2020 NBA mock draft roundup 2.0: Nico Mannion and Josh Green could be interesting options for Sixers


In our second NBA mock draft roundup, we’ll highlight a few mocks that we either didn’t cover in our first edition or which came out within the last couple of weeks. Two Arizona prospects are popular selections for the Sixers.

Tyler Byrum and Chase Hughes, NBC Sports Washington

Josh Green (Arizona)

Jeff Zillgitt, Scott Gleeson and Mark Medina, USA Today 

Josh Green 

Byrum and Hughes: “On a loaded Arizona squad, Green developed other areas of his game. He hasn't shown the talent, or necessarily needed to, that will make him a coveted prize of the draft. Green has NBA athleticism but will need to prove he can score more efficiently if he wants to solidify a spot in the first round.”

USA Today: “Green played alongside other talented freshmen at Arizona and established himself with his 3-point shot and ability to find his spots in half-court sets. Really improved from 3-point range in the final month of the season (13-for-27) and could turn into a solid two-way player.”

Our Amy Fadool also had the Sixers taking Green (see mock draft). The 6-foot-6 shooting guard shot 42.4 percent from the floor in his one season at Arizona, 36.1 percent from three-point range. Though Green is capable of pump faking and attacking the rim off closeouts, how teams evaluate his outside shot will likely be a key factor in this unusual pre-draft process.

It’s worth noting prospects have said in the past that they shoot a high volume of shots at the Sixers’ workouts as the team aims to gain as much data as possible about players’ jumpers through game-speed reps at their practice facility in Camden that can later be analyzed on film. Brett Brown, then serving as interim GM, mentioned the team studied Zhaire Smith’s “trajectories and arcs and variance of misses” from his pre-draft workouts before deciding he was their “1B” in the 2018 draft. Green’s release doesn’t appear to be the quickest or most consistent, and the Sixers won’t have the opportunity to assess it as they typically would.

The 19-year-old is an impressive athlete and defender. He already has a good relationship with fellow Australian Ben Simmons

James Ham, NBC Sports Bay Area 

Nico Mannion (Arizona)

Brad Rowland, Uproxx 

Nico Mannion 

A. Sherrod Blakely, NBC Sports Boston 

Nico Mannion 

Ham: “ ... There may be a team that falls in love with his play making ability in the teens, but if not, Mannion would make a nice addition to a team in desperate need of affordable second team help.”

Rowland: “Because of his weird season at Arizona, Mannion seems to be all the way out of the lottery conversation and it wouldn’t abjectly stun me if he fell to the second round. Philly would be an intriguing fit for him, simply because Mannion wouldn’t have to be a full-time starter. He can spell Ben Simmons, using his creation aptitude and ability to run a team. If he never becomes a high-end shooter, it’s not going to work, but that’s a bet that a team can make.”

Blakely: “Mannion’s ability to play both on and off the ball allows him to fit in well here. … As a lead guard, he has good court vision and has shown himself to be a willing passer while keeping defenses off balance with his change-of-pace style of play.”

Mannion is a creative 6-foot-3 point guard. As the writers above say, he’d clearly be a backup option to Ben Simmons on the Sixers, though one who has shown he can sprint around off-ball screens and shoot off movement.

He sets up his teammates very well and has both range and touch on his floater, but Mannion isn't a player who can regularly break down defenders off the dribble and get to the rim. Mannion lacks length and strength, which also hurts him defensively.

He was an inefficient shooter at Arizona (39.2 percent from the field, 32.7 percent on threes), but his jumper looks better than the percentages suggest. Again, NBA teams won’t have the tools they normally would to judge his shot, although there’s been plenty of attention on Mannion’s game for a while. Chris Ballard profiled him for Sports Illustrated when he was 15 years ago, labeling Mannion a “sorta-maybe basketball prodigy.”

Bryan Kalbrosky, Rookie Wire 

Tre Jones (Duke)

“The 76ers have suffered from a lack of depth in their backcourt behind Ben Simmons. But selecting Duke point guard Tre Jones would be an immediate answer to this problem. Jones, who won ACC Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, is arguably the best defensive point guard in this draft class. This will help earn him playing time right away in big moments. Plus, he is able to be a floor general and lead the offense when Simmons is not on the court.”

Casey Feeney profiled Jones for us here. The 20-year-old Jones made substantial improvements from Year 1 to Year 2 at Duke and has experience playing with NBA talent in high-pressure games. He comes across as a “high floor” prospect, someone who should be able to run an offense, play tough defense and have a long NBA career. 

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