The Sixers own picks No. 28 and No. 50 in this year’s NBA draft, which is set for July 29.
Though president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has shown he likes to deal on draft night, he thinks late in the first round isn’t a bad spot to be.
“I believe in our scouting staff,” Morey said Tuesday at his end-of-season press conference. “I believe in our coaches’ ability to develop these players and put them in good roles. And it’s a pretty deep draft in that range, so if we keep the pick — frankly, I’m someone who likes to move up, move down, optimize the draft — but if we stay with that pick like we did last year, I feel good about the players who will be available.”
Let’s review some recent mock drafts and look at players the Sixers might consider:
Max Abmas, Oral Roberts
Givony: “Abmas would represent another step in adding more scoring options to the 76ers' rotation. He ranked as the most efficient half-court scorer in college basketball, largely thanks to his ability to make difficult shots from beyond the arc operating out of pick-and-roll. His range, savvy and speed should also allow him to see time playing off the ball.”
Abmas led the nation in scoring as a sophomore (24.6 points per game) and proved that wasn’t all about his competition by posting 29, 26 and 25 points during Oral Roberts’ Sweet 16 run. He shot 43.3 percent from three-point territory on 8.3 attempts per game and possesses the sort of very deep range that’s useful for a small ball handler in the modern NBA. Abmas was 5-foot-10.5 (without shoes) and 161.8 pounds at the combine, so one of the first questions asked of him at the professional level would be whether he can overcome his lack of size enough to not be a defensive weak spot.
Miles McBride, West Virginia
Vecenie: “The 76ers continue to need more shooting around Joel Embiid, whether Ben Simmons is there or not. (President of basketball operations) Daryl Morey, of all people, will certainly continue to value perimeter scoring. McBride is a terrific defender and playmaker who can make an impact early off the bench. He also hit over 40 percent from 3 this year.”
There’s a good chance Morey and the Sixers will have their eyes on anyone who knocks down three-balls, even if that was not Tyrese Maxey’s signature skill when they took him with the 21st pick last year. In addition to improving his outside shooting, McBride sported a 4.8/1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio as a sophomore. The first few minutes of the video below from Adam Spinella highlight McBride’s ultra-competitive, irritating on-ball defense.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova
O’Connor: “Regardless of what they choose to do about Simmons, the Sixers would benefit from adding more wing defenders who can fill multiple roles. Robinson-Earl can space the floor or roll to the rim when sharing the floor with Joel Embiid, and he also has potential to fill a small-ball role in lineups without him. Robinson-Earl may not have major potential, but steady role players are critical for teams with championship aspirations.”
The Sixers just missed out on the opportunity to select a Villanova player in the 2020 draft. Saddiq Bey was picked at No. 19 and had a promising season with the Pistons, being named to the All-Rookie First Team. If the Sixers stay at the 28th pick, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to land a star. A versatile player from a winning program like Robinson-Earl would make sense.
Jared Butler, Baylor
Boone: “Jared Butler was referred to a fitness to play panel at the combine after undergoing medical exams in Chicago, so his stock is in limbo as we wait to learn more. If he's cleared, he's a clear first-round talent, though. Butler was the Final Four MOP for title-winning Baylor whose court vision, creation skills and above-average 3-point shooting makes him uniquely positioned to contribute to a Philly team that is in dire need of everything he can bring to the table.”
We liked Butler as a potential early Round 2 option for the Sixers during last year’s pre-draft process. He returned for his junior season and shined alongside likely lottery pick Davion Mitchell in big games. Butler had 22 points, seven assists and no turnovers in Butler’s national championship win over Gonzaga. There’s a smooth, self-assured quality to his game that would seem to project well in the NBA. His health takes precedence over any on-court matters at the moment.
Tre Mann, Florida
Byrum and Hughes: “Mann could easily be the breakout player of the year last season in college basketball. He improved his scoring by 10+ points per game and has a game that appears would translate into the NBA. He's a shot hunter (shooting 40% from three) and could project to a microwave scorer off the bench.”
A microwave scorer doesn’t sound too bad for the Sixers, right? Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz and Maxey occasionally fit that description last season, though none of them did so consistently.