Philadelphia 76ers: NBA Draft
What a turn Thursday night’s draft took. I, like many others, figured the Sixers were targeting Missouri forward, Michael Porter Jr. with reports coming out earlier in the day about the Sixers discussing a deal that would send Markelle Fultz, the 10th and 26th picks in the draft to a team in the top 5 for a guy that was “falling” on many draft boards. It turns out, that report must’ve been false because Porter was there at 10 and the Sixers passed on him. A lot of fans wanted the hometown kid and Villanova University graduate, Mikal Bridges. That’s exactly what they got. I wasn’t mad at all. It’s the safe pick. I’m a Nova fan and have a lot of love for Mikal.
This is when things got weird. The Sixers struck a deal with the Phoenix Suns to acquire the 16th pick, Zhaire Smith and the Miami Heat’s 2021 first round pick for Mikal Bridges. I knew Brett Brown was high on Smith, but I was blind sided by this deal. Originally I wasn’t a fan of it, but after the details came out about the Sixers getting Miami’s unprotected 2021 first round pick, I began to get excited the more I thought about it. The Sixers are “star hunting” according to Brown. That pick is a great asset to have.
The 76ers/Mikal Bridges draft night situation is not a big deal AT ALL! Everyone needs to calm down & #TrustTheProcess. 🏀#Sixers | #MikalBridges | #NBADraft | #Villanova
Posted by A2D Radio on Friday, June 22, 2018
Let’s start off by talking Smith’s elite athleticism. This dude literally has pogo sticks for legs. He’s very fast in the open floor which will fit well with the Sixers fast paced system. Ben Simmons will have a lot of fun with this guy on the fast break.
He’s also a better shooter than he gets credit for. He shot 42% from downtown. However, he only averaged 0.9 three point attempts a game. That wasn’t really his decision, though. Texas Tech had him playing inside quite a lot. Mainly because he was such a terrific offensive rebounder. He averaged 2.3 offensive rebounds a game. He was pretty much a 6’4 power forward. Brown will obviously turn him into a perimeter player, but him playing inside in both high school and college shows his versatility.
That versatility also pays off defensively. He’s stronger than he looks which allows him to guard multiple positions. He’s got very quick hands and feet. He averaged 1.2 steals and 1.0 block a game.
One thing he must improve on in his handle. While it’s not the worst, it still needs some fine tuning.
Zhaire is obviously the craziest athlete in the draft, but what struck me when watching him at Texas Tech was how smart and composed he was. Seemed to always make the right play, which is atypical for somebody so raw and physically gifted. I believe in the upside.
— Michael Levin (@Michael_Levin) June 22, 2018
The Sixers selected Wichita State point guard Landry Shamet with the 26th pick. The first thing that stands out is that he was a 44% three point shooter (190 attempts) last season. He’s a smooth shooter both off the dribble and spotting up. While he is a pretty polished offensive player, he needs to work on his body a lot. He’s frail. It doesn’t look NBA ready at all. Other than that, there’s not much to complain about with the pick. He could be a solid offensive spark off the bench one day.
Here’s a Landry Shamet story: His mother took a demotion so she could work fewer hours and support him and travel to see him play at Wichita State. The move put the family in a tough spot financially. He worried about her. Worried about their house. Tonight, he’s a millionaire.
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) June 22, 2018