By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor
The sprint to the next NBA season kicks off this Wednesday with the NBA draft. Even with the draft just days away, names continue to rise and fall on draft boards.
The Sixers have been linked to multiple players with the 21st overall pick. With nothing set in stone, here is a ranking of possible players the team could take with their first-round pick.
5) Tyrell Terry: Stanford, G
Terry has been a name mocked to the Sixers on multiple occasions in recent months. The freshman guard out of Stanford could provide the playmaking guard on the perimeter the team needs.
In his sole college season, he averaged 14.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.2 APG. Terry was also a reliable shooter from deep, where he shot just under 41%. His game draws a lot of similarities to Hawks’ All-Star Trae Young.
The glaring concern with Terry is his size, although reports have said he’s put on muscle since the college season. At six foot one and around 180 pounds, Terry could struggle against NBA athletes.
With his combination of outside shooting and shot creation, Terry would be a fine selection for the Sixers in the first round. That being said there are some alternative avenues the team could take to boost their roster in round one.
4) Tyrese Maxey: Kentucky, G
Maxey is a freshman combo-guard coming out of Kentucky. Early in the draft process, Maxey was looked at as a late lottery pick, but recent mocks have him in the Sixers’ range now.
In his sole college season, Maxey averaged 14.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 3.2 APG. His 29.2% from deep might come off as a red flag, but his jumpshot is better than the numbers show.
Worst case scenario, Maxey will be an offensive spark plug for the second unit. His strong ball-handling and athletic finishing ability allow him to score the ball in multiple ways.
At 6’3 with a 6’10 wingspan, size isn’t much of an issue like it is with Terry. Maxey has the size and length to defend opposing guards. With the departure of Alec Burks, the Sixers are going to need a guard who can score and create off the bench, this is a role Maxey could fill on day one.
3) Josh Green: Arizona, G/F
Adding guards to the roster should be the Sixers’ primary focus, but in today’s game, you can never have enough wing players. Josh Green is one of the top wing players in this class and has real potential as a three-and-D type player.
Green is a 6’6 wing who is coming off a freshman year at Arizona where he averaged 12.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 2.6 APG. He also grabbed over a steal per game and shot 36.1% from beyond the arc.
The physical attributes and play style are all there to be the prototypical wing player in today’s NBA. Green is athletic, is a solid spot-up shooter from deep, and his 6’10 will allow him to defend multiple positions at the NBA level.
The age factor is the only downside to the Sixers drafting Green. At just 19 years old it could be questioned if he is ready enough to come into the competing situation that the Sixers are currently in. If drafted, Green and Matisse Thybulle could be a deadly pair of wing players for the Sixers down the line.
2) Cole Anthony: North Carolina, G
Cole Anthony arguably has the highest ceiling out of any player on this list. Before the start of the college season, he was looked at as a top-five pick in this draft, but injury and questionable stats have caused his stock to drop.
In his lone season at UNC Anthony averaged 18.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 4.0 APG. He shot just 38% from the field which could be alarming to some, but that was more due to a lack of talent around him. Anthony showed he can be reliable from deep, shooting just under 35%.
The biggest concern with Anthony is his health. Last December he partially tore his meniscus in his right knee that required surgery and caused him to miss some time. One positive of this delayed timeline is that he has had almost a full year to rehab this injury before he enters the NBA.
Anthony can potentially be the scoring point guard the Sixers need in their starting lineup. He works well in the pick-and-roll and would be a good secondary ball-handler on the floor with Ben Simmons. If Anthony can get back on track to reaching his full potential, he could be a steal for the Sixers at pick 21.
1) Desmond Bane: TCU, G
Although Cole Anthony might have a higher ceiling, Desmond Bane is the best fit for the Sixers with the 21st pick. What he brings is exactly what the Sixers need at the guard position.
As a four year guy in college, Bane fits the timeline of the team better than the underclassmen also listed. From a maturity standpoint, he could be more prepared to come into a contending situation on day one.
Bane is coming off his senior season where he averaged 16.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 3.9 APG. He was great at knocking down shots from deep, shooting 44.2% from three on 6.5 attempts a game.
At 6’6 and 215lbs Bane will also have the size to hold his own against NBA athletes as well. His physical attributes will allow him to defend either guard position at the NBA level.
All of these players bring something that would boost the Sixers’ roster if drafted. But Desmond Bane checks the most boxes and should be the no-brainer pick if he is still on the board when the Sixers pick on Wednesday.