NBA mock draft: Sixers pick up bench scorer in Round 1


What will the Sixers do in next Thursday night's NBA draft?We've got them picking up a player with potential as an NBA bench scorer in our full first-round mock draft.

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The Pistons have a nice dilemma on their hands: Cade Cunningham or Jalen Green? Both would be tremendous fits for an exceptionally young Pistons squad. But I think Cunningham is the pick here. He's got great size and is a very adept playmaker. He would join the likes of Killian Hayes, Villanova's Saddiq Bey and Sekou Doumbouya to give Detroit a great young core that could really turn into a good team sooner rather than later.  


Jalen Green is a heckuva consolation prize. The Rockets can get a player who's as talented as a No. 1 pick, and one who is going to give them instant offense from the jump. Green can create his own shot, something that Philadelphia fans know the importance of all too well. And I think has the potential to be a Devin Booker type in the league. 



There is some chatter about the Rockets being interested in the USC big man, but Green's playmaking ability will make him the pick at No. 2. Yes, the Cavs have Jarrett Allen. But this is a case of taking the best player available and there is no doubt that is Mobley. He can protect the rim and can come out from the paint to guard in space. Offensively, he brings a lot to the table, especially as a pick-and-pop guy. He's a quintessential modern big man prospect. 


Suggs quickly burst on the scene as the most dynamic player on a dominating Zags team. You couldn't take your eyes off of him. And in Toronto, he's the perfect fit. There is some question if Kyle Lowry will return, but that matters little when you have a chance to land a player like Suggs. His size makes him a tough guard and his offensive potential is through the roof. And the way he will create for teammates, as well as the way he defends, makes him a perfect replacement for a bulldog of a PG in Lowry. 


The book on Barnes is that he’s not only a gifted and versatile player but also one of the best defenders in the draft. Add to that his playmaking talent, 7-3 wingspan and all the talk of his leadership abilities, and the Magic have found themselves a cornerstone piece to build around for years to come. 


This is one of the many picks the Thunder hold in this year's draft and in the next 46 drafts. OK, a slight exaggeration, but seriously — they have dozens of picks in the next five years. Sam Hinkie is beyond jealous. Anyhow, because of that embarrassment of riches in draft selections, the Thunder can afford to take a big swing at times. And there isn't a player in the draft who has more potential to hit or miss than Kuminga. His size is ideal, as well as his versatility, and he's a top-rated defender already. Swing away, Thunder. 



We've entered the portion of the draft where the old (talented) men are given consideration. Mitchell is 22 and will be 23 in September. That's usually a knock on a lottery pick but not for Mitchell, especially when it's the Warriors who are drafting him. This team values experience as well as talent, and after the way Mitchell and Baylor steamrolled their way though the college season and the NCAA tournament, he's a great pick for the Warriors. He gives Golden State a player who's ready to play now. 


Who doesn't love a good floor-spacing wing? Moody could be a great 3-and-D guy. The Magic need as much talent as they can get their hands on, so I like Moody here, even if it's a little higher than many expect. 


An incredible athlete who is a natural scorer, but there is a question about Bouknight’s three-point shot. He didn't shoot well from beyond the arc, but in many workouts he's reportedly shown good form and the shots are going down. If that's true, he's a no-doubter for the Kings with the ninth pick. 


This might be a bit of a reach, as some have Johnson just outside the lottery. But I like his upside. He's a solid pick here because of his star potential. Johnson has that raw athleticism and a high defensive effort level that the Pelicans value. 



Wagner can be a prototypical 3-and-D player with the added ability to defend multiple positions. He also shoots at a very high level and brings an instant offensive spark and threat when he’s on the floor. 


Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Spurs have a talented young array of players they can build around for years to come. If there is a team who knows how to draft players for its system, year in and year out … it’s the Spurs. No exception here. Kispert fits in nicely along guys like Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White. He’s the best shooter in the draft at 44 percent from beyond the arc last season, which will help a San Antonio team that was near the bottom of the league in that department at 35 percent. 


There were a large contingent of NBA executives who traveled to Vegas earlier this month to take in the Australian Boomers’ practices, and it wasn’t to watch the defensive wizardry of Matisse Thybulle. Giddey has made plenty of good impressions and is now a good bet for a lottery pick. He’s quite young, but that just means that his ceiling is that much higher. As a very good ball handler, he’s adept at running the offense and is also one of the best passers in the draft. That would help Indiana, who would like a little help for Malcolm Brogdon in that area. 


Williams is a very intriguing prospect because he shows great ball handling at his size with a good mid-range game, and he’s also a very good defender who can guard multiple positions. His draft stock has risen because of strong workouts after a tough freshman season at Stamford. The Warriors already locked up a lottery player earlier in the first round, so they can afford to take a flyer on a player with a high upside.


Admittedly, I had to watch plenty of YouTube clips to get a good look at Sengun. He’s super athletic and can really score. He dominated a very good Turkish league but the question is if his center skills, while dynamic, will translate to the NBA. I think with some fine-tuning they will, and especially on a team who needs that big man role filled. The Wizards are such a team, desperate for help in the frontcourt. 


