By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly Staff
During this past week, I ran two polls. One was on twitter and the other was on a closed Sixers fan page. The question? Which prospect is the best fit for the Sixers.
The respondents were asked to ignore the draft position of the player, and focus simply on who would best fit the Sixers' style and needs. Markelle Fultz was left out of the discussion because he is an obvious choice, and he also figures to be off of the board when the Sixers pick unless they make a deal for the first overall pick.
Included in this survey was Lonzo Ball, De'Aaron Fox, Josh Jackson, Malik Monk, Jayson Tatum, Dennis Smith Jr., and Jonathan Isaac.
In all, there were 142 responses to the survey. The results were distributed as follows:
The Sixers' faithful overwhelmingly chose Kansas's Josh Jackson. Jackson is a 6-foot-8-inch wing known for his defensive ability. Jackson's defense would certainly bolster the Sixers' defense by adding a shutdown perimeter defender with the elite rim protecting ability of Joel Embiid. The biggest criticism of Jackson is his outside shooting ability, but he is a menace in transition.
Kentucky's Malik Monk was a distant second, with just under 20 percent of the votes. Monk might be the best shooter in this draft, but he is rather one dimensional in that sense. Monk has been sliding on draft boards according to draft analysts, likely due to his limited skill set.
De'Aaron Fox, Monk's teammate at Kentucky, came in third in our voting. Fox's most notable attribute is his quickness, which is a common trait of many of the league's great point guards. Fox is a strong defensive prospect with a good distributing ability, but his ability as a scorer is in question due to an average shooting stroke and a small frame that could make it difficult for him to attack the basket.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of our poll results was Dennis Smith Jr. receiving the fourth highest number of votes. Smith is a year removed from a torn ACL, which has likley given some teams pause. Smith still managed to turn heads at a poor NC State program, and looks like he would fit in well with the Sixers' hybrid offense. Smith can play as the ball handler or in an off the ball role, playing the Kyrie Irving role (not that he will be as good as Kyrie) to Ben Simmons's Lebron James (not that Ben is as good as Lebron) when Simmons handles the ball on offense.
Following Smith was the controversial Lonzo Ball. Lonzo is not an issue, but his father Lavar has made fans and executives cautious of their team selecting his son. The UCLA facilitator is known for his incredible court vision. He is not the scorer that Smith figures to be, so he would not thrive in an off the ball role. Ball is more valuable when handling the ball, and Ben Simmons will likely run the majority of the offense, so it limits what Ball could do for the Sixers. Ball would also add length to an already long defense as a 6-foot-6-inch point guard.
Florida State's Jonathan Isaac and Duke's Jayson Tatum tied for last in our survey, both receiving just two votes.
Isaac has been one of, if not the fastest riser in the draft. Isaac is an incredibly long stretch-four prospect. Isaac will need to add weight to play at power forward, so he may begin as a 6-foot-11-inch wing. Isaac's strength is his athleticism and perimeter defense. He is great at positioning his big frame to contain his opponent. There are major questions on if Isaac can handle the physicality of playing on the block. Isaac displayed an ability as an outside shooter that will draw teams to him. Isaac may have as high of a ceiling as anybody in the draft.
Jayson Tatum is a pro-ready prospect. His defense is not as good as Jackson's or Isaac's, but he will not be a liability in his own end. He would provide the Sixers with a go-to scorer. Tatum is automatic from mid-range and he can provide the reliable option that the Sixers have lacked in crunch time. If Tatum can expand his range he will become an extremely valuable player. Of all of the prospects in this draft, Tatum may have the highest floor.
Do you agree with the results of our survey?