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2017 NBA draft: Top 10 prospects for the Sixers

2017 NBA draft: Top 10 prospects for the Sixers

The NBA draft lottery is upon us and the Sixers could be in for a fun night.

Everyone is convinced the Sixers absolutely have to draft a guard. I'm not so sure. If they get the No. 1 pick, they have to draft Washington guard Markelle Fultz. Otherwise, they should keep their options open. 

This was meant to be a top 10 prospect list with the Sixers in mind, but with no centers in the top 10, almost everyone should be in play.

Here are my top 10 prospects for the Sixers in the 2017 NBA draft.

1. Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington, 6-4/195
Fultz is a silky smooth guard who's best with the ball in his hands but is a good enough shooter to play off the ball (41 percent from three). He's been considered the best player in the draft for most of the college basketball season.

How he fits the Sixers: Like a glove. Fultz is an outstanding scorer (23.2 points a game) that doesn't need the ball in his hands all the time. He shot 38 percent on his catch-and-shoot opportunities. The pick and rolls with Fultz and big man Joel Embiid would be difficult to defend. I see a little James Harden in his game.

2. Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas, 6-8/203
Jackson is a long, athletic wing who is known for his defense but also has legitimate slashing ability. He struggled with his shot at Kansas. But he came to the Jayhawks with the reputation as a strong shooter and did improve as his freshman year went on.

How he fits the Sixers: While the Sixers desperately need a guard, young swingmen like Jackson are hard to find. Jackson is sort of like former Jayhawk Andrew Wiggins but profiles as a better defender who's not as strong offensively. If he can hit shots consistently, he's a future All-Star.

3. Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA, 6-6/190
If not for his dad, we'd simply be talking about one hell of a basketball player. Ball is explosive and has outstanding court vision (7.6 assists per game). His jumper is unorthodox, but it gets the job done (41 percent from three).

How he fits the Sixers: From a basketball standpoint, he makes more sense than people think. There is a thought that Ball wouldn't be able to coexist with Ben Simmons. I'm of the belief that having two elite passers wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I do worry about Ball's dad LaVar when Lonzo is playing third fiddle to Simmons and Embiid.

4. De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky, 6-4/171
Every year there's a prospect that improves so much during the season that his stock explodes. Fox is that player this year. He's lightning quick and physical on defense. There are legitimate concerns about his jump shot (25 percent from three).

How he fits the Sixers: I love Fox's game, but he doesn't fit the Sixers at all unless he can hit jumpers consistently. Fox says his shot is improving. Can he convince the Sixers enough to draft him? If he does, Simmons and Fox leading the break would be a lot of fun.

5. Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky, 6-4/197
Fox's teammate was instant offense for the Wildcats this season. He averaged 19.8 points a game and shot 40 percent from three. He also hit big shots, almost bringing Kentucky back against eventual national champion North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament.

How he fits the Sixers: Other than Fultz, Monk might fit the Sixers better than any lottery prospect. There's concern about Monk's size defensively to guard NBA twos. The Sixers won't have that issue with Simmons playing the point. If Monk buys into Brett Brown's system, he's quick enough to cover ones at the next level.

6. Jayson Tatum, SF/PF, Duke, 6-8/204
Tatum is an excellent scorer (16.8 points per game) who shows promise defensively. He's a tweener at 6-foot-8, which makes him a matchup nightmare for opponents. His three-point shooting was inconsistent, but he shot 85 percent from the line, so there could be more potential there.

How he fits the Sixers: He'd be an intriguing fit. Is he athletic enough to cover NBA threes? If he is, then he and Dario Saric could make for an interesting forward tandem. It would also give the Sixers even more size and length in their starting lineup. I'd like to see his shot fall a little more consistently.

7. Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Florida State, 6-11/205
Isaac is really intriguing. He was a 6-5 guard in high school who had a growth spurt. He has guard skills, but he's still growing into his slender frame. He was also an outstanding shot blocker (1.5 blocks a game). His shot has potential but was inconsistent.

How he fits the Sixers: Selfishly, I'd love this pick because Isaac is one of my favorite prospects. I think he's athletic enough to cover wings but he didn't get that opportunity often in college. Once he grows into his body, he could be the kind of player that defines positionless basketball. The Sixers could have a giant starting five of Embiid, Saric, Isaac, Simmons and *insert point guard here.* I will admit, Isaac makes sense to take only if the Sixers land two lottery picks.

8. Dennis Smith, PG, NC State, 6-3/195
Smith doesn't have great size, but he's an explosive athlete. He won ACC Rookie of the Year averaging 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 1.9 steals a game. He was a redshirt freshman this season after tearing his ACL last year.

How he fits the Sixers: Smith would be another excellent fit to play the in the backcourt with Simmons. His shot needs to improve a little but he gets to the basket at will and can score in isolation. Other than Smith's size, there aren't many holes in his game.

9. Frank Ntilikina, PG, International, 6-5/170
Ntilikina is worth the hype as a lottery prospect. He doesn't get much of a chance to show his skills for his professional club in France, but he shined in the U-18 European Championships. He was named the MVP of the tournament, putting up 31 points in France's championship game win.

How he fits with the Sixers: Sixers fans likely wouldn't be thrilled with this selection, but Ntilikina would actually fit really with Simmons. He has tremendous defensive potential and can shoot the basketball. He needs to tighten his handle, and his limited professional experience might hurt him.

10. Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
Markkanen is the best pure stretch-four in the draft (42 percent from three). He's also a strong rebounder (7.2 per game) and played a big role for Arizona.

How he fits the Sixers: Another seven-footer?! If the Sixers can get their hands on any of the aforementioned guards, Markkanen would be a bad pick. If they're somehow left choosing between Tatum, Isaac and Markkanen, you could make an argument for Markkanen being the best fit because of his ability as a knockdown shooter.

Sixers Talk podcast: Training camp is coming

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NBC Sports Philadelphia/YouTube

Sixers Talk podcast: Training camp is coming

Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick go back and forth about JJ Redick's comments about the importance of team dinners, five Sixers landing on SI's top 100, and Joel Embiid saying he has lost 25 pounds.

• Discussing nuggets about Jimmy Butler and the quadruple doink from JJ Redick's appearance on the Lowe Post.

• Sports Illustrated's Top 100 for 2020 came out. The rankings are mostly fair but the guys have one gripe.

• Joel Embiid said he lost 25 pounds ... but he clearly didn't lose his sense of humor.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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JJ Redick believes Sixers needed more team dinners on road last season

JJ Redick believes Sixers needed more team dinners on road last season

Sixers fans are generally excited about the team's new roster construction heading into the 2019-2020 season, but there's no doubt the sharp shooting of JJ Redick will be missed.

Redick took his talents down to the bayou and will suit up for the New Orleans Pelicans this season. Redick joined ESPN NBA insider Zach Lowe on Lowe's podcast this week to talk about his new opportunity. They also reflected a bit on his time with the Sixers and the tough loss to the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors in the playoffs after four bounces of a Kawhi Leonard desperation shot.

Redick is open about the fact that the decision to move on to New Orleans was partly financial.

"I never got the sense that [the Sixers] didn't want to bring me back. Unfortunately, it came down to a little bit of economics," Redick said.

Jimmy Butler's decision to move on to the Miami Heat obviously precipitated that move. Redick speaks highly of Butler regardless of his decision.

"I love Jimmy. I would play with Jimmy again," Redick said. "He is in the upper tier of two-way players and in the upper tier of offensive players in the NBA, period."

So Redick has moved on to New Orleans, but it's tough not to think back to what could have been. There was a point in the Toronto series where Redick believed the Sixers were capable of winning the NBA championship last season.

"Joel [Embiid] and I spent some time together after the season and we talked about it. It was Game 4 [against Toronto] for us. We lost that game and I felt like, for most of that game, we had control, not just that game but that series. We had a chance to go up 3-1. That was the opportunity that we missed. You lose that game and it's 2-2 and you've got to win 2 out of 3 against Toronto, and that's a tough task."

One other interesting nugget from Redick's time in Philly was his sharing that he believed they didn't do enough team dinners on the road.

"I wish, I've tried, I wish, the team meal on the road is huge. I think it's huge. We didn't do it enough last year in Philly. We tried. It wasn't enough. Some of that, look, nobody wants to be forced to go to dinner. It's got to be real and authentic."

Some other choice quotes from the pod below.

On Ben Simmons getting a jumper.

"Ben works. He worked all of last offseason. I witnessed him during the season get his shots up after practice every day. I think he'll be able to shoot at some point. A lot of it is confidence. He can shoot a high enough clip when he's shooting spot shots that it should translate to shooting threes in a game. The video that went viral, looks to me like he's shooting with some confidence there."

Lowe also asked Redick about the dagger shot in Toronto.

"I was on the bench," Redick said. "I sort of had that perfect angle 'cause as soon as the ball had come inbounds, I sort of walked onto the baseline. Not on the court, but onto the baseline so I could get a straight-on view of the action. My memory may be a little jogged but my arms were crossed, I was watching the ball bounce around the rim, and it went in. I'm not sure I had any initial reaction, I think it was just shock. Part of you wants to walk off the floor and punch a wall and the other part of you, if I'm the Raptors, I'd want to dap up the people that I had just played a seven-game series against. I stayed on the court and talked to Kyle, Marc, Kawhi, Danny and those guys. Told them I hope they win a championship and walked off. Then you get back to the locker room and you see the emotion, I was obviously feeling emotional, then Joel started crying. Those are the sorts of moments that you don't forget. As much as you don't forget the shot, the aftermath of moments like that, you just don't forget. There's just a lot of raw emotion."

You can listen to Redick's entire conversation with Zach Lowe right here.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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