The Sixers have five selections in Wednesday night’s NBA draft, including No. 21. What will they do in the first round?
NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Shamus Clancy, Brian Brennan, Sean Kane, Amy Fadool and Noah Levick predict how things will play out.
Daryl Morey kicks off his Sixers tenure with the wild trade he's become known for. No, it isn't the James Harden deal that Sixers fans have been screaming for, at least not yet. Morey ships the out-of-place Al Horford to Sacramento, where he's seemed destined to play as soon as he fell out of favor in Philly.
In sending the Kings an ill-fitting big man on a huge contract, Morey brings sharpshooting guard Buddy Hield to the Sixers, along with point guard Cory Joseph.
The price to get off Horford's deal, however, involves both the 21st pick and Mike Scott for salary-matching purposes.
The Sixers' don't get a young player on a cheap rookie contract tonight, but they net a perfect offensive fit in Hield who can provide firepower to a Sixers team that is lacking in perimeter scoring. Joseph is the stable floor presence that the Sixers' bench units have been lacking for years too.
Sorry, Mike Scott Hive, but the Hield Hive has a better ring to it anyway, right?
Buddy Hield would be a perfect fit in Philadelphia, but the reported sign-and-trade of Bogdan Bogdanovic to Milwaukee clears up the Kings’ logjam at shooting guard and I can’t see them moving Hield now.
That means the Sixers will use the 21st pick to get the shooter they desperately need.
I have Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith and TCU’s Desmond Bane both off the board at No. 21, so the Sixers go with Stanford freshman point guard Tyrell Terry.
Terry is an elite shooter, but he has the dual benefit of being a point guard, something the Sixers could use off the bench. Terry’s thin frame could make him a defensive liability, but the Sixers will have enough good defenders around him to mitigate that weakness.
And the kid can flat-out shoot the rock.
With five total picks, the Sixers have plenty of options heading into tonight's draft.
Morey and company could use a few of their four second-round picks to trade up in the first round, they could stay put at No. 21, or they could decide to trade their first round pick for a proven veteran.
Given Morey's track record, a draft-night trade would hardly be a surprise.
I think the Sixers end up making the 21st pick then do some maneuvering in the second round. And there should be several difference-makers available when they're on the clock with that 21st selection.
Saddiq Bey and Kira Lewis, two guys who would be great fits for the Sixers, will likely be off the board.
If that's the case, I'd zero in on Bane. He's the best shooter in this draft and in case you haven't heard, the Sixers need shooters. Bane took a ton of threes and made a ton of threes during his four-year career at TCU. He was a 44.2 percent three-point shooter as a senior, attempting 6.5 threes per game.
Bane is especially lethal as a spot up-shooter. He would get plenty of open looks playing with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. And Bane's presence on the floor would create significant spacing for Embiid and Simmons to operate. Everybody wins.
No one values shooters more than Morey. No one in this draft shoots the ball better than Bane.
Don't overthink this one.
Morey is like any new employee on the job. You want to make a good first impression. For Morey, that could be moving an albatross of a contract in Al Horford for something the Sixers desperately need: a shooter.
But, like any new employee, you need to tread carefully when trying to impress. Can’t promise the moon and not deliver. So I believe that while the Sixers will try to make moves on draft day, they won’t pull the trigger and will use their first-round draft pick tonight.
At No. 21, the Sixers can take a player in Tyrese Maxey and get both a point and shooting guard. More bang for your buck. With Simmons’ status as a point guard unsettled, Maxey gives Doc Rivers options.
Maxey is an excellent ball handler and along with his speed and athleticism, he’s got a very good shooting stroke. Don’t pay too much attention to his three-point numbers in his lone year at Kentucky. He wasn’t asked to shoot from beyond the arc; that was primarily reserved for Immanuel Quickley. Instead, check out Maxey’s overall shooting numbers — 49.2 on two-pointers, 42.7 percent from the field and 83.3 from the foul line.
Maxey can finish, has elite speed and is a tough guard by defenders. He can handle the ball and play off of it. His size and athleticism also make him a good defender, something the Sixers lacked in their guards not named Simmons. Yes, Simmons will need to handle the ball at times too, so having a combo guard in Maxey makes too much sense.
“The more you study a guy, you want to make sure you’re not chasing ghosts or overanalyzing any of this,” Sixers vice president of scouting Vince Rozman said Monday about this extended and unconventional pre-draft process.
It’s tempting to do the same thing here in this hypothetical exercise, to fixate too much on all of the possibilities. Will Cole Anthony, a top high school recruit who had a rocky single year at UNC, be on the board? Will the Sixers trade down if their top targets are all taken? Could Morey find a way to surprise outside of a trade for a player, whether that’s taking a center or an under-the-radar prospect in the first?
There are so many directions draft night can go, but let’s stick with the first-rounder in our final Sixers-only mock draft and, like Sean said, try not to overthink it. We’ll say the Sixers slide up to No. 18 to take Bane by packaging the 21st and 36th picks so that one of the contenders in front of them doesn't take the 22-year-old.
Bane comes with a generous handful of non-statistical positives, among them maturity and basketball intelligence molded over four college seasons. The bottom line, though, is he’s an excellent and versatile shooter.