The Sixers need a facelift. They’re not in a dire eleventh hour position, but they cannot whiff on a second straight offseason. The pieces to surround Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are missing, and the Sixers have fallen behind in their effort to grow a contender. Acquiring players through all three avenues (draft, free agency, trades) is a must and they all need to be thoroughly utilized. Rather than pound the table for players I would like the team to acquire, my focal points will be to highlight how the Sixers can best improve themselves. With that being said, here are four ways the Sixers can take advantage of an unorthodox draft.
Consolidate picks- The Sixers posses five picks in the 2020 draft. Their first round selection is via OKC at 21st overall, and they have; 34, 36, 49, and 58 in the second round. Given the Sixers contention timeframe and roster construction, they will not use all five selections.
I would expect 2-3 additions on draft night. In order to incentivize the contract, an Al Horford trade probably involves attaching draft capital. But also, if they’re in the position to lump assets together for a trade up, it’s essential they do so. The Sixers are in need of cheap, controllable talent. They can’t hope that guys fall to them. Go get them! Package 34 and 36 and move back into the first round, if need be. Attach a second rounder to the 21st pick and move up to go get a guard.
Outside of Shake Milton, the Sixers have been poor at finding second round value in recent drafts. Maximize draft night and improve the roster. It’s oversimplified but the Sixers have failed to consistently do so on draft night. Speaking of ….
DON’T SELL PICKS– Selling picks will never make sense to me and the Sixers’ ownership LOVES doing it. It’s punting on finding a young, controllable contract. The team will not get better by selling picks, and the front office should not be trusted with the extra funds. Stash someone in Europe. Finagle a deal for future picks. Find a way to properly utilize resources. Selling draft picks helps nobody and does nothing. Kyle Korver was once traded for a copy machine, and using picks for cash grabs is nearly the same level of useless.
Draft dynamic offensive upside– If I were in charge of working out potential draftees, I would draft the first guy who can; dribble, chew gum, and shoot (in any order). The entire league has been scouring the globe for pull-up shooters and shot creators, while the Sixers decided to get bigger and slower. Now they’re playing catch up modernizing their offense.
The Celtics series was a glaring exposure of how plodding the Sixers offense is. It took half of the shot clock to get the ball to Embiid and there are not enough players on the team who are threatening with a live dribble. The Sixers need to make upside plays on draft night that fill the void.
Cole Anthony is becoming a trendy Sixers first round projection, and with good reason. His offensive skillset bodes nicely with what the Sixers need. Anthony has a really tight handle and it translates into his scoring. A combo guard with three-level scoring potential is a player the Sixers need to invest in. Anthony has a professional scoring repertoire. He’s shown the ability to shoot pull-ups, step-backs, and side-steps with range. He’s a bouncy athlete that can make up for his average dimensions, at 6’3 with a 6’4.5” wingspan. Anthony’s lone season as a Tar Heel (on a crappy team) was cut short due to a knee injury, but the limited tape should intrigue a team that is desperate for shot creation.
Tyrell Terry is another name Sixers fans have become familiar with in recent weeks. The sniper from Stanford is one of the more polarizing prospects in the draft. Terry can light up a defense with his in-the-gym range and craftiness off-the-bounce. He averaged 14.6 points per game last year, while hitting his threes at a 40-percent clip. However, the sales pitch starts and ends with his shooting. On the flip side, Terry is small by NBA standards. He’s 6’2”. Also, he’s probably years away from being an NBA caliber defender, and will need to get stronger in order to handle the physicality of the league.
Add it all up and Terry is a high-ceiling, low floor prospect. Drafting Terry means you’re banking on his offense and praying his defense can keep him on the floor. It’s not a safe bet. We’ve seen undersized guards with offensive promise hit all over the board. If you’re thinking of Trae Young or Kemba Walker, just remember; Jimmer Fredette, Malik Monk, and Trey Burke. I’m not trying to compare Terry to any of them, but players in his archetype are hard to properly project.
Mock drafts have him going in the late lottery, the early second round, and everywhere in between. Terry may posses the most sought after offensive tool in the NBA, which is the ability to efficiently make threes at a high volume. All 30 NBA teams should be intrigued by Terry, and the Sixers need to seriously consider him in the first round.
Jahmi’us Ramsey and Killian Tillie are two names the Sixers should keep an eye on in the early second round. Ramsey is a gunner with an NBA-ready body. His shot selection is iffy but he can score in bunches. Last season at Texas Tech, Ramsey hit 42.6-percent of his threes. In addition to showcasing his jumper, Ramsey flashed the ability to explode at the rim. Scoring is his selling point, but nearly every other aspect of his game is a question mark. This is a classic boom or bust proposition.
Killian Tillie would be a first round lock if he didn’t have an extensive injury history at Gonzaga. He has a gorgeous scoring touch and has an ideal foundational skillset for a modern four-man. Tillie can shoot off the catch with ease, and find ways to make an impact all over the floor. Passing and ball-handling are the icing on the cake of Tillie’s arsenal. If he can stay healthy he’s a surefire rotation player.
Draft a backup point guard- I ultimately think the role of secondary point guard goes to a veteran (fingers crossed for Chris Paul), but the Sixers need young, inexpensive guards. Three names that come to mind are; Malachi Flynn, Payton Pritchard, and Cassius Winston. They are all upper-classman with excellent track records.
Flynn has the highest floor of the trio. He’s an excellent facilitator with a steady jump shot. Lots of his attention will come via his offense, but don’t over look the fact he was the MWC Defensive Player of the Year. Flynn would be an excellent addition to the Sixers’ non-Simmons minutes. His facilitation would allow Shake Milton and Josh Richardson to act as secondary ball-handlers rather than primary points, and would maintain the offensive flow.
Pritchard will lose points with some given his “upside”, but he has a sturdy foundation to build on. He can shoot, pass, defend his position, all while playing with intelligence and hustle. His shiftiness as a ball handler is underrated and has more sizzle than he’s given credit for. Pritchard was a proven winner at Oregon and that should surpass any underwhelming measurable he has. There’s buzz that he could be selected in the late 20s and is a lock to be a top 45 pick.
Cassius Winston has intriguing potential as a backup point guard with a green light to fire away. He shot over 40-percent from deep and dishes out nearly six assists per game. Winston played under Tom Izzo for four years and fought through constant injures, so questioning his toughness is null and void. He has a pro-level shot making ability and would be a fun fit with Ben Simmons.
The Sixers need to find a way improve their roster for today and tomorrow. Draft capital is at a premium and the Sixers have recently failed to treat it as such. Whether its selecting rookies or flipping picks for veterans, the offseason cannot be a legitimate success without making impactful moves on draft night.