NBA Draft tonight.
Your Sixers hold the following picks:
I compiled a mock draft roundup yesterday featuring expert picks on what the team might do with those first three selections. Here’s a handful of guys I like, in no particular order, for selections 24, 33, and/or 34:
Cameron Johnson – 6’8″ small forward, North Carolina
I see Johnson to the Sixers in pretty much every other mock draft out there. Keith Pompey reported that he did a private workout for the team.
Johnson is 23 years old, a Pitt transfer who played five years of college basketball. He had injury issues over the years, which included hip surgery, shoulder surgery, and a torn meniscus. If that sounds like a lot, it is, but he rebounded to play 36 games this year, shooting 50.6% from the floor, 45.7% from three, and averaging 16.9 points per game.
When you watch his film you see a smooth stroke that really is difficult to contest, simply because he can shoot right over you. He’s got a quick release and looks like a nice floor spacer at the NBA level, which is something Brett Brown certainly values. Johnson doesn’t stand out in the athleticism department, so some of the 3 and D comparisons I see with Robert Covington feel slightly off, but he does have an elite catch and shoot game, which you can see here:
Dylan Windler, 6’7″ SG/SF, Belmont
The more I watch his tape, the more I think he’d be a really nice fit in Brown’s offense, a taller, mid-major JJ Redick mold who could really learn from playing with the latter.
Windler is a pure scorer, a left-handed senior with an incredibly silky release who moves really well off the ball and can pretty much fire from anywhere. He shot 42.9% from three while attempting more than seven per game.
He’s seen as a fringe first rounder, and he’s not dissimilar from Johnson in the fact that you’d be getting a 23 year old perimeter player who brings question marks on the defensive end. Windler played for Belmont, so the competition in the Ohio Valley was not exactly murderer’s row. He scored 12 and 7 points in the regular season against UCLA and Purdue, respectively, 5 against Temple in the NCAA tournament, and then exploded for 35 in the round of 32 loss to Maryland:
Matisse Thybulle – 6’6″ SG/SF, Washington
Thybulle is the other guy I see mocked to the Sixers with frequency, and Investor Jeff says he’s wary of taking another Washington guy after watching Markelle Fultz turn into a huge bust.
Matisse is considered to be one of the top defensive products in this draft, a lanky wing who averaged a ridiculous 3.5 steals per game as a senior.
Two things about that:
- The PAC-12 was not great this past season. Washington won the league with a 15-3 record at 27-9 overall, then got crushed by UNC in the tournament (they lost by 22 points as Thybulle shot 1-8)
- UW played 2-3 zone
To that second point, I see some people saying that Thybulle is fool’s gold, that he racked up steals just swiping entry passes as one of the two players at the top of the zone. That’s a valid point, but when I look at the tape, I see a guy who looks athletic enough to be disruptive while sliding around the floor at the NBA level.
When you think about what he might look like playing alongside the likes of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, or even Zhaire Smith, there are some fun possibilities for what the Sixers could be defensively in 2019. There might be some overlap with a Smith skill-set, but you can always use good wings in the modern day NBA.
Offensively, Thybulle only scored 9 points a game while shooting 30% from three as a senior, but that number was as high as 35% as a junior and 40% as a sophomore. His scoring game is not polished, but there’s room to grow.
Eric Paschall – 6’7″ power forward, Villanova
Put me in the camp of people who feel like the Sixers should have been more interested in Villanova guys because of the program’s solid culture and recent history of winning. That makes more sense now that the Sixers are on a “win now” timeline, which matches up with the age and experience of Nova upperclassmen entering the draft.
Paschall is a guy who was seen as a first round shoe-in draft pick this season, but his stock dropped a bit as he was forced into a different role on a team that lost key pieces from the 2018 national championship squad. He was at his best as a P.J. Tucker-esque glue guy, a linking pseudo-big on a team that liked to pass the hell out of the ball and shoot the three.
Paschall is mobile, a good defensive player who rotates well, I just wonder if he’s got the size and experience to guard NBA post players. He’s 6’7″, about 250 pounds, but with the Sixers he’d find himself matched up on the likes of Pascal Siakam, Marcus Morris, Thad Young, and John Collins.
He doesn’t really excel in any one particular area, so when you watched him play in isolation and shoot face ups for the Wildcats this year, it was a very atypical season for him. He still shot the ball at 44.7% and 34.8% from three, which isn’t bad at all, considering the fact that he was more of a go-to guy on a team that lost Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges and Omari Spellman to the NBA. But in 2018, he was hitting at 53.3 and 35.6%, respectively, on five fewer attempts per game (7.1). His 2018 season was more of what you’re going to get from him in the NBA, but here’s a clip showing one of his better 2019 performances: