First things first, take a look at this Bleacher Report article about the Rights to Ricky Sanchez Lottery Party on Tuesday night. Notice anyone in particular wearing neon shirts with a goat on it? That’s right. The sons have gone global.
Second, there will be plenty of draft coverage to come over the next month. In the coming weeks, our coverage will include:
- Top 50 Prospect Rankings
- Full First-Round Mock Draft
- Sixers Draft/Trade Alternatives
- Holden’s Mock Draft/Hot Takes/Heat Check Extravaganza
It will be a busy but fun month for us here, so stay tuned for all of your draft needs.
Top 15 Prospects
1 – Markelle Fultz (PG – 6’4” 195 lbs, Washington – FR) — previous rank: 1
2 – Lonzo Ball (PG – 6’6” 190 lbs, UCLA – FR) — previous rank: 2
3 – Josh Jackson (SF – 6’8” 203 lbs, Kansas – FR) — previous rank: 3
4 – De’Aaron Fox (PG – 6’4” 171 lbs, Kentucky – FR) — previous rank: 4
5 – Jayson Tatum (SF – 6’8” 204 lbs, Duke – FR) — previous rank: 5
6 – Dennis Smith (PG – 6’3” 195 lbs, NC State – FR) — previous rank: 6
7 – Jonathan Isaac (F – 6’11” 205 lbs, Florida St – FR) — previous rank: 8
8 – Frank Ntilikina (PG – 6’5” 170 lbs, France) — previous rank: 7
9 – Malik Monk (G – 6’4” 185 lbs, Kentucky – FR) — previous rank: 9
10 – Lauri Markkanen (PF – 7’0” 225 lbs, Arizona – FR) — previous rank: 10
11 – Jarrett Allen (C – 6’11” 224 lbs, Texas – FR) — previous rank: 11
12 – OG Anunoby (SF – 6’8″ 215 lbs, Indiana – SO) — previous rank: 12
13 – John Collins (PF – 6’10” 225 lbs, Wake Forest – SO) — previous rank: 13
14 – TJ Leaf (PF – 6’10” 220 lbs, UCLA – FR) — previous rank: 14
15 – Zach Collins (C – 7’0″ 232 lbs, Gonzaga – FR) — previous rank: N/A
Notes: Minimal changes to the big board as I’ve yet to start my final scouting and honestly, not much has happened. Typically you can get some shocking measurements out of the combine but with so many top players skipping, there’s not much to tip the needle in either direction. Frank Ntilikina, although a perfect fit for the Sixers and Knicks, has dropped a slot due to lack of elite athleticism. His inability to turn the corner against quicker defenders will hurt him in some systems. In Philadelphia, where he wouldn’t be tasked with as much responsibility, or in New York, where he is an ideal triangle guard, he should be slotted up a few spots. Zach Collins makes an appearance after measuring in at a legitimate 7’0″ and fitting the bill in terms of the new-age NBA big man criteria, along with Donovan Mitchell and Justin Jackson (the other one) who are both “3-and-D” wing players that are en-vogue in today’s game.
Biggest riser: Jonathan Isaac (+1)
Biggest faller: Frank Ntilikina (-1)
On the bubble: Jawun Evans (PG – Oklahoma St), Donovan Mitchell (G – Louisville), Justin Jackson (SF – Maryland)
Flavor of the Month
Jonathan Jeanne (C – 7’2″ 207 lbs – France)
When I came across Jeanne last winter, I had the exact same thought that I had when I first saw another French mammoth: that guy will get eaten alive in the NBA. Who was that other big-man? That would be Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz center and potential defensive player of the year winner. Jeanne is L-O-N-G. He measured in at 7’2″ with a 7’7″ wingspan and 9’6″ standing-reach. As a reference, an NBA rim is 10′ high, meaning Jeanne is six inches from touching the rim without jumping. Add in his 29″ (no-step) vertical jump and Jeanne can theoretically block anything within 2 feet ABOVE the rim. Sounds fun right? Well let me throw-in the fact that he is a fluid athlete and can the floor extremely well, giving him great potential as a rim-runner on offense. And, he shot a fairly competent 62% from the foul line, which for a man his size, is not bad. So why isn’t he going first overall? He weighed in at 207 lbs, turned the ball over 3 times per game in only 27 minutes, and he played for one the weaker teams in French pro-ball. So last year, like with Gobert, I wrote him off. He’ll get eaten alive by players far stronger than him and won’t be able to sniff the low post. But I’m not going to let that fool me again, he’s too big and too skilled to write-off. So, I’ll let a former US President sum up my opinion on Jeanne for you all.
“There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.” – George W. Bush
Sixers Mock Draft
3 – Josh Jackson (SF – Kansas)
I had every intention of publishing this post Tuesday night after the lottery, but could not fill this space right here. Who would the Sixers take? I’ve loved De’Aaron Fox since I first saw his mixtape last spring, but worry about his fit – can he play off-ball? Is Frank Ntilikina a stretch at 3 despite his seemingly perfect fit off-ball next to Ben Simmons? Do I follow the herd and change my evaluation on Malik Monk (6th man) and project him as our point-guard of the future? Is there a scenario that Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball don’t go 1-2? There was too much to consider, so I let it breathe. And as time went on, it became more and more obvious that Josh Jackson is and should be the selection.
Jackson is NOT a consolation prize – some teams reportedly have him first on their boards. He played out of position all season at Kansas and despite having player of the year Frank Mason leading them, many Jayