Grading the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2021 NBA Draft class

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Despite initially entering the day with two picks to play with, the Philadelphia 76ers are leaving the 2021 NBA Draft – proverbially, of course – with four new players, many of whom may actually serve as viable contributors for the cub this fall.

Do you want a statistically efficient 3-and-D guard capable of defending either backcourt position? Check.

How about a big-bodied, 3 point shooting assassin who can contribute around the rim? Daryl Morey got that too.

Heck, not only did the team purchase a second-round pick from the New Orleans Pelicans for $2 million so they could draft 2021 Conference USA Play of the Year Charles Bassey, but they also secured a quality small forward, Michigan State’s Aaron Henry, on a two-way contract to help fill out their bench.

Surely this was a good night for the Philadelphia 76ers, but how does each pick stack up versus the players still on the board and their projections moving forward? Let’s try to find out.

Aaron Henry is an ideal two-way contract player for the Philadelphia 76ers.

In 2020-21, the Philadelphia 76ers started off the season with Dakota Mathis and Paul Reed on two-way contracts.

Talk about a tale of two seasons.

Mathis, a member of the Texas Legends after going undrafted in 2018, appeared in eight games for the Sixers with two starts and was ultimately waived a month into the season in favor of eventual G-League standout Rayjon Tucker. He most recently played for Team USA in some pre-Olympics contests and may never again take an NBA court.

And as for Reed? Well, he won every G-League award imaginable and already loos like a potential diamond in the rough.

For Aaron Henry‘s sake, let’s hope he falls into the former category.

A three-year contributor at Michigan State, Henry scored an average of 15.4 points a night as the Spartans’ starting small forward, all the while recording 1.3 blocks and 1.3 steals a night under head coach Tom Izzo.

Is he a good 3 point shooter? No. Is he an efficient ball handler? 2.9 turnovers a night as a junior would suggest otherwise. But for the price of, well, nothing but a two-way contract, the Sixers landed a solid defender with good size and decent potential who was ranked within the top-60 on many a pre-draft big board.

Grade A-