I think we hit on most of the guys who will be available at #10 earlier this week, so let’s go through some of the dudes who might be options at 26.
What are the Sixers looking for with this pick? Assuming you get Mikal Bridges, Miles Bridges, or a combo forward/wing depth type of guy at 10, I think you look for a bench scorer at 26. That seems to be the consensus based on most of the mocks out there, with some familiar names popping up.
I would also keep an eye out for a Joel Embiid backup, but the problem is that this draft is so top-heavy with big men that it creates this gap from the teens to the second round talent-wise. With Deandre Ayton, Jaren Jackson, and Wendell Carter among the top-10 projections, there really isn’t any center who falls into that 20-30 range. Omari Spellman might be available, but he’s seen as a power forward/tweener type at the next level. Mitchell Robinson didn’t play college ball and comes with a lot of question marks, while Robert Williams is probably off the board by then.
With that said, here are some of are some of the scorers who might be worth a look at 26:
Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State)
The 2018 Big Ten player of the year is a 6’7″, 230-ish pound positionless player with a big wingspan.
He’s an athletic swingman, viewed as a 3 and D guy at this level, a Buckeye who scored 19.8 PPG and added 8.7 rebounds during his redshirt junior year. He shot 48% overall and 35.9% from three, but really does a lot of different things well. That sets him up to be the ideal NBA role player, somebody who doesn’t excel at one specific skill necessarily but chips in in a variety of ways. Keep him focused on the defensive end and Brett Brown can mold him into a solid bench guy, someone who can slot in to that small forward role and do the requisite free-flowing offensive and defensive stuff that Robert Covington does.
He isn’t the quickest player out there but has an ideal body type for the next level and gives me a bit of a Mikal Bridges vibe with the way he moves around the court:
Dzanan Musa (Bosnia)
A 6’9″, 195 pound small forward playing for Cedevita Zagreb in Croatia where he average d19, 6, and 2 this season.
The 19 year old is seen as a streaky scorer with high offensive potential but defensive concerns. Put the ball in his hands and he’ll do good things with it. Ask him to run around and defend off-ball and he won’t really impress you. I don’t know if that’s a red flag that turns off the Sixers due to Brett Brown’s high value of defensive intensity and commitment. The thought is that he’ll become a better defender as he grows into his body and becomes familiar with the NBA game.
But he’s a fearless player already, a guy who isn’t afraid to take the big shot or drive to the lane or put the team on his shoulders. He won’t shy away from the spotlight and comes with an intangible competitive side that you really can’t teach.
Look at the film below and tell me if you don’t see a bit of Marco Belinelli and JJ Redick in this kid:
Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova)
You know him. He had a wonderful national title game and strong combine and now here he is, a late 1st round draft projection.
He does a little bit of everything – scoring, rebounding, assists, defense, a team-first kind of guy who really fit in well at Villanova. That resulted in averages of 13/5/3 in 29.3 minutes per game. He shot 48% overall and 40% from three.
Seems like the biggest knock against DiVincenzo is that people think he benefited from being overshadowed by Bridges and Jalen Brunson and not really having too much of the spotlight on him. Would he had been the same player as a leader with pressure on his shoulders, or did he skate by as a 6th man? I don’t know, but it won’t matter at the next level, where he’s projected to be a bench scorer or a solid role player in a starting lineup next to a superstar or two. He redshirted as a freshman, so he’s 21 years old already, but that’s fine. He’s also listed at 6’5″ but might be a little shorter than that, which would put him right around JJ Redick’s height for a shooting guard.
Either way, he looked fantastic at the combine and I think the Sixers could do much worse at 26:
Khyri Thomas (Creighton)
Thomas is a 6’3″ PG/SG hybrid and the Big East defensive player of the year.
He’s undersized, sure, but he has a really nice feel for the game, a ferocious on-ball defender and a smooth shooter who improved his stroke during three years at Creighton, hitting field goals at a 53.8% clip this year.
The funky thing about his body is that while he’s not that tall, he still has a 6’11” wing span, which is what makes him so good defensively. He’s small enough to stay low and compact but can still be very disruptive with those long arms. Combine that with the fact that he shot better than 40% from three this year and you’re looking at, yes, another 3 and D prospect for the Sixers’ second unit.
And that’s okay, because he isn’t much a facilitator or shot creator. He doesn’t have much of a mid-range game and isn’t going to blow by you on the perimeter at the next level, but I could see him developing into a defensive minded Avery Bradley-esque combo guard in the NBA:
Kevin Huerter (Maryland)
He wasn’t sure if he’d stay in the draft or not, but ended up hiring an agent and throwing his name in the hat.
Huerter was great for the Terps this year, a 19 year old, 6’7″ shooting guard who just does a lot of things really well. He’s a smart player with strong fundamentals and a good grip on the game. As a sophomore, he put up 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 34.4 minutes per game. He shot 50.3% and 41.7% from three, though only hit at a 75.8% clip from the foul line.
I caught a bit of him this year and was really impressed with how smooth his catch and shoot game is. He’d regularly spot up from 4 or 5 feet behind the three point line and just knock down shots with ease. Fluid motions, good mechanics, wide base, really just a ton to love about his offensive game.
Defensively he’s not bad, but only brings a 6’8″ wing span to that side of the floor. I’m not sure if he has the requisite upper body strength for the NBA level either. Scouts seem to think his lack of explosiveness on both sides of the court will hurt him at the next level, but this is a shooter’s league, and a guy with this kind of ability will find a role on most teams: