May 31, 2017
The 2017 NBA Draft is only three weeks away, and somehow, some way, more mock drafts are being produced every day. Here is what some of the national draftniks are projecting that the Sixers will do with the third pick on June 22nd:
If the Lakers pass on Ball for Fox, the question becomes whether the Sixers immediately leap on Ball or stick with the prospect they likely would have talked themselves into at this point: Josh Jackson. Also key is determining how Ball would fit with (or not) a point-forward like Ben Simmons and a scoring big man like Joel Embiid. Philadelphia needs guards but wouldn’t want to neuter its two best assets in the process.
Jackson is the best prospect available and could end up the best player in this draft. The Sixers could also opt to trade back a few spots to draft a shooter such as Jayson Tatum or Malik Monk. Drafting Tatum here at 3 is another possibility as there are ties between the Colangelos and Coach K, and Tatum is a safe pick. However he seems to be a bit of a reach here. There are a number of teams that could move up to three to target DeAaron Fox or Josh Jackson, so a trade with Sacramento for 5 and 10 or a deal with Phoenix or another team are possibilities. Jackson gives the Sixers a stud defender and wing to match with Ben Simmons.
Jackson didn't get the attention that some of the other freshmen got this season -- and he wasn't even the best player on his team. (That was Frank Mason.) But the 6-8 wing was tremendous while averaging 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in his lone year of college. He projects as a high-level contributor on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. He'll make the Sixers more athletic, right from the jump.
Rich’s Take: There has recently been some pushback against the Sixers drafting Jackson at No. 3, which is par for the course at this time of year as we dissect prospects’ weaknesses. Many are pointing out his wiry frame on defense limiting him to guarding just 1-3, the lack of an advanced handle of offense, and many mental lapses on both ends of the floor.
I understand and agree with all of those things, but when you’re talking about the Sixers potentially drafting Josh Jackson, it should boil down to one thing: Are you confident that shot can improve to the point where it’s at least passable? Or is it Justise Winslow 2.0?
(By the way, I’m not all that confident in Jackson’s shot).
A number of other mocks out on the worldwide web have the Sixers taking Josh Jackson here, but Philly needs scoring help more than it needs a defensive stopper with questions about his shot.
Jayson Tatum would be another worthwhile pick — the issue there, however, is that Philly already has two forwards in Ben Simmons and Dario Saric.
Rich’s Take: Reading all of the other mock drafts, the general consensus seems to be that the No. 3 pick is too high to select Monk, a somewhat limited player with a borderline elite skill the Sixers need desperately. Despite the great fit, I’d rather pick another player at 3.
Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp has the Sixers trading the third pick to Sacramento for 5 (Monk) and 10 (Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell). Now, that is how you mock draft!
This is probably too high for Mitchell, but I don't care. He's a great athlete who will be awesome on defense wherever he goes, and he's got the sort of streaky shooting that could make him even more valuable a few years down the line. Mitchell probably isn't an All-Star, but he's giving off some distinct Avery Bradley vibes. At worst, he's a more athletic Malcolm Brogdon. For the Sixers and this 10th pick (via our fake trade), he's another guard who'd be a perfect fit with Simmons, and potentially a perfect fit next to Monk, too. In any case, he's here because there's a significant drop-off after the top 9 potential All-Stars in this draft, and among everyone else, Mitchell is the most enticing role player.
Rich’s Take: I would probably take OG Anunoby instead of Mitchell if the draft board fell the way Sharp is projecting. Matt Mullin and I discussed trading back for 5 and 10 a few weeks ago.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann
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