Philadelphia officially has a first-round pick in this year’s NBA draft after the Nets delayed their first-round pick from the Sixers in the James Harden trade until 2023.
As the big day of June 23 looms, here’s a roundup of the most recent mock drafts to check in with some of the experts to see who they might have with the 23rd overall pick.
Kristin Peake, Yahoo!Sports – Jalen Williams, 6-6 guard, Santa Clara
Krysten Peek named Jalen Williams as one of the biggest boosters in this mock draft thanks to his strong performance in the combined draft. Here’s a quick breakdown of Peek putting Williams with the Sixers at age 23:
Williams was the best player on the field during the two days of the draft joint scrims. He made easy layups, shot well, and had some of the best results in transition. On defense, he keeps his men up front through screens and is effective at helping side defenses, shooting for steals and cues. Last year, Josh Primo (No. 12 to the Spurs) and Hyland (No. 26 to the Nuggets) were the biggest surprises in the first round, and Williams may be that person this year.
It’s an interesting pitch for Williams, and extra offensive punch (especially from someone of size) is always welcome on the bench. Williams is a bouncy vertical, he’s a very savvy ball-handler and passer, he’s shown scoring ability at all three levels, and he has some defensive versatility that can be played at several levels. Switching positions with excellent length (he has a 7-foot-2.5 wingspan).
Williams is definitely an interesting target on both ends of the pitch, as our own Paul Hedrick discusses here.
Jonathan Givony, ESPN Mock – EJ Liddell, 6-foot-7 forward, Ohio State
ESPN’s draft expert Jonathan Givony completed a new full mock of the NBA draft on May 31 and selected EJ Liddell for Philadelphia. Here’s Givony’s quote on what Liddell had to offer:
Philly will likely consider adding an all-around big man like Liddell who can protect the rim, switch on the perimeter, and has a high prospect after his shooting ability improved significantly as a young man. His productivity and resilience make him a solid option for a now-winning Sixers team that needs to find value in a rookie contract.
To give the Sixers some much-needed athleticism and defense against forwards, Liddell is definitely an exciting prospect to consider in their range.
Givony also released a new simulation on June 7 that produced two draft picks for each team — one for the best fit and one for the best player. For the needs of the Sixers, Givony selected 6-foot-1, 19-year-old point guard Kennedy Chandler from Tennessee:
After a rocky start, Chandler emerged as one of the best point guards in college in the second half of last season, displaying blazing speed, dynamic ball-handling and passing, and growing Steady pull-up jumper. His size (6-1, 172 pounds, 6-5¼ wingspan) might keep him away from the lottery spot his talent would suggest, but it didn’t stop him from playing great defense and leading the SEC in steals. The fact that he’s proven that he can play off the ball in two- and three-back lineups should also be appealing.
For the best talent, Givony chose Nikola Jovic, a 6-foot-11 Serbian forward who just turned 19:
If the 76ers prefer to hit base for the upside, a rookie like 18-year-old Serbian Jovic could be an interesting gamble. At 6-foot-11, Jovic is a natural fit for the modern NBA, a combo forward who can shoot, handle and pass. While he spent most of last season at small forward, his 9-foot stance suggests he can slide to center when his body fills up, making him an interesting pairing with Joel. Skilled big man partners like Embiid.
Chandler is an interesting offensive talent, but James Harden and Tyrese Maxey have covered the 76ers’ guard duties well. In my opinion, Shake Milton could be the next trusted guard for Doc Rivers, and with any potential veteran signing free agency, signing a rookie guard really shouldn’t be a priority for the Sixers.
For one thing, for Rivers’ teams, they simply won’t be on the floor much (if at all). Second, the 76ers need much more reliable wing play. Mattis Thybulle’s struggles in the playoffs and Danny Green’s ACL injury could keep him out for most, if not all, of next season (if he stays with the team). ), they obviously have far less depth and solid options out there. Since there may be some wing prospects within Philly’s draft range, addressing this position should be a priority for the Sixers if they retain the pick.
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated mock — Tari Eason, 21, 6-foot-8, LSU
The latest mock from SI has the Sixers getting a forward who could be one of their best potential acquisitions at this draft level. Here are Woo’s picks for Tari Eason:
Considering Daryl Morey’s historical aversion to using the pick, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Phillies try to flip this pick. That being said, Eason would be a very interesting option here, given his analysis-friendly production and his potential as a big, well-built guard. Even though Eason is 21 years old, he’s still a work in progress, and he’s acquired in the team, but this could be a sensible landing spot. Eason’s basketball IQ is a little questionable, and he’s prone to fouls and is an average shooter, but if he can fix those issues, he should be able to help a team.
There’s a reason a lot of mock drafts have Eason picked, and Eason is no later than a post-lottery or teenage kid. Right now, it seems unlikely he’ll be on time for the 76ers. However, if Eason does end up in the lottery and into the 76ers range at 23, he’d be a solid pick anyway. LB’s Harrison Grimm explains why in more detail here.
Basketball News – Jaden Hardy, 6-foot-4 guard, G League Ignite
Basketball News also had the Sixers pick a guard in their latest simulation. Here’s a quick summary of their Jaden Hardy game:
Jaden Hardy is a pure scoring prospect who has the potential to fill the paint in the lockout. At 6-foot-4, Hardy has good athleticism, shot creation, ball handling, crafty finishing, and a healthy amount of confidence, all of which allow him to score at a high rate. As a perimeter shooter, Hardy already has great range. Hardy is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
If a player is too good for you to pass up, it’s obviously wise to choose the best available talent over a need or fit. However, as I mentioned above, the Sixers should really try to prioritize their need for wing depth.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated with all the news as the draft draws closer, as well as provide a more in-depth breakdown of first-round prospects who could be targets for the 76ers.