May 15, 2019
On Tuesday night, the NBA held its annual draft lottery, and while the results didn't wind up impacting the Sixers directly, there's always the possibility of a ripple effect caused by the picks ahead of them throwing a wrench in the plans of general manager Elton Brand, who will be overseeing his first NBA Draft at the helm of his former team.
Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Ja Morant are expected to be the top three players off the board. From there, chaos will likely ensue. What remains to be seen is whether the chaos resulting from the 23 picks ahead of the Sixers becomes a ladder* for Brand and Co. to climb or a pit that swallows them whole.
*RIP Littlefinger and Varys, the Woj and Shams of Westeros
There are a ton of variables at play, especially when you're picking in the back third of the draft, so it's extremely difficult to pin down what the Sixers are going to do with the 24th-overall pick. Will they take the best player available — and who might that even be when they're on the clock? Will they draft for need? Will they make a trade?
With the lottery out of the way and the draft order now set, many basketball scribes from around the country put out updated NBA mock drafts this week. And, unsurprisingly, there was little agreement about what the Sixers will do on draft night.
From point guards to centers, freshman to seniors — and even an international player — there seems to be plenty of ways for Brand and the Sixers to go with their first pick. Three players (Cameron Johnson, Ty Jerome, and Matisse Thybulle) had a pair of endorsements, but no player was picked by more than two outlets. And that's where we'll start our first mock draft roundup of 2019, which features 10 drafts — and seven different players being mocked to the Sixers.
Ricky O'Donnell | SB Nation
Johnson blossomed into one of the great shooters in college basketball during his senior year at North Carolina, knocking down 46 percent of his threes on six attempts per game. Teams will question his ability to attack off the dribble on offense and wonder if he can stay on the floor defensively. Still, the Sixers need shooters and Johnson is one of the best available at 6’9.
Jeremy Woo | Sports Illustrated
At this point, Johnson looks one of the more NBA-ready wings available, with a potentially elite catch and shoot profile that makes him a good first-round bet despite his advanced age and history of leg injuries. He’ll only be average defensively, but his touch and mechanics are for real, and Johnson will have to be accounted for on the floor at all times. A playoff team like the Sixers might be able to use him immediately as a plug-and-play floor spacer.
Kyle Boone | CBS Sports
The Sixers need a shooting threat (like, say, Landry Shamet, who they traded away last season). Jerome would fill that need and perhaps a more critical one. With his ability to navigate an offense he could also serve as the backup floor general to Ben Simmons. Jerome was one of the NCAA's best spot-up shooters last season, so with or without J.J. Redick, he'd be a useful pawn in The Process moving forward.
Sam Veccine | The Athletic
The 76ers are another team that desperately needs to add shooting this offseason. Enter Jerome, who fits in multiple ways in this situation. Jerome hit 39.9 percent of his 3s this season, a ridiculous number given how many of his shots come off the dribble as Virginia’s best late-shot clock option. But Jerome also excels shooting off-the-catch, with terrific understanding of how to come off of screens in order to get separation from his defender. For the 76ers, he represents everything they should want in a prospect. He has experience guarding point guards at 6-foot-5, he can play some lead guard in the half-court next to Ben Simmons, and he can run all day in off-ball action when they decide to push him off-ball to get Simmons on the ball. It’s a perfect marriage of skill and need. Even though Jerome isn’t quite as fast as Landry Shamet at running off of screens, he could be an opportunity for the team to pick up a lot of what it dealt away when it moved the former Wichita State star in the Tobias Harris deal. I’m a big fan of this potential landing spot, even if Jerome is seen more by NBA executives as a late first, early second round type player.
Jonathan Givony | ESPN
The Sixers are flush with creators and scoring at every position, but they could stand to add some defensive versatility on the wing. A player such as Thybulle, arguably the best perimeter defender in college basketball, could fit well, especially since he's a willing ball mover who will have no issue deferring to the team's plethora of stars.
Add the fact that he's a senior -- and thus more in line with the Sixers' timetable -- and he makes a lot of sense.
Chris Stone | Sporting News
Depth on the wing is the move for Philadelphia in the mid-20s. Thybulle had one of the most impressive college basketball seasons in recent memory in terms of putting up steals and blocks on the defensive end. He flashes impressive instincts there.
Although his shooting numbers were down this year, he's been an above average 3-point shooter for his career, and his free-throw shooting foreshadows potential success.
Gary Parrish | CBS Sports
Edwards' incredible performances in the NCAA Tournament — especially his 42-point game against the Virginia team that went on to win the national championship — helped the Purdue junior with NBA front offices, and now he's a likely first-round pick. The 6-1 guard averaged 24.3 points in 35.4 minutes per game this season while shooting 35.5% from 3-point range. At worst, I think, Edwards projects as an instant-offense contributer perfectly suited to come off of the bench.
Kevin O'Connor | The Ringer
Shooting is a premium skill in the NBA, and Herro displays the potential to be a dynamic shot maker and a well-rounded two-way player.
SHADES OF: Devin Booker, C.J. Miles, Courtney Lee
Jonathan Wasserman | Bleacher Report
Unlikely to go too high without plus athleticism, advanced creating ability or shooting range, Williams offers value-pick potential. His floor is high and propped up by skilled post-scoring moves and passes, a strong 236-pound frame and terrific IQ at both ends of the floor. The Sixers can overlook upside for the strong chance that Williams can bring efficient play and toughness in a bench role for years.
Ryan Phillips | The Big Lead
Goga Bitadze is 6’11” and 251 pounds but can step out on the floor and hit shots. He can handle the ball a bit and pass pretty well for a center. He’s not fleet of foot or likely to ever be a great on-ball defender away from the paint, but he can protect the rim.
Joel Embiid in the anchor in Philly, but there’s no depth behind him. Bitadze is a versatile guy, just like Embiid who could fill in for him perfectly.
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