The 2020-2021 NBA season has finally come to an end with the Milwaukee Bucks winning the NBA championship (Congrats to Giannis by the way). Now we officially move to the offseason, where the NBA actually gets even better sometimes. The 1st domino to fall is the NBA Draft which is July 29th at 8 pm.
The Sixers have the 28th pick in the NBA and in recent memory have struck gold with their last two first-round picks: Matisse Thybulle (24th pick) and Tyreese Maxey (21st pick). I never like to brag but I did say the Sixers should draft Maxey if available and the proof is here
With that being said, here are my top 3 options that I would like to see the Sixers take at the 26th pick (This is assuming they don’t trade the pick which they might do).
1. BJ Boston 6’7 SF, Kentucky Freshman
Projected 25th via NBADraft.net
Over the last 2 years, I have watched a lot of Boston’s games. From his senior year of high school at Sierra Canyon to his lone season at Kentucky. Before the college basketball season began Boston was a projected top 10 pick in most scouts’ eyes. He was even drawing comparisons to Brandon Ingram. After a lackluster season where he averaged 11.5 ppg 4.5rb 1.6A on a horrific 35.5 FG% and shot even worse 30% from 3. So you are probably reading this thinking, “Why the hell would the Sixers draft him?”
Sometimes a player’s game translates more in one league than another. To me, Boston has a much better NBA game than the college game. While in college he was surrounded by similar teammates who had trouble creating shots for themselves. This left Boston with no room to work hence why he took so many contested jumpers which led to him being so inefficient.
In an NBA game that will have a lot more spacing for Boston to work with, it can really give him a chance to stretch out his game. Confidence is a crazy thing and I just think he lacked it at Kentucky once he started to struggle. A place where he isn’t the number 1 option and is just a reliable bench player is where I can see him being extremely productive. I like Boston as an off-the-bench wing that can come and replace Tobias Harris when he needs a break.
One area he is going to need to work on is his body. He is 6’7 and weighs 185lbs and part of the reason Boston settled for so many contested jumpers is that he didn’t have the strength to either get to the rim and finish or create enough separation. Before college, he was 175lbs, and now according to reports, he is now 190lbs so it’s starting to get there but clearly he has work to do.
2. Tre Mann 6’5 PG, Florida Sophomore
Projected 28th via NBADraft.net
Mann is actually currently projected to the Sixers with the 28th pick. If this happens to be the case the Sixers should be very happy with their selection. Mann has everything you are looking for in an NBA 2 guard.
Even though scouts characterize Mann as a PG he is clearly an SG in my mind. In his sophomore campaign at the University of Florida Mann took a huge leap from his freshman season. In year 2 at Gainesville Mann averaged 16ppg 5.6rb 3.5A on 45.9% FG and 40.2% from 3.
What I really like about Mann’s game is his ability to create and make shots. If you go ahead and watch the video above you can see that most of the highlights in this video are him creating his own shots off the dribble and making tough shots. This is someone that the Sixers have lacked for the past 5 seasons. People will scoff at the 3.5 assists per game and claim that is low for a point guard but if you watched Florida Tyree Appleby was the point guard and Mann was playing the combo guard role so to me 3.5 assists is a very solid number. Also, he actually averaged more assists than Appleby who averaged 3.1.
No prospect is perfect and of course, Mann isn’t. While he is very gifted on the offensive side of the ball he needs to work his defense. While he does average 1.4 steals a game there were too many times in games where I saw opposing guards shoot the lights out against Florida. Maybe that was because Appleby is 6’1, but Mann is not an elite athlete and his foot speed isn’t the quickest which leads to too many blow-bys by opposing guards. Nonetheless, the former 5 star has gotten better and better each year and would be a steal with the 28th pick.
3. Cam Thomas 6’4, Freshman LSU
Projected 20th via NBADraft.net
Sixers fans, this is the guy. Back in the late 1980’s when the Bad Boys Pistons won back-to-back NBA titles (it should have been three). A pivotal piece to their team was a guy named Vinny Johnson. His nickname was “The Microwave”. You have probably seen that badge in recent 2k games. Cameron Thomas is a carbon copy of Vinny Johnson.
You probably will look at the numbers and say well Thomas doesn’t really do anything else well except score the ball. Thomas averages 3.4rb even though he is 6’4 and isn’t a bad athlete. He only averaged 1.4 assists per game which were less than the number of turnovers he averaged which were 1.7. Plus he wasn’t the most efficient scorer where he shot 40.6% from the field and 32.5% from 3. But god damn can this kid get buckets.
One of my favorite Sixers of all time was Lou Williams. Lou was the type of player that could single-handedly win you ball games. He did it in game 5 against the Sixers this year and when Trae got hurt he did it in Game 4 in the ECF. Cam Thomas can win you ball games just by himself.
No matter where Thomas has played whether it was at the prestigious Oak Hill Academy or even at a high-level SEC school in LSU. Thomas was the leading scorer on his team. He averaged 23ppg this season which was good for 4th in the country. He was the only freshman in the top 20 for points per game. The kid is never afraid of the big lights. In his 2 NCAA tournament games, he put up 27 against St Bonaventure and a 30 against Michigan.
I once again will state that the Sixers are missing a perimeter shot creator who is not afraid to take the big shot in the big moments. Thomas can be that guy, just like Vinny Johnson who fun fact had 15 points and the game-winner with .7 sec left in game 5 of the 1990 NBA Finals, when before that he did not have a single FG before that quarter. Cam Thomas can be the Sixers microwave. I just hope he falls for us.
The post Top 3 options for the Sixers at the 28th Pick appeared first on Philadelphia Sports Nation.
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