8 Players That Could Fit the Sixers in the Draft
The NBA draft is nearly upon us. Daryl Morey and the new-look Sixers front office will have five picks at their disposal: Nos. 21, 34, 36, 49, and 58.
Chances are that Morey and company will not keep five players. Everything is on the table as far as trade scenarios.
With that said, let’s look at eight players that could be intriguing fits with the Sixers.
Tyrell Terry, PG/SG, Stanford
Terry is a combo guard that shot the ball extremely well in his one season at Stanford (40.8% from 3, 89.1% from the line). He has a quick release, can shoot it off the bounce or catch and shoot, and has unlimited range. He’s capable of playing either guard spot and does possess shot-creating ability, especially in the pick-and-roll. He also flashed off-ball defensive ability (1.4 SPG).
His size is the biggest concern. Terry played his lone college season at 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds. Defensively, he could have trouble defending bigger, stronger guards. The good news is that he’s reportedly grown – he just turned 20 – and added muscle.
The Sixers need shooting and scoring. Terry checks those boxes in a big way. He’s not a floor general that will rack up assists, but a Terry-Ben Simmons pick-and-roll combination could be lethal. So too could a “JJ Redick package” with Terry and Joel Embiid playing a two-man game.
Terry’s range is all over the place. He could be in play as early as 21 or as late as 36.
Desmond Bane, G/F, TCU
Bane checks several boxes that match the Sixers’ needs. He can really shoot it. He hit over 43% from 3 during his four seasons at TCU. He was efficient, shooting 49.5% from the field overall.
The biggest knocks on Bane are his non-elite measurables and his age. He has a negative wingspan at 6-foot-6, which could cause concern defensively at the next level. He’s not the fastest or most athletic prospect either. He’s not the greatest shot creator and, at age 22, he could be seen as a prospect that has plateaued.
This is a short-sighted way to look at Bane’s potential. Many players don’t have the measurables NBA teams are looking for but still go on to have long careers. He took on a bigger role in TCU’s offense his senior season and flashed creation and facilitation abilities.
The bottom line: This kid can play. Bane has seen his stock rise throughout the interview process and for good reason. He could be available at 21 but may not be there at 34.
Cole Anthony, PG/SG, North Carolina
Once considered a lock to be a lottery pick, Anthony’s stock seems to have fallen. That could potentially be good news for the Sixers. Anthony could provide a much-needed scoring punch. While he was let down by his supporting cast at UNC, Anthony still averaged 18.5 points as a true freshman. He’s slightly undersized at 6-foot-3 but is built solidly and flashes potential defensively.
Anthony is not an elite playmaker. He averaged four assists but also 3.5 turnovers a game. While the team surrounding him was a factor, Anthony doesn’t have elite vision. He was also incredibly inefficient, shooting just 38% from the field.
Anthony could become a microwave scorer off the bench – sort of like former Sixer Lou Williams – as an undersized two guard. He's shown a willingness to take tough shots.
The spacing Simmons and Embiid could provide Anthony would be much more conducive to success than what we saw at UNC. Anthony was considered the second-best high school basketball player in the country by ESPN. If he falls to 21, the Sixers could pounce.
Killian Tillie, F/C, Gonzaga
If not for injuries, Tillie would likely be a first-round pick. The French big has outstanding feel for the game on both ends and has proven to be a reliable 3-point shooter (40% on 3.8 attempts last season).
Though the numerous lower-body injuries may have affected Tillie’s ability to keep up with perimeter players, he still offers a level of versatility defensively. Offensively, he looks smooth in the post and has excellent touch around the rim. He’s a solid passer, recognizing double teams and finding open teammates.
With four second-round picks, the Sixers can afford to take a flyer on a talented player with injury risk at 34 or 36. It’s not hard to envision Tillie as a solid backup five and maybe even playing next to Embiid in some lineups.
Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State
The Sixers need a guard or two that can create. Flynn may be the most creative guard in this draft, especially in the pick-and-roll. Flynn spent two years at Washington State before transferring to San Diego State this past season. With the Aztecs, Flynn was the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.
Flynn showed the ability to create for himself and others. He averaged 17.6 points per game and shot 37.3% from 3. His ability to shoot off the dribble makes him especially dangerous in the pick-and-roll. He also averaged 5.1 assists and less than two turnovers per game with a high usage rate. He’s undersized at 6-foot-1, but he’s a willing defender that has good instincts, especially off the ball.
The Sixers could use a true point guard that can shoot the basketball and run the pick-and-roll with Simmons. Flynn could provide that. No. 21 is likely too early for Flynn but 34 could be too late. Perhaps if the Sixers use their second-rounders to get in the back end of the first, Flynn could be the guy.
Xavier Tillman, PF/C, Michigan State
Tillman is more of a modern NBA big. He’s undersized at 6-foot-8 but his versatility is what’s so attractive. He was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last season, averaging 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals while also pulling down 10.3 rebounds per game.
Offensively, he’s smart and a strong passer for a big (three assists per game last season). His shot was inconsistent but shows promise. He’s just a solid two-way basketball player with a high floor.
If he’s there at 34 or 36, he’s more than worth a look. The Sixers don’t have a true developmental big in their system. Norvel Pelle is actually older than Embiid.
Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas
The Sixers have been linked to Joe and for good reason. Joe is in range from the parking lot and will not hesitate to shoot it. While his shooting numbers dipped last season, he hit 37.8% from 3 on over nine attempts per game during his two collegiate seasons.
He’s not a shot creator but he can attack overaggressive closeouts and flashes potential in the pick-and-roll. He features a nice floater that can help in those situations. Think of Joe as a version of Furkan Korkmaz that has a better chance of hanging with NBA wings defensively.
The Sixers could look at Joe as early as 34.
Paul Reed, PF/C, DePaul
Reed is arguably the most versatile defensive big in this draft. He was disruptive last season for DePaul, averaging 2.6 blocks and 1.9 steals. He also grabbed 10.7 boards a game.
In the modern NBA, Reed could thrive as a rim-to-rim big man. He’s 6-foot-9 with impressive length which allows him to get into passing lanes and makes him a strong weakside shot blocker. He’s reminiscent of former Sixer Nerlens Noel but with more offensive potential.
He averaged 15.1 points a game and has great touch around the rim. His shooting form is funky, but he hit 73.9% of his free throws and took over 100 3s in three seasons. He could have more potential as a pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop player that wasn’t tapped into much at DePaul.
Reed is projected to go in the middle of the second. That seems low. The Sixers should consider him at pick 36.