NBA Draft: Bigs 76ers Should Target at Pick 16

NBA Draft: Bigs 76ers Should Target at Pick 16 Charleston, SC, USA;Dayton Flyers forward DaRon Holmes II (15) brings the ball up court in the second half against the St. John's Red Storm at TD Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NBA Draft is quickly approaching, with the first round beginning on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST. The Philadelphia 76ers currently possess both the 16th and 41st picks in the draft. If the Sixers hold onto the 16th pick, there are multiple players they should consider taking. After discussing the guard and wing options, it is time to dive into the potential big men the Sixers could take at 16. Finding a suitable backup for star center Joel Embiid has been a major problem for the Sixers over the last handful of seasons. Are there any big men who might be available at 16 with the potential to solve the Sixers’ backup center issues? Let’s break it down below:

Zach Edey, Purdue

Height (without shoes): 7-foot-3; Weight: 299 pounds

2023-24 stats: 39 games, 32.0 minutes, 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.2 blocks, 62.3% from the field

Edey finished off his decorated collegiate career with yet another dominant season. He averaged 25.2 points and 12.2 rebounds while leading Purdue to the 2024 NCAA Tournament finals. The 22-year old won the John R. Wooden Award for being voted the best player in college basketball in each of the last two seasons. Edey uses his massive frame, 7-foot-3 height without shoes along with a mammoth 7-foot-10 wingspan, to carve himself space around the rim. He is a dominant rebounder and has the touch to effectively score at the basket. Edey also has a solid feel for playmaking out of double teams, a necessary skill for any big man to have at the NBA level.

While Edey is great at using his size and length to swat away shots at the rim, he struggles defensively whenever pulled away from the basket. Despite making improvements throughout his four years at Purdue, Edey is not an agile player and will get attacked defensively in pick-and-rolls against NBA competition. The Canadian native also does not have any semblance of a perimeter game offensively. However, he is a solid free-throw shooter, knocking down 71.1% of his 11.2 attempts per game from the charity stripe last season. Edey is a talented player overall, but his lack of athleticism is going to limit his ceiling in the NBA.

DaRon Holmes II, Dayton

Height (without shoes): 6-foot-8; Weight: 236 pounds

2023-24 stats: 33 games, 32.4 minutes, 20.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.1 blocks, 0.9 steals, 54.4% from the field, 38.6% from 3-point range

Holmes possesses the size and skillset to be a combo big man at the NBA level. After putting together a dominant sophomore season at Dayton, he followed it up with an even better year last season. Holmes added the 3-pointer to his arsenal, shooting 38.6% on 2.5 attempts per game. After combining to take just 26 shots from beyond the arc in his first two collegiate seasons, Holmes put up 86 attempts as a junior. His offensive game is much more versatile now that he added the 3-pointer to his repertoire. Holmes excels in the pick-and-roll both as a roller and now being able to pop to the 3-point line. He also has the speed, playmaking and finishing ability to successfully attack defenses from around the free-throw line. In addition to his offensive versatility, Holmes has the tools to be a strong defender at the next level. He is an elite shot blocker, racking up 2.1 blocks per game last season at Dayton. The 21-year old also has the agility and athleticism to defend both power forwards and centers.

There are not many weaknesses in Holmes’ skillset. However, it is fair to point out the lack of high-end competition he faced in the Atlantic 10 conference. He succeeded against college competition, but playing in the NBA presents an entirely different challenge. Also, questions remain about Holmes’ outside shooting ability. While he shot well from beyond the arc last season, he will need to prove his improved shooting is not a fluke. If his improved shooting continues, Holmes has everything it takes to play both power forward and center in the NBA. Reigning Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid is an apt comparison for Holmes, and the Sixers should undoubtedly consider selecting him at 16.

Yves Missi, Baylor

Height (without shoes): 6-foot-10; Weight: 229 pounds

2023-24 stats: 34 games, 23.0 minutes, 10.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 0.6 steals, 61.4% from the field

Missi, a native of Cameroon, is your prototypical rim-running big man. He is athletic, recording a 38.5-inch vertical at the NBA Draft Combine. The 19-year old is an excellent defender. He has the ability both to defend around the rim and also step out to defend the pick-and-roll. His offensive game consists mostly of dunks and layups at the rim. He is a capable screener and roller, although he will need add more strength to consistently finish through contact at the NBA level. Missi is also an elite offensive rebounder, grabbing 2.6 per game in his lone season at Baylor despite playing in just 23.0 minutes per contest.

