By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor
In the latest installment of Bleacher Report’s NBA mock draft, there was a new name being selected by the Sixers. This time around it has the Sixers drafting Arizona freshman Nico Mannion with the 22nd pick in the draft.
Mannion is a point guard who averaged 14.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 5.3 APG in his sole year at Arizona. His numbers landed him on the All-Pac-12 Team and the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.
This is an interesting pick for the Sixers. Mannion has positives about his game, but he might be a project that would have to start his career in the G-League to polish his game.
One strong part of Mannion’s game is his ability to facilitate. He is a willing passer and can get the players around good looks. He could be a guy to come in and keep the ball moving and the offense in rhythm when Ben Simmons is off the floor.
Some other strong parts of his game include being a strong ball-handler, having good touch around the rim, and can create his own shots in small samples.
The first question mark about his game is his size. Right now Mannion is 6’3 and 190 pounds, at that size it is going to be hard for him to have the same success around the rim that he had in college. Putting on muscle has to be at the top of his list as he makes his transition to the NBA.
Another part of his game that needs work is his shooting. This is crucial if he is going to find a role on the Sixers, who need outside shooting. In his one season of college, he shot 32.7% from deep on just over five attempts a game.
This problem could potentially be an easy fix. Mannion already has a nice shooting stroke, it is just the consistency that is an issue. Between work with NBA coaching staff and defenses focusing less on him, he might be able to up his percentage naturally.
Personally, if the Sixers do draft Mannion this year I could see him taking the same kind of route we saw with Mariol Shayok. Spend most of the year in the G-League to develop more and then come up and see what he can do with the Sixers in small samples in year one.
Drafting a player that might be a project while the window is open is a little questionable to me personally. But best case scenario if he develops properly Mannion could be a cheap backup point guard who could also be used as a floor spacer for the Sixers moving forward.