It’s way too early to start thinking about the NBA Draft.
Or is it?
The season just ended four days ago, but the draft is on June 20th, which is less than five weeks away. That’s what happens I guess when you exit in game seven of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Your offseason isn’t as long as it used to be.
Yesterday I wrote up a summary of the Sixers’ five selections with a bit of history on picks 24, 33, and 34, and today we start with a look at some of the mock drafts out there.
Gary Parrish has the Sixers going with Purdue’s junior point guard Carsen Edwards:
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 (sic) perfectly suited to come off of the bench.
The Sixers need a backup point guard next season. Markelle Fultz was supposed to be that guy when he came out of the starting lineup, then T.J. McConnell ended up doing the job before Brett Brown slimmed his playoff rotation and gave Jimmy Butler the ball.
They’ve got the Sixers going with LSU freshman center Naz Reid.
He played 34 games this year, averaging 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds for the regular season SEC champion Tigers.
Jonathan Givony mocks Washington guard/forward Matisse Thybulle to the Sixers:
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.
Thybulle is a three and D NBA prospect, shooting 40.5% from deep as a sophomore, 36.5% as a junior, and 30.5% as a senior. I’m interested in knowing why that is, so we’ll investigate when we do a separate write up.
Focus on his defense here:
Sam Vecenie likes Virginia combo guard Ty Jerome:
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.
Jerome is 6’5″, 195 pounds, played three years at Virginia and averaged 14, 4, and 6 in the Cavs’ title-winning season.
Jonathan Wasserman has the Sixers going with Tennessee power forward Grant Williams:
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.
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.
Their big board has Kentucky guard Tyler Herro going at #24 overall:
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.
Chris Stone also mocks Thybulle to Philly.
For what it’s worth, most boards had Thybulle going in the 19-23 range, right before the Sixers pick.
I’ll do individual profiles on most of these guys as we get closer to the draft.