76ers

The case for Gonzaga's Nigel Williams-Goss as a Sixers' 2nd-round pick

The case for Gonzaga's Nigel Williams-Goss as a Sixers' 2nd-round pick

Over the weeks leading up to the 2017 NBA draft, we'll be making cases for the Sixers to draft several prospects. Our series will kick off with options at No. 3 (or trade ups/downs) followed by second-round possibilities. The 2017 NBA draft will take place on June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Nigel Williams-Goss
Position
: PG
School: Gonzaga
Height: 6-4
Weight: 182
Wingspan: 6-7¼ 

Gonzaga University has had some great college players in recent years. Go back over the last decade or so, and guys like Adam Morrison, Kevin Pangos and Kyle Wiltjer all spent time in Spokane. But not until this season had future hall of fame coach Mark Few’s team made the Final Four. Much of that breakthrough has to be credited to the Zags’ point guard, Nigel Williams-Goss, who, if he had stayed healthy in the national championship game, might have been able to lead his team to one more win.

Williams-Goss spent the first two seasons of his collegiate career at the University of Washington but left after a sophomore campaign in which he was the team’s best player. He wasn’t happy with the way the program was going, which isn’t hard to believe considering this season the Huskies won just nine games even with Markelle Fultz on their roster this year. 

After sitting out the 2015-2016 season due to transfer rules, Williams-Goss was an immediate difference maker for the Zags. As the West Coast Conference’s player of the year and a second-team AP All-American, he averaged 16.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists. It’s hard to ask anyone to be that consistently productive in multiple facets. After getting his degree, Williams-Goss elected to forego his final year of NCAA eligibility and enter the draft. 

The case for Williams-Goss
His greatest advantage is his size. A 6-7 wingspan is desirable for a point guard, and he can use it to make up for his less than stellar athleticism on both ends of the floor. Often it helped him get to the rack when electing to keep the rock on the pick and roll, which was a big part of the Zags’ offense with the inside presence of Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins. And the extra inches allow him to guard multiple positions. 

Offensively, his game is well-rounded. His shooting numbers are solid, and 48 percent from the field makes up for his 36 percent from three. But the most encouraging stat lies in Williams-Goss’ turnovers, or rather lack thereof. Critics are skeptical of his composure when pressured at high speeds, but with just 2.4 turnovers per 40 attempts, he’s careful with the ball.

The case against Williams-Goss
It’s fair to argue that Williams-Goss’ numbers were puffed up a bit thanks to the circumstances he was in. At Washington, he was a go-to guy, so you’d sure hope he’d score in double-figures. At Gonzaga, he played in the West Coast Conference, which pretty much had no answer to the Zags’ level of play. He played bad teams and stuffed the stat sheet.

Plus, he lacks that one blatantly marketable skill. Out of his athleticism, shooting and defending, none are first-rate. His percentages do take a slight dip when shooting off the dribble, and that’s a tad alarming for a point guard.

Analysis
Williams-Goss isn’t even a lock to get picked. As of now, DraftExpress predicts he’ll go to the Knicks with the 58th selection. Regardless, he’ll get a chance with someone and try to prove himself this summer. Philadelphia is not the most likely destination. 

The point guard position is crowded here. The Sixers want to play Ben Simmons at the one. Jerryd Bayless and T.J. McConnell are under contract for the next two seasons. Another point presence, albeit a scoring one that will act as a combo guard, appears to be coming out of the first round in the form of Fultz. While there is some upside in taking Williams-Goss, it’s hard to see him finding a fit. Should the Sixers’ value his size and see room for improvement, maybe they take him late in the second round and give him some time in the summer league and D-League. 

What it would take for Sixers to land Bradley Beal

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What it would take for Sixers to land Bradley Beal

The floundering Wizards are reportedly ready to sell.

Their most attractive trade piece is 25-year-old guard Bradley Beal. Beal is coming off his first All-Star appearance and his contract isn’t too prohibitive.

I know what you may be thinking: Go get him, Elton! There’s no question the idea of adding a player like Beal would give Brand’s squad a loaded roster. If you add Beal to Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Sixers could make serious noise.

Before you get too excited about this idea, let’s see how logical it actually is.

Theoretically, the Sixers could make it work money wise — at least for this season. If the team were to send Markelle Fultz and Wilson Chandler to the Wizards for Beal (more on the actual compensation part later) that deal would work financially. The Sixers have a $2,526,840 trade exception from trading Dario Saric, according to Spotrac. The issue would occur in the seasons going forward.

Beal still has two years on his deal after this season. His cap number is over $27 million in 2019-20 and over $28 million the following season. Butler will be a free agent this offseason and with the way he’s looked so far, the Sixers will have to pony up.

Simmons will also be eligible for a max extension this summer. If he agrees to a deal, the extension will kick in during the 2020-21 season, the last year of Beal’s deal. With Butler likely making somewhere around $37 million annually on his new contract, Embiid making north of $29 million and Beal over $28 million, it makes this scenario less feasible but definitely not impossible. 

The NBA’s salary cap is “soft” so the Sixers could become a luxury tax team. There are a couple questions that would need to be answered. Would Sixers ownership be willing to become a luxury tax team? Josh Harris has implied in the past that they would be. The other question: Is Beal the guy you want to go over the luxury tax for? He might be.

The actual compensation is going to be the other sticking point. Fultz and Chandler make the money match but you’d most certainly have to throw in the 2021 unprotected Miami first and possibly more, like Zhaire Smith or Landry Shamet. Chandler has value as an expiring contract and draft picks/young players will certainly appeal to an organization looking to blow things up.

But then you have to wonder if Washington would have any actual interest in Fultz. Putting aside his struggles for a second, the Wizards still have John Wall. Of course the aforementioned report names Wall as a player they’re trying to move but that could be difficult with the pricy extension Wall recently signed. Wall and Fultz would be an untenable backcourt situation.

Is it possible that Brand could pull the trigger on a deal for Beal? Sure, but even if the Sixers have enough financial flexibility to make it work, they may not be able to offer enough compensation.

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Zoo's Views Podcast: Chester native Tyreke Evans

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Zoo's Views Podcast: Chester native Tyreke Evans

On this edition of Zoo's Views, Marc Zumoff talks with Pacers' veteran Tyreke Evans. Evans, a Chester native, discusses his tough childhood and who helped him make it to the NBA.

Evans goes further into the difficulty recovering from a knee injury, which required multiple surgeries. Also, how did he decide on Indiana this past offseason?

1:00 - Transition to the Pacers.
5:30 - How injuries impacted his career.
10:00 - Earliest basketball memory.
11:30 - Difficulties growing up in Chester, PA.
16:00 - Players that influenced him (Allen Iverson).

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