While Missi has the tools to be an effective player in the NBA, there are things he needs to clean up. He commits far too many fouls and lacks any sort of a perimeter game. His poor free-throw shooting at Baylor (61.6%) is also something he must improve on. Despite the limitations to his game, Missi should be able to find a home in the NBA. The Sixers reportedly brought Missi in for a pre-draft workout, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Kel’el Ware, Indiana

Height (without shoes): 6-foot-11; Weight: 230 pounds

2023-24 stats: 30 games, 32.1 minutes, 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.9 blocks, 58.6% from the field, 42.5% from 3-point range

Ware, after having a rough freshman season at Oregon, transferred to Indiana and made a name for himself. He checks off all the boxes as an athlete, showcased by his 7-foot-4 wingspan and 9-foot-4 standing reach. His athleticism is easy to see throughout his game, particularly in his ability to finish lobs at the rim. He also has the length and leaping ability to consistently block shots. Ware expanded his game last season to include some outside shooting. He connected on 42.5% of his 3-pointers, albeit on just 1.3 attempts per game. However, he previously showed touch from the mid-range while also having a clean shooting form.

The biggest concern about Ware is his inconsistent effort and focus. He possesses athletic gifts and loads of potential, but the effort level is not always there. The 20-year old also struggles to make good decisions with the ball, resulting in a ton of turnovers. While Ware is an immensely gifted player, he often relies too much on his athleticism. If he can increase his motor and effort level, Ware should at minimum be able to be a rim-running big man. However, he has the potential to be much more if his jumper can translate against NBA competition.

Kyle Filipowski, Duke

Height (without shoes): 6-foot-10; Weight: 229 pounds

2023-24 stats: 36 games, 30.4 minutes, 16.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.1 steals, 50.5% from the field, 34.8% from 3-point range

Filipowski is another big man in this draft class who has the capability to play both power forward and center. His combo big ability should intrigue teams across the NBA. He possesses playmaking ability not often seen from someone his size. Filipowski is fluid as a ball handler, and he has the capability to operate actions such as pick-and-rolls or dribble handoffs. The 20-year old can score in a variety of ways from inside the arc, whether its on a drop step in the post or a crossover while driving to the basket. While his 3-point percentage was not very high last season, he has the touch to give hope he can improve as a shooter. On the other end of the floor, Filipowski plays hard and has active hands. He doubled his blocks per game compared to his freshman season, and Duke often used him to anchor their defense.

The New York native has a balanced scoring arsenal, but the one area he is weak at is scoring at the rim through contact. This should be able to be improved upon once he adds more muscle to his 6-foot-10 frame. There is also concern about his ability to defend centers at the NBA level considering he has just a 6-foot-10 wingspan. He also does not have the athleticism to defend some NBA power forwards. Despite the questions about where he would slot in defensively against NBA competition, Filipowski’s overall skillset should warrant him receiving considerable minutes right off the bat.

Tyler Smith, G League Ignite

Height (without shoes): 6-foot-9; Weight: 223 pounds

2023-24 stats: 27 games, 22.0 minutes, 13.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.0 blocks, 0.7 steals, 47.6% from the field, 36.4% from 3-point range

Smith showed off an impressive skillset while playing for the G League Ignite in 2023-24. He has combo big potential, primarily due to his outside shooting ability. The Louisiana native knocked down 36.4% of his 3-pointers in the G League while taking 4.0 per game. Smith has a quick release and good shooting mechanics. He also showed the potential to be a dangerous player in two-man actions such as pick-and-rolls or dribble handoffs. His size and athletic ability also allow him to be a multi-positional defender.

While he can defend both power forwards and centers, there are questions about which position he will play in the NBA. Until he bulks up, he is liable to be bullied by bigger centers. He also might struggle at times against smaller, quicker forwards at the NBA level. Similar to Filipowski, Smith’s offensive arsenal and positional versatility are enough to get him drafted in the first round. Most teams around the league would have interest in adding a big man with the capability to occasionally switch onto power forwards.

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