The Philadelphia 76ers are in a unique position, as they have three draft picks in the same general area of the draft (#24, #33, #34) along with two later on (#44, #54). With only four players signed under contract for this upcoming year, how they build around their core is extremely important. The draft is just one of many ways to do just that, but it is a vital one nonetheless.
Bruno Fernando (Center, Maryland): The Philadelphia 76ers lost by two points in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the eventual NBA Champion Toronto Raptors. They were outscored by twelve in the four minutes that Joel Embiid was off of the court in that game. Backup center should be a priority in this draft. Fernando was a walking double-double averaging 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds while shooting over 60% from the field in his sophomore year at UMD. He has an extremely high motor and enjoys the physical nature of the game, which should suit him well in the NBA. It seems rather up in the air if Fernando will be there at #24, but the Sixers should give him a long look if he’s still on the board.
Naz Reid (Center, LSU): Previous point stated above, Reid is another solid option to consider. Reid is built for just being 19 years old, and threw his body around in a much more competitive SEC than normal. Reid is more of a stretch five than Fernando, averaging 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds along with shooting 33% from three point range. At 6 foot 10 and 240 pounds, Reid can still put his body on the block and post up smaller defenders. Reid should be there for the 76ers to consider with their #33/#34 picks.
Brandon Clarke (Power Forward, Gonzaga): This isn’t as much of a “need” selection compared to the previous two, but this kid clearly has so much talent that he’s a great pick if he’s there at #24. The 6 foot 8 inch 215 pound Canadian averaged 17 points and just under 9 rebounds while shooting 68.7% from the field. Clarke also dropped 36 points in an NCAA Tournament game against the Baylor Bears. Most mocks are projecting him somewhere in the 20-30 range.
Matisse Thybulle (Guard, Washington): Thybulle is one of the most interesting prospects of the 2019 draft class. It’s not his 9.1 points per game as a senior guard at Washington that has scouts thinking he’s a first round pick. Thybulle’s 6 foot 5 inch frame is juxtaposed by his 7 foot 1 inch wingspan, that averaged him 3.5 steals and over 2 blocks as a guard. His intangibles, quickness, lockdown defense and basketball IQ really make him an interesting choice, and one the 76ers should consider.
Carsen Edwards (Guard, Purdue): The best player in the NCAA Tournament, Edwards declared for the NBA draft soon after in what turned into be a no-brainer decision. Edwards truly was streaky throughout the season, but ended with 26-42-29-42 point efforts in his last four contests. Edwards undoubtedly will put his shots up, and will probably be a more off-the-ball guy in the NBA. The guy has a track record of greatness, which is more than most of these players with “potential” have.
Luguentz Dort (Shooting Guard, Arizona State): Dort had a really strong end to the season, with thirteen of his last fourteen games scoring in double figures. The 6 foot 4 inch 215 pound guard left school as freshman to take the next step. Dort lives off of his explosive nature and is great at driving to the lane and getting to the free throw line. He will have to improve as a perimeter shooter to make it in the NBA but Dort will not play hesitant to start his professional career.
Cameron Johnson (Small Forward, North Carolina): 5 years in college make Johnson a “gamble” but his stats make him worth it. After red-shirting and then two years at Pitt, Johnson had a phenomenal two years at UNC. He’s a smooth 6 foot 9 inch forward who averaged 17 points, 6 rebounds and shot 45% from downtown and 82% from the foul line. It’s hard to not compare him to former Tar Heel Justin Jackson, who has been solid on Sacramento and Dallas. Look for Johnson to go early in the second round, potentially at #33/#34.