The Philadelphia 76ers will have their eyes on the upcoming NBA Draft, even with their 2016 1st overall pick Ben Simmons having yet to step foot on the NBA court.
The Philadelphia 76ers, even with their good offseason and Ben Simmons, will be a lottery team this coming season. With the top-3 protected Los Angeles Lakers first round pick and the right to swap picks with the Sacramento Kings, the team could even find themselves with two top-10 picks. That bodes well for the Philadelphia 76ers.
As criticized was the depth of the 2016 NBA Draft class, the 2017 NBA Draft class has thus far found praise. It is hard to really grasp the talent-level of the 2017 NBA Draft class at this point, as most projected lottery selections have yet to play an NCAA game, but the Philadelphia 76ers have put themselves in prime position to attack a draft class that will fit their needs while also selecting a high-potential prospect.
The 2017 NBA Draft class has a mix of everything, with a seemingly over abundance of guards that aligns perfectly with the needs of the Philadelphia 76ers. Even with the addition of facilitating forward Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers still must find ways to fill in the holes along the perimeter. The Philadelphia 76ers will keep eyes on many prospects, but narrowing it down to its possible top 5 prospects will give an understanding on how impactful of a player the team could select.
1. Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington (Fr.)
Markelle Fultz is one of the four prospects that can earn themselves the title as “top pick in the draft”, and he’s also the perfect fit for what the Philadelphia 76ers already have. Fultz will start his NCAA career at Washington at just age 18, and comes in standing 6’5″ with a 6’9″ wingspan. The physical tools Fultz has as a potential combo-guard are evident, but it doesn’t overshadow his impressively refined skills on both sides of the ball.
Fultz biggest strength is his court vision. A smart passing point guard, who can also create his own shot off the dribble, it seems that Fultz at number one is almost a no-brainer. Defensively capable, can run the fast break, plays aggressively off the ball, can catch-and-shoot. Fultz is the exact guard the Philadelphia 76ers will be looking to pair next to Ben Simmons. There are no glaring weaknesses, but with every guard prospect, he must prove his shooting at a higher level.
2. Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas (Fr.)
Josh Jackson is by far the most competitive prospect in this 2017 class. His intensity on the court is what he’s known for by general fans, but his explosiveness to the rim, lockdown defensive abilities, and high energy is what puts him near the top of his class. Jackson stands at 6’8″ but has just a 6’10” wingspan. Even with his underwhelming length, Jackson is still one of the best rebounders and defenders in his class.
The Philadelphia 76ers wouldn’t necessarily draft Jackson for his offensive fit, but for his ability to become a top wing defender. Jackson’s defense alone should be enough to sway the Philadelphia 76ers, but add in his intensity and will to win, Jackson seems like a smart pick. With his offensive game, and specifically his jump shooting, needing to be polished Jackson’s evident weaknesses keep him from the top spot.
3. Harry Giles, PF, Duke (Fr.)
Harry Giles is the best big man in this class. In terms of big men, he stands in a tier of his own. Giles work down low both on the boards and with the ball are enough to awe scouts. Standing at 6’11” with a 7’3″ wingspan, Giles has the potential to be the next great big man to come out of Duke. Giles post game is already at pro-level, but his outside shooting leaves little to be desired.
Giles tries too much to be a playmaker on the defensive end, often finding himself losing his man down low. Giles’ once elite athleticism will come into question after missing a year of basketball with an ACL injury. The Philadelphia 76ers will mostly be looking towards a guard, but if Giles is undoubtedly the best player available when the team selects, they shouldn’t hesitate to move any big man in favor of Giles.
4. Dennis Smith, Jr., PG, N.C. State (Fr.)
Dennis Smith, Jr. is possibly the quickest player in the draft. The free-shooting point guard will play this season for N.C. State and will have plenty of chances to prove his draft stock. Smith isn’t the all-around guard Markelle Fultz is, but his athleticism has scouts enamored with the 6’2″ guard.
Smith isn’t the most reliable shooter, and tends to turn the ball over, but he may be the attacking point guard the Philadelphia 76ers could place in a lineup with Simmons. Smith’s ability to run the pick and roll will allow Simmons to ease off the ball and find easy paths to the basket, while also allowing the talented big men the team holds to elevate their games. Smith-Simmons in transition will bring endless highlights and could create a dangerous transition unit.
5. Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke (Fr.)
Jayson Tatum is the most intriguing prospect in the sense that his stock will fluctuate the most depending on his play at Duke. Tatum really has no glaring weaknesses. He’s a good shooter, can finish above the rim, and can defend the wing. Tatum’s game, however, is suited for a team that is willing to take a chance and build around him.
Tatum loves to slow up the offense and take his man on 1-on-1, which has worked for him throughout high school but will be more challenging as he takes the next step to the NCAA. Tatum also isn’t the quickest player with the ball and has outright tunnel vision when it comes to driving to the rim. The Philadelphia 76ers would prefer for more of an off-ball forward, a role in which Tatum will be able to fill if he develops catch-and-shoot ability and moving more fluidly without the ball.
6. Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida St. (Fr.)
7. De’Aron Fox, PG, Kentucky (Fr.)
8. Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg IG (France) 17 years-old
9. Malik Monk, PG, Kentucky (Fr.)
10. Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, PF, Kentucky (Fr.)
The Philadelphia 76ers priorities could fluctuate the next couple months, and depending how the NCAA season develops, this big board could look very different in a short period of time.