By Evan Krawczuk, Contributing Writer
Yes, it is summer time, but the gradebooks are coming out to see how Elton Brand did in his first draft as the 76ers general manger. This was a huge draft for the Sixers in terms of roster depth for next season. There will not be a lot of money after the 76ers fill those two max contract spots in free agency so this draft was key in finding at least one role player to help fill out the bench. The 76ers came into the night with five picks: 24th, 33rd, 34th, 42ndand 54th. A great number of picks to fill out a bench and enough flexibility to draft some guys and develop them in the G-League. Let’s take a look at what Brand did with those picks and what grades we could place on each pick as well as the draft as a whole.
Round One Pick 24
Brand and the Sixers had made a deal with Boston to trade for a guard from the University of Washington, stop me if you’ve heard this before. The trade sent the Sixers 24thand 33rdoverall picks to the Boston Celtics in exchange for the 20thoverall selection. With that pick, the Sixers nabbed lengthy guard Matisse Thybulle from Washington. Thybulle was the guy a lot of Sixers fans wanted in this draft. But, the thought was the Sixers could get him at 24, not trade another pick to move up and get him. Thybulle is a stingy defender with great instincts. Thybulle can also let it fly, he shot about 36% from beyond the arc in over 500 attempts during his time at Washington. While I do love this pick and it is who I wanted the Sixers to take, the value that was given up in the 33rd overall pick could have really helped draft some much-needed depth on the bench. B+
Round Two Pick 33
With this pick, the Sixers drafted Carsen Edwards, the electric guard from Purdue. But, because the 76ers had to move up to get Thybulle, Edwards immediately gets moved to Boston. This one hurts. Edwards was the perfect scoring option off the bench. An incredible change of pace from Ben Simmons and would have given the Sixers offense a pulse when the second unit was on the floor. I understand they had to move the pick to get their guy in Thybulle, and I’m happy they got him, but Edwards would’ve helped immensely and for a great price. Now, the Sixers faithful will have to see him four times a year but in green and white. The grade on this pick would probably be in A-/B+ if the Sixers kept him but they had to move him. C-
Round Two Pick 34
This was a spot where the Sixers could get a back-up big man for when Joel Embiid needed a rest. That’s exactly what they did. Brand took the 6’10” center from Maryland, Bruno Fernando. Fernando averaged a double-double while at Maryland and was also one of the better defenders in the draft being named to the Big Ten All-Defensive First Team. He would have been a solid back up big, but Elton Brand decided to also trade this pick. According to Shams Charania, Brand sent this pick to the Atlanta Hawks.
Sources: Philadelphia traded No. 34 to Atlanta for two future second-rounders and No. 57.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 21, 2019
It seems like Elton Brand has some other plans with the bench. I liked this pick but if Brand finds a way to make this work, I’m all for it. B
Round Two Pick 42
The Sixers traded the 42nd pick before it even go to them, according to Shams Charania.
76ers receive additional cap flexibility entering July free agency. https://t.co/Zcerc1WaMs— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 21, 2019
This is a great move by Brand. Jonathon Simmons did not really do too much to help the Sixers and the salary dump clears more cap space to get some of the guys they need in free agency. A
Round Two Pick 54
Picks this late in the draft typically play in the G-League for a year or two until they develop some more skills. Iowa State product, Marial Shayok, will be one of those guys. Shayok scored 18.7 points per game on 39% shooting from three, and 50% from the field as a Cyclone. While Shayok is offensively inclined scoring the ball, his assist/turnover ratio is below one and his defensive instincts aren’t up to par. It’s doubtful that he will make an impact in the NBA soon but he could be a solid role player down the line. B-
Brand got his guy in Matisse Thybulle and moved the rest of the 76ers picks to ensure the majority of the bench will be filled by veteran guys. Brand doesn’t think a team with a lot of young guys can win a championship.
Elton Brand said he traded some second round picks for “optionality” and he needs “every dollar” he can get for flexibility in free agency— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) June 21, 2019
“Too many young players on a team with championship aspirations is not going to work”#Sixers pic.twitter.com/Zr8FGAKBqN
If that is Brand’s plan and he works out good contracts then this could’ve been a very good draft, but we don’t know how the rest of free agency is going to shake out yet. So, one day post-draft, Elton Brand’s first draft receives a B