The 2016-2017 college basketball regular season is reaching its conclusion. Conference tournament play and NCAA Tournament play is fast approaching. The NCAA tournament is the time were many players make their case for the professional scouts. As the standings currently sit, the Sixers are the fourth worst team in the league, with the Lakers having the third worst record. The Sixers can obtain the Lakers pick in this years draft if it falls outside of the top three. The Sixers also have the rights to swap picks with the Sacramento Kings. However, the Kings record is slightly better than the Sixers and if the lottery order is exactly the same as it is projected, the Sixers would have a better pick than the Kings and would not swap.
The 2017 NBA draft is projected to have great depth at the guard position, in particular the point guard position. Three guard prospects really jump out at most experts: Washington’s Markelle Fultz, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, and NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr.
Markelle Fultz (6’4″ – 194 lbs) – great athleticism and size, and could play both guard positions in the NBA. His ability to score the ball, be a playmaker for teammates, and utilize his athleticism to get to the hoop leads him to have a great shot to be the first pick in June. Teams are trending more towards coveting players with elite athleticism, and Fultz definitely fits that billing.
The downfall for Fultz is that he plays on a team that is inconsistent and there is a chance that the number one pick in consecutive drafts fails to play in the NCAA Tournament. The Sixers are a young, up-and-coming team that loves to push the pace. Having a player of Fultz’s caliber would be a great asset to the Sixers organization.
Lonzo Ball (6’6″ – 190 lbs) – A traditional point guard, looking to distribute first, and then pick and choose when to score. Ball is widely considered an elite playmaker, and many scouts have compared his playmaking ability to the legendary Jason Kidd. He has an ability to knock down shots at a high rate, even with his unorthodox release. The legendary Hall of Famer Reggie Miller (who also had an unorthodox jumper)said that it isn’t necessary to mess with a player’s shooting form, especially this late in their career. As long as it goes in, shooting form shouldn’t matter.
Ball plays for a high ranked team that should make a good run in the NCAA Tournament, making his case for number one pick even stronger. If Ball is available during the Sixers selection, he would be tough to pass on. Imagine a playmaker with Lonzo’s ability finding players like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on the fast break. Sounds intriguing to me.
Dennis Smith Jr. (6’2″ – 190lbs) – Above average size for the guard position, and almost always consistent when it comes to scoring the ball. We project him to be more of a combo guard in the NBA then a true point. His playmaking is good enough to run the floor, but his scoring ability and skill set is similar to many shooting guards in the NBA.
NC State is another one of those teams that looks good at times, but is far too inconsistent. The fact that NC State plays in the ACC prepares them well for the NCAA Tournament…if they do make it. Smith Jr. is the most likely to be available when the Sixers are making their selection, assuming that the draft lottery order holds its place as it currently is. Smith Jr. is one of those players that could go anywhere from 1-6 on the draft board. Smith Jr. would be a good fit in Philly as he would provide the Sixers with a scoring option that fits in really nicely with the likes of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.