We’re a little over a month away from the 2020 NBA draft and the most recent news of note is that, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the league is now allowing teams to do in-person evaluations of prospects. It’s an interesting wrinkle to this long, odd pre-draft process.
Let’s look at who the Sixers are taking with the 21st pick in some recent mock drafts:
Desmond Bane (TCU)
Vecenie: “This is a bit of a spike for Bane up to No. 21. Sources around the league have begun noting that they’d be surprised if he got out of the first round right now, simply because almost every team at the bottom of the first round could make a reasonable case for selecting him. … No team could use shooting more than Philadelphia, who desperately needs to surround Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid with more floor-spacing.”
Like Vecenie, we had Bane at No. 21 in our Sixers-only mock draft from earlier this week. There’s not much apparent downside to the idea of taking Bane, a sharpshooting four-year college player who isn’t going to be picked on defensively. He thinks he could be similar to Landry Shamet and JJ Redick for the Sixers (see story).
Tyrell Terry (Stanford)
Tyrell Terry (Stanford)
Wasserman: “The Sixers can add another ball-handler and shooter with Terry, whose range, touch and ball skills make it easy to look past his questionable frame.”
Rowland: “One of the knocks on his game is his lack of physicality but, make no mistake, Terry can flat-out shoot. Philly needs another ball-handler, too, but the spacing is priority No. 1 on the perimeter. Terry brings both and the fit makes sense.”
We’ve written plenty already about Terry, who turned 20 years old last month and has been focused on adding muscle. Expect to keep hearing about him and Bane as the draft nears; they’re two of the best shooters in the class and have secondary skills that should be appealing to the Sixers.
Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky)
Sanfoka: “The playoffs revealed the Sixers have holes to fill if they want to contend in the East. Maxey can fill multiple roles as a ball-handler, scorer and defender. He wasn’t a strong shooter as a freshman, but has the tools to become one.”
While it seems there’s a good chance Maxey is off the board by No. 21, he’d be an interesting option if available. Per Synergy, Maxey allowed just 0.26 points per one-on-one possession (97th percentile). The Sixers could use someone with the skill to stymie opposing point guards, and Maxey looks to have that potential.
He shot 29.2 percent from three-point range as a freshman and has a low release point on his jumper. If he winds up being below average from long range in the NBA and defenses don’t have to respect his shot, pick-and-roll playmaking would be a greater challenge.
Theo Maledon (ASVEL)
Parrish: “Theo Maledon missed time with an injury while playing professionally in France last season and was mostly underwhelming — although, in fairness, he played better as things progressed. But the talent that made him an interesting prospect at a young age — he was the youngest LNB All-Star in history — still exists.”
Maledon said last month that the Sixers were not one of the nine teams who had interviewed him. He didn’t use his shoulder injury as an excuse for his dip in shooting efficiency — 29.4 percent from three in domestic competition last season compared to 40.6 percent in 2018-19, albeit on a small sample size.
In Maledon’s opinion, his professionalism and pick-and-roll ability should translate well to the NBA; his plan is to play in the league next season, not be a stash player. Still just 19 years old, he’s been a pro since 2017 and is one of a handful of point guards that might be a possibility at No. 21.
Cole Anthony (North Carolina)
Ham: “Anthony was a top prospect coming into the year, but he seems to be going the wrong way during the draft process. … If he makes it to Philly, it might be a perfect fit. He’s a dynamic athlete with scoring potential.”
Anthony is like Maxey in that he’s a one-and-done, big-name, big-college player who could slip in the draft. Again, though, it appears more likely than not that he’s gone by this point. He suffered a midseason knee injury and put up big numbers (18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game) on a bad UNC team.