Hey, the Thunder have another pick. While they may not keep this selection, if they do, there’s a chance to take a raw talent who’s been projected in the lottery. Johnson is a combo guard with freak athleticism, as well as the ability to make plays for himself and teammates. He’s a bit of a prospect but one that I think could turn into quite the talent at this level. Oh, and he broke the NBA combine record with a vertical leap of 48 inches. Four feet. Think about that. 


I know that senior players are not as popular as first-round draft picks. It’s a Catch-22.  You know what they can do because you’ve seen four years worth of work, so there’s not as much risk. But you also know what they can do because you’ve seen four years worth of work. They are who they are. And Duarte is a natural scorer who shot 53.2 percent from the floor and scored 17.1 points per game. He’s reliable and consistent. And that is always a good player to have on your team in my book. The Grizzlies could use someone who can play right away, and Duarte fits that bill. 


Thunder on the clock again. I’m hesitant to put any Kentucky player in the first round, and not just because I don’t want to be called out for bias. But Kentucky was bad last year. Awful, not-make-the-tournament bad. However, Jackson was a very bright spot. He’s an athletic big man who can be a defensive powerhouse, averaging 2.6 blocks a game last year. He could turn into a rim-running big man to give an NBA team a dominant inside presence for years to come. 


Murphy is a knockdown shooter, big time. He shot over 40 percent from deep over his three college seasons —  the first two at Rice, then one year at Virginia after transferring. He also has great size for a combo forward, and a 7-foot wingspan helps him in many ways. He has versatility, too, with the ability to play as a small-ball four. The Knicks get a lot of value here with Murphy, and someone who can help a playoff team right away. 


Speaking of playoff teams … ugh. I know. Let’s not talk about the Hawks in the playoffs. But with this pick, they can form their own version of the Splash Brothers. Thomas is a pure shooter in all ways. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands, so he fits well with Trae Young. And like Young, he’s in range almost as soon as he steps in the gym. 


I almost had Jeremiah Robinson-Earl here, but my fingers wouldn’t let me type it. But if he’s drafted at 21, I’ll take credit. Those are the rules.  

An intriguing prospect, Garuba might not wow you with stats, but he makes up for it on the court. He has enviable mobility for 6-foot-8 and shows great defensive versatility. The Knicks have a pretty well-stocked team, so they can take a bit of a chance with this selection. 


The Lakers need a guard. That’s certainly no secret. They’ll likely pick one up in a trade, but I think they will also draft a shooting guard to help with their three-point shooting. Duarte or Thomas would have been perfect fits, but I think they could be off the board. So the best available shooter will be Dosunmu. He can create his shot and play alongside the stars on the Lakers with his excellent passing skills.


This the first of back-to back picks, and the Rockets will likely only keep one of these selections. They need a backup point guard and Hyland is a very good choice to fill that role. He’s slight in build, but he makes up for it with quickness. Hyland is also a very good three-point shooter and reminds me of Immanuel Quickley. 


Again, I don’t think that the Rockets take this pick, but if they do, they are in need of a big man. Thor is very athletic and raw, but he’s shown great potential that excites a lot of scouts. Plus he has a wingspan of over 7-3. 


The Clippers would love to have a backup point guard who can give them some depth. Cooper is super quick and very adept with the ball in his hands. He’s a bit undersized and there are some questions about his shooting range, but a lot of those have been answered in workouts. 


After the NBA referred Butler to their fitness-to-play panel, he’s been medically cleared to play in the league, and that’s great news for him. Of course, any team drafting him will have its own doctors assess him. Butler is coming off an outstanding career at Baylor, where he helped the Bears to the national title and was named Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four. He’s NBA-ready and can help the Nuggets immediately. 


The Nets need a few depth guys and Brown fits the bill well. He can fight through and finish after contact and is a good shot blocker. The Nets could use a little more size up front and Brown would give them that muscle they need. 


Will the Sixers keep this pick, or will Daryl Morey and Elton Brand package it in a blockbuster trade? That is the big question. But there is little doubt what the Sixers need. They need a player who can create his own shot. At 28, that isn’t easily found, so they will likely move this pick in a deal for a star NBA player who can create that offense for them. But if they do keep it, a backup point guard is an easy guess for their pick. Yes, Mann is a combo guard and there are questions about whether he’s more of a scoring guard than someone who wants to fill a traditional point guard role. But he has a big upside, and the Sixers could get some much-needed depth off the bench in the scoring department. 


First, thanks for reading past the Sixers' pick. Here, the Suns can get a guard who is a very good defender (shut my Kentucky squad down several times), and a player who doesn’t get in his own way or make many mistakes. That last attribute is even more impressive when you consider he’s one of the youngest players in the draft. Watching him at Tennessee last year, you’d never know it. He’s polished and a very good scorer. 


If Jones is here, this is a no-brainer. He’s a very versatile big man who has the raw talent to be a lottery pick. But he showed inconsistency in his two seasons at Texas.  He does, however, possess a smooth three-pointer and is a good defender with rim-running potential. 

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