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June 03, 2024

NBA mock draft roundup: Can Sixers add impact player at No. 16?

The Sixers have their highest draft pick in a half-decade in what is believed to be a weak draft class. Can they still find a long-term contributor?

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Jared McCain 6.2.24 Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

Duke guard Jared McCain's impressive shooting could make him a strong fit with the Sixers.

With the 2024 NBA Draft nearly three weeks away and the Sixers in ownership of the No. 16 overall pick, the debate continues: should the Sixers draft a young player in hopes of developing a cost-controlled contributor with upside, or trade the pick in a deal to acquire an established veteran with a better chance of impacting winning in the immediate term?

A trade for a veteran may be the optimal path for Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey, but finding the right target on a team willing to do business and finding common ground on an asking price is not an easy task. If the Sixers do keep their first-round pick, who do the experts see them taking?

Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo, ESPN: Jared McCain, G, Duke

McCain, who shot over 41 percent from beyond the arc in his freshman season at Duke, is not physically-imposing. But he could profile as someone well-suited to thrive alongside the Sixers' All-Star duo of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

Woo writes:

"McCain has been receiving interest as high as the late lottery, with teams drawn to his shooting ability, intangibles and work ethic. He might be more prepared than most freshmen to step into a role and help an NBA team. He figures to not last long into the teens, with the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers all in need of what McCain brings to the court.

Depending on who falls, Philadelphia is in position to draft the best available prospect at No. 16 but should be angling to grab a cost-controlled role player to contribute during this window as Joel Embiid enters his 30s and rising star Tyrese Maxey is ticketed for a big contract. The level of spacing and versatility McCain provides on offense should be attractive to the Sixers. Expect this pick to surface in trade conversations, as has been team president Daryl Morey's M.O. for quite some time."

Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report: Isaiah Collier, G, USC

Collier is not the USC guard discussed most often publicly — that would be Bronny James, of course — but he is much more highly-regarded within league circles. Collier was once considered a potential top-five pick, but poor shooting in his freshman season hurt his draft stock. Many still see plenty of upside in Collier, though.

Wasserman on his strengths as a prospect:

"Listed as 6'5" by USC, Isaiah Collier measured 6'2.5" (socks) with a near 6'5" wingspan at the NBA combine. He also didn't shoot that well during drills, and teams will be looking closely into his almost set jump shot during workouts.

Still, the draw to Collier is his shiftiness for creativity, physicality attacking and finishing and live-dribble passing skill. Teams that think his jump shot and decision-making should improve will see more upside than those worried about his low-volume three-point numbers and turnovers. But even teams who have those concerns may be interested in Collier's ability to break down defenses, make plays off the bounce and put pressure on the rim."

Cody Taylor, Rookie Wire: Ja'Kobe Walter, G/F, Baylor

Oftentimes, three-point volume and free throw percentage are the best indicators of how a collegiate player will shoot once they arrive to the NBA. Walter shot a massive amount of threes last season — taking more than six attempts per game from beyond the arc — though his percentage was modest (34.1 percent). He made nearly 80 percent of his free throws.  

Taylor makes the case for Walter in Philadelphia:

"Walter was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and finished with the second-most points by a freshman in program history (508). He struggled at the start of conference play, which affected his draft stock, but he settled in and finished the year on a high note.

The 19-year-old can get to his spots well, pull up from virtually everywhere and finish at the rim. He can also lock up on defense. The Sixers will likely take the best prospect available, which points to Walter, who was considered a potential top-five pick at the start of the year."

Brian Lewis, New York Post: Devin Carter, G, Providence

Carter fits the mold of a guard role player perfectly, making him a popular candidate for teams like the Sixers who are picking in the middle of the first round and already have established stars.

Lewis on Carter's fit in Philadelphia:

"Another older prospect at 22, Carter got plenty of experience in the Big East grind, used his staggering 7-1 wingspan to great effect on defense and showed well in the combine. He opted to play and helped his stock, which now seems firmly in the top 20. For a 76ers team in win-now mode looking for instant contributors around Joel Embiid, an athletic defender who could immediately make the rotation seems a good fit." 

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