All Eyes on Daryl Morey After Sixers' Disappointing Draft Night

With free agency starting June 30, the Sixers must make moves that will help the team compete with the Celtics, Knicks, and Bucks.
Daryl Morey on hot seat this 2024 offseason.
Daryl Morey on hot seat this 2024 offseason. / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Philadelphia 76ers were on the clock twice this week during the first-ever two-day NBA Draft event. Now that the draft is behind them, their actual clock begins.

Before Wednesday, many TV personalities, reporters, and fans speculated that the Sixers might trade their first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft to acquire a third star. Since Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey spoke to reporters following the conclusion of the Sixers’ season, and without saying any names, he appeared to indicate that the team wants a third star.

“Someone at the wing who can play and deliver at a high level in the playoffs," Morey said.

Names like Brandon Ingram, Lauri Markkanen, and Paul George were thrown into the mix, underscoring the team's urgent need for a third star after the New York Knicks secured Mikal Bridges on Tuesday.

Instead of making any moves that would drastically improve the team, Morey decided to keep the 16th pick and draft Duke's Jared McCain. On Thursday, the Sixers also chose UCLA center Adem Bona as the 41st overall pick in the 2024 NBA draft. He will spend the offseason training to become the team's backup center.

McCain averaged 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.1 steals in 31.6 minutes per game during his single season at Duke, playing in 36 games, all as a starter.

He shot 46.2 percent from the field, 41.4 percent from the 3-point range, and 88.5 percent from the free-throw line.

"There was a player offered to us that was pretty interesting," Morey told the media during his post-draft press conference.

"We'd move back a bunch of slots. There was a move back pretty far back but pick up a future, quite a few sort of, second round picks and things like that. But we had McCain as a top 10 player in this draft."

Sixers GM Daryl Morey

In college, McCain was a proficient shooter, which the Sixers need, as they ranked 22nd in three-pointers made this past season.

However, his 6'2" frame and inability to be a true point guard don't solve the Sixers' biggest problems. He won't be able to guard the opposing team's best guards or be a consistent, reliable option since it will be tough to have him and Tyrese Maxey on the court simultaneously.

McCain's style of play may cost him minutes on a Sixers team that desperately needs a true point guard and forwards that can defend and hit a three.

McCain's play will likely resemble Landry Shamet's initial year with the Sixers. Shamet averaged 8.3 points per game while shooting 40 percent from the three-point line before being traded to the Clippers during his rookie season.

If he can do that, it will be a win for the Sixers but it won't change the outcome of the team getting past the second round of the playoffs.

Since 2018, the Sixers have been one of the three favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. The time is now for them to make the necessary moves while superstar Joel Embiid is still in his prime.

It's time for Morey to make trades and signings to help the Sixers compete with teams like the Knicks, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, and Milwaukee Bucks. Given their current composition, the Orlando Magic could also give the Sixers a hard time in a seven-game series.

Morey has to do something! You can't go into next season with the same type of team he did in 2023 during the James Harden fiasco. Morey can't afford to stand pat again.

The Sixers' needs after the draft have remained the same: they need a legit closer, a point guard, and three-and-D forwards. If they want to compete in the East, all three of those problems must be addressed this offseason.

The Sixers have the potential to create up to $61.3 million in cap space, which is enough to make significant moves. NBA free agency begins Sunday, and Morey is now on the clock.

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