Analysis Of How Top Draft Prospects Would Fit With Sixers
With reports that the Sixers and Celtics are in serious talks about sending the First overall pick to Philadelphia, the 76ers now have all options on the table for who they would want to pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports’ The Vertical reports that Markelle Fultz will be visitng Philadelphia on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the Sixers already holding workout sessions with University of Kentucky Guards Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox. So what would the top Draft Prospects bring to the Sixers? Here’s a breakdown:
-Prospect Ceiling Comparison: Joe Dumars/Dwayne Wade
-Prospect Floor Comparison: Baron Davis
-Strengths: All-Around Scorer, Great Handle, Very Good Playmaker, Good Shooting Touch, Fearless
-Weaknesses: Average Passer, Looks to Score First too often, Opportunistic Defender, Stat Compiler
-Potential Sixers Lineup if Drafted: Embiid, Saric, Simmons, Bayless/Covington, Fultz
Summary: Fultz is the top prospect in the 2017 NBA Draft for good reason with a unique combination of shooting touch, ball handling, and athleticism. Standing at 6’4″ with the wingspan of a 6’9″ athlete, he is the modern prototype for the NBA Combo Guard and in different games he has shown flashes of several NBA stars, from Dwayne Wade to Joe Dumars to Penny Hardaway to James Harden. He shot 41.3 Percent from Three Point Range along with averaging 23.2 Points, 5.9 Assists, and 1.6 Steals Per Game at the University of Washington last season. The downside for Fultz is that he was not great at elevating the play of his team as the Huskies only won Nine Games while having a Strength of Schedule that ranked 66th in the nation. The team lost 13 games in a row to end the season after tallying wins over teams like Colorado, Cal Poly Tech, Northern Arizona, Cal State Fullerton, and Western Michigan. So while Fultz flashed great talent and put up big statistics, it will be interesting to see how all of that translates to the NBA; the question of being able to carry a team has plagued Kyrie Irving during his NBA career, have to wonder will it be an issue for Fultz too.
-Prospect Ceiling Comparison: Penny Hardaway
-Prospect Floor Comparison: Steve Francis
-Strengths: Great Court Vision, Good Playmaker, High Level Passer, Good Athlete
-Weaknesses: Streaky Shooter, Below Average Defender, Not A Combo Guard (6’6” PG)
-Potential Sixers Lineup if Drafted: Embiid, Saric, Simmons, Ball, Bayless
Summary: Lonzo Ball skills as a Point Guard are undeniable with great Court Vision and uncanny ability to pass with precision. Also at 6’6″ he has the size, athleticism, and talent to be a matchup problem for every team he plays in the NBA. The problem for Ball, despite shooting 41.2 percent from Three Point Range and averaging 14.6 Points Per Game along with 7.6 Assists Per Game, he had 11 Games in which he shot less than 30 percent from Three Point Range. His streaky shooting combined with Pass First mentality limits his effectiveness when his team may be dependent on him to fill a scoring or shooting void. Also on the defensive end, his on ball defense was a liability at times while playing at UCLA and if he is isolated defending quick NBA Guards, he could consistently struggle.
-Prospect Ceiling Comparison: Kawhi Leonard
-Prospect Floor Comparison: Al Harrington
-Strengths: Excellent Athlete, Great Length, High Level Defender, Above Average Passer
-Weaknesses: Average Shooting Touch, Below Average Free Throw Shooter, Average Ball Handler for player who Slashes to the basket
-Potential Sixers Lineup if Drafted: Embiid, Jackson, Simmons, Covington, Bayless
Summary: Josh Jackson is an elite athlete who has a high motor and competes hard on both ends of the court. He has the potential to be a perennial All-NBA Defense Team selection and may compete in NBA Slam Dunk competition sooner than later. But Jackson had 15 games while at Kansas where he shot less than 30 percent from Three Point Range and for the season he shot 56.6 percent from the Free Throw Line; aspects of his game that must be improved upon in order for him to continue to be a value part of a team’s offense in the NBA. If he doesn’t improve on his Outside Shooting and Free Throw Percentage, he will become a liability on offense who teams can’t have on the floor in late game, crunch time situations.
-Prospect Ceiling Comparison: Mike Conley
-Prospect Floor Comparison: Brevin Knight
-Strengths: Good Passer, Skillful Playmaker, High Level Defender, Underrated Athlete
-Weaknesses: Inconsistent Shooter, Above Average Handle that should be better
-Potential Sixers Lineup if Drafted: Embiid, Saric, Simmons, Covington, Fox
Summary: De’Aaron Fox was at times overshadowed by University of Kentucky teammate Malik Monk. But Fox skills will make him a valuable player to have on any team that drafts him with his combination of Ball Handling, Athleticism, Playmaking skills, and Competitive nature makes his a great foil for the NBA’s top Point Guards. On the defense end he can stay with opposing the entire game while on offense create opportunities for his team to score on every possession. The major weakness in his game is that lack of good touch as an Outside Shooter; last season he shot 24.6 percent from Three Point Range while averaging 16.7 Points Per Game. If he does not improve his shooting, it will hurt his potential in the NBA as he has the intangibles to be an All-Star caliber Point Guard in the league.
-Prospect Ceiling Comparison: Ray Allen
-Prospect Floor Comparison: Vernon Maxwell/Eric Gordon
-Strengths: Excellent Outside Shooter, Explosive Scorer, Underrated Athleticism
-Weaknesses: Undersized Shooting Guard (6’4”), Average Ball Handler, not a Combo Guard (doesn’t have experience running an offense), potential matchup liability on defense versus bigger Guards
-Potential Sixers Lineup if Drafted: Embiid, Saric, Simmons, Monk, Bayless
Summary: Malik Monk was more than just the 2016-17 SEC Player of the Year, he had 19 Games in which he scored at least 20 Points and 17 games in which he shot 40 percent or better from Three Point Range. In 38 games, Monk showed his ability to be a major impact on offense averaging 19.8 Points per Game with a True Shooting Percentage of 58.6 percent. The problem for Monk is at his height (6’4″) he is undersized for the Shooting Guard position and he does not have experience at the collegiate level running an offense so what he can do has limitations at the NBA level. While he is arguably the top shooter in the 2017 NBA Draft, if he doesn’t go to the right team then he may be Type Cast for the rest of his career.
-Prospect Ceiling Comparison: Paul Pierce
-Prospect Floor Comparison: Caron Butler
-Strengths: All-Around Scorer, Good Defender, Good Length, Good Athlete
-Weaknesses: Above Average Shooting Touch, Average Ball Handler, Average Passer, Not Elite at any particular skill
-Potential Sixers Lineup if Drafted: Embiid, Saric, Simmons, Tatum, Bayless
Summary: Jayson Tatum is one of the best all-around players available in the 2017 NBA Draft. He can score in a variety of ways and showed in his time playing at Duke University that he can be an efficient perimeter player while also being an impact player on the defensive end. The downside for Tatum is that, unlike the other prospects listed above, none of his talents would be rated as top tier or elite. What will elevate him in the NBA will not be his talents although his is a very good all-around NBA Prospect. He only had seven games at Duke in which he scored at least 20 Points, but three of those games came in the ACC Conference Tournament. What will allow him to reach his potential is how badly he wants to be great and if he shows the desire/drive to be one of the best in the NBA, he has the chance to be a perennial All-NBA team selection.