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June 18, 2019

Sixers have their work cut out for them picking at No. 24

But there have been a couple of really good players taken in that spot...

Joel Embiid, in the immortal words of Sixers play-by-play announcer Mark Zumoff, turns garbage into gold all the time.

The Sixers front office must try and do the same with their first-round pick in Thursday Night's NBA Draft.

Historically, the No. 24 pick has barely bred any players of note. Last year's Anfernee Simons — the Blazers pick at 24 — played in 20 games, averaging 3.8 points per game. Two years ago, the last time Philly picked at 24, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot didn't turn out to be a serviceable role player worthy of a spot in the rotation.

In all, through the last 40 NBA Drafts, No. 24 overall picks have combined for 13 total All-Star appearances and five total All-Star players.

Here's a brief look at the history Philly's newest member will be looking to surpass when he joins the squad later this week:

All-Star players

The top three players picked at 24 have 11 All-Star appearances among them. Kyle Lowry, picked in 2006 by the Grizzlies, was a key contributor to the Raptors' NBA title this past spring and has made five NBA All-Star Games.

Latrell Sprewell was drafted 24th in 1992 by Warriors. He appeared in four All-Star games and was an All-NBA first teamer one time.

Terry Porter, a role player on the Blazers squad that made the NBA Finals in the 1990s, went 24th in 1985. He has been an All-Star twice.

Two players, Andre Kirilinko, picked in 1999 by the Jazz, and Sam Cassell, drafted in 1993 by Rockets, have each appeared in one All-Star game.

Role players

The odds of Philadelphia finding a star at 24 are pretty slim, but they'd be more than satisfied if they found some kind of role player who was worthy of playing meaningful rotation minutes. 

There is a strong history of these at the No. 24 spot, with Tim Hardaway Jr. (2013), Reggie Jackson (2011), Serge Ibaka (2008), Derek Fisher (1996), Rick Fox (1991) and Arvydas Sabonis (1986) among those who have carved out pretty solid NBA careers. 

The busts

It's hard to really consider a No. 24 overall pick a bust, since 23 players, every year, are expected top play better. That being said, the list of players you've never heard of taken recently in this slot is exceptionally long. We won't waste your time going all the way back to 1969, but we will include the last 10 players to be drafted 24th in the below table. The stats are for each player's entire career.

PlayerYear | TeamGamesPPG
Anfernee Simons 2018 | Portland203.8
Tyler Lydon2017 | Denver260.9
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
2016 | Sixers1715.7
Tyus Jones2015 | Timberwolves2475.1
Shabazz Napier
2014 | Heat2896.4
 Tim Hardaway Jr.2013 | Knicks40313.1
Jared Cunningham
2012 | Cavaliers 842.3
Reggie Jackson
2011 | Thunder53012.9
Damion James
2010 | Hawks393.8
Byron Mullens
2009 | Mavericks1897.4

The track record hasn't been very good. If Philly can find its own Jackson or Hardaway Jr., great — otherwise another soon-to-be-anonymous name could be added to this list.

Recent mock drafts are all over the board attempting to project the Sixers' potential acquisition. But Elton Brand has insisted that the Sixers are looking for players who can contribute now.

“Maybe older players," the GM said when asked about what kind of player they'd target, a sentiment he reiterated on Tuesday. "For sure defensive-minded players and players that place a premium on shooting.”

The good news is that there is probably a pretty low level of pressure this draft when compared to recent drafts, like, say 2017 when the traded up to take Markelle Fultz at No. 1. We'll see if Brand can summon the former power forward within to turn garbage into gold with No. 24 in 2019.

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