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April 20, 2017

2017 NBA Draft: Sixers mock draft roundup, version 3.0

With the NBA regular season over and draft lottery odds now set, we’re at the midway point of the all-important NBA mock draft season. The real order still isn’t set, but at the very least, everyone is working with the Sixers at the same pick of the draft.

As the Sixers are currently slotted at the fourth selection, the two top point guards (Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball) and swingman Josh Jackson are almost unanimously sitting in the top three spots of mock drafts.

For the Sixers then, it’s a question of drafting either a guard or wing. To the mocks!

CBS Sports: Jonathan Isaac

Brett Brown's plan was to make his Sixers a top-15 defensive team this year, and somehow he did it. Give Brown a defensive weapon like Isaac, and top-10, top-5 are possible.

Bleacher Report: Jayson Tatum

With Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown fully committed to playing Ben Simmons at point guard, fans can forget about Philly adding ball-dominant players like Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox or North Carolina State's Dennis Smith Jr.

In terms of fit, Kentucky's Malik Monk makes sense, but so does Duke's Jayson Tatum, a more complete, two-way player. He's proven to be an advanced shot-creator and versatile shot-maker with textbook tools and fine athleticism.

If the Sixers line up Simmons at the 1, they can look to add Tatum, a go-to scoring option who'll play with Dario Saric at the 4 and Joel Embiid at center.

Draft Express: Jayson Tatum

ESPN: Malik Monk

The 76ers finally got their tank on at the end of the season and upped their chances of getting the No. 1 pick by about three percent.

If both Fultz and Ball are off the board, Monk would be an especially attractive choice. Ben Simmons can be the full-time point forward for the Sixers, but they'll need a backcourt player who can shoot and open up the offense. Monk's the most lethal perimeter scorer in the draft. De’Aaron Fox

Rich’s Take: Despite a great NCAA Tournament, the one player that I have trouble buying for the Sixers in these mocks is De’Aaron Fox. Here is what Bryan Colangelo said about drafting players who fit with Ben Simmons.

“If it is someone who has pure point potential, you’re hoping that that player can also shoot the ball and play off the ball a little bit,” he said. “And I think it’s pretty easy when you’re talking about, as long as you can take that mentality of being just a point guard and locked into a position and being able to play off the ball, that’s the most important part. It’s not necessarily about being a combo player, it’s about playing off the ball.”

To me, that sounds like the Sixers aren’t going to run away from playmaking if the prospect in question shows an ability to make shots and play off the ball. And why would you? Passing and playmaking are coveted skills in the modern NBA.

The two pure point guards who fit that bill might be Fultz and Ball, though. And until the lottery shakes out, we’re not going to see their names attached with the Sixers in mock drafts.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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