45.7 three-point success rate came on nearly six attempts per game. He is a big-time shooter who uses his 6-9 frame to his advantage on the perimeter.

Johnson played five seasons of college basketball — three at Pittsburgh and two at North Carolina. He was granted a medical redshirt at Pitt as a freshman before playing two seasons for the Panthers. He graduated in three years from Pitt then used his final two years of eligibility at North Carolina. 

He enters the draft at 23 years old. While some NBA executives may view his advanced age as a drawback, it’s also fair to label him as an experienced, mature prospect ready to step in and contribute immediately at the NBA level.

Strengths

In a word, shooting. It’s what Johnson does best and it's a skill that is valued tremendously in the NBA. Johnson not only led the ACC in three-point shooting, he was also the top long-range marksman in all of the Power 5 conferences.

Johnson profiles as a terrific complementary piece on the offensive end of the floor. He’ll be able to play off penetrators and knock down open jumpers. His size and quick release will only enhance his shooting ability in the professional game.

His basketball IQ and work ethic also stand out. He has a great understanding of the game after playing five seasons of high-level college basketball. Johnson was a late bloomer in high school and in college — Pitt was the only major program that recruited him. He worked his way from unheralded prospect to one of the best players in the country over the span of five years.

Weaknesses

Athleticism and all-around defensive ability top this list. The majority of his scoring in college was on the perimeter. He is not an explosive finisher at the rim and doesn’t embrace contact when driving to the basket. He averaged just two free throw attempts per game during his college career.

It will be a tall order for Johnson to guard the top wing players in the NBA because of his lack of elite foot speed. He’ll need to become more physical on the defensive end.

To his credit, he tested well at the combine. But his athleticism — particularly on the defensive end — will be worth monitoring as he enters the NBA.

Fit

Johnson would be a tremendous fit for the Sixers. They need shooters and that’s what he does best. Johnson would space the floor for Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and benefit greatly from Simmons’ court vision and overall passing ability. He would get a ton of open looks on the perimeter playing with Embiid and Simmons.

Johnson is mature enough to accept his role. He was a star last season at North Carolina but would be a member of the Sixers' supporting cast. At 23, he would also be ready to contribute immediately for a team with visions of winning a championship.

If he is still on the board when the Sixers are making the 24th pick, don’t be surprised to hear Johnson’s name called.

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