Sixers will prioritize need over selecting best player available in second round of NBA draft


CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers’ current situation — just four players fully guaranteed to be on the roster next season — suggests that they might be searching for players who can contribute immediately in the second round of the NBA draft. They own four selections in the second round (Nos. 33, 34, 42 and 54) as well as the No. 24 pick.

Following the Sixers’ pre-draft workout of six prospects Friday — Bryce Brown, Christ Koumadje, Adam Mokoka, Zach Norvell Jr., Josh Sharma and Justin Simon — senior vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley gave some insight into what the team will value in the second round.

“When you’re picking in the second round, you’re probably picking for need as opposed to best player available,” he said. “With respect to a certain position, it’s certainly something that we’ll look at in the second round.”

Perimeter defense, three-point shooting and a backup behind Joel Embiid are specific areas the Sixers might target. Eversley acknowledged the Sixers will “definitely look at big people in the draft.”

Norvell and Brown fit the outside shooting criteria. Norvell shot 37 percent from three-point range on 7.1 attempts per game as a redshirt sophomore for Gonzaga, while Brown made 41 percent of his threes and took 8.6 per game as a senior for Auburn. 

Brown had a very clear idea of how he’d fit with the Sixers.

“To be honest, similar to JJ [Redick]. I see a lot of how their offense runs for him coming off screens and it reminds me a lot of how we did that for me at Auburn,” he said. “I can see myself fitting in as something like that. And then at times you can put me at combo and I can bring the ball up the floor, play make and get others open as well.”

Both guards often played in the national spotlight during college, experience Eversley said the Sixers “put a ton of value in.” 

“I just feel like it’s prepared me for the NBA because I competed against the best of the best,” Brown said.

Norvell is leaning on his former Gonzaga teammates Rui Hachimura, Josh Perkins and Brandon Clarke, all of whom are in the midst of the same whirlwind pre-draft process. Perkins worked out for the Sixers on Thursday.

“We talk almost every other day, actually,” he said. “Since we left Gonzaga, it’s been a lot of traveling by ourselves and stuff like that. So just checking in, making sure everybody’s taking the process seriously. We’re a pretty close group.”

Big man on campus 

Koumadje, a four-year player at Florida State, is an inch taller than the 7-foot 3 Boban Marjanovic. The big man averaged only 15.5 minutes as a senior, recording 6.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, but there’s no doubt he’s an intriguing prospect. 

Eversley said he was impressed by Koumadje’s defense and foot speed during the workout. Koumadje attributed his agility to the fact that he played soccer and ran growing up. 

If he plays in the NBA, Koumadje would be the first player to ever do so from the country of Chad.

“It definitely would mean a lot for my people, for my brothers and sisters, for the neighborhood,” he said. “It would mean a lot.”

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