As the buzz in Philadelphia around the NFL draft continues this weekend, a large contingent of Philly sports fans have their eyes peeled on another important draft date quickly approaching on May 16.
The NBA draft lottery is crucial for the Sixers who can potentially land two top-five picks in the first round, which largely comes down to the pingpong balls this year. After a promising 18-win turnaround (28-54) from a season ago, the Sixers proved to be one of the better younger teams in the league.
Rookies Joel Embiid (20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks) and Dario Saric (12.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists) gave the league a glimpse of their special talents and, despite missing his entire rookie season due to a fractured right foot, Ben Simmons will surely make an impact when he returns to the court next season.
Barring injury, the three will be a frontcourt trio for this team for years to come, but what’s still unknown at the moment is the backcourt.
While Simmons, according to coach Brett Brown, will likely play a lot of point guard next season, the Sixers haven’t had a legit backcourt since the departures of guards Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala. Luckily for them, the upcoming draft is very guard heavy at the top. Here are three guard prospects the Sixers will be taking a long look at come draft night.
For anyone that is still bummed out by when the Lakers swooped in and stole D’Angelo Russell from the Sixers in the 2015 draft, Fultz is the answer to your woes.
Fultz is an offensive machine, who averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game for the Washington Huskies while shooting a sizzling 41 percent from the outside. He’s the perfect combo guard to pair next to Ben Simmons and, although he has a lot of defensive deficiencies, his offensive skill would be hard to pass up with the No. 1 pick.
Whenever you draw Allen Iverson comparisons as a scorer, you know you’ll be gaining some fans in the Philadelphia region.
If the Sixers don’t get a chance at the No. 1 pick, Monk would be a strong candidate for wherever they land in the top five. Monk showed the ability to crossover, elevate and score among the best in the country for Kentucky at the guard position last season. He averaged 19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, which included a ridiculous 47-point, eight 3-pointer performance to down the eventual national champion North Carolina Tar Heels in the regular season.
When he gets hot, you can’t stop him. He may just be the new “Answer” in Philly.
Not long ago, the Sixers were actively trying to lose for a freakishly athletic guard from Kansas who could jump out of the arena on a nightly basis.
The 2017 NBA draft might just have an even more athletic version of that prospect, Andrew Wiggins, in the Jayhawks’ Josh Jackson. At 6-foot-8, 207 pounds and a 6-foot-10 wingspan, Jackson has all the tools to become an elite two-way player in the NBA. He can fill up the stat-sheet due to his versatility and athleticism and has already drawn NBA comparisons to the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler.
If he can reach his full potential, we’re talking perennial All-Star-type numbers throughout his career. But the tough thing about potential is that reaching it is easier said than done. This reason alone could sway general manager Bryan Colangelo away from Jackson on draft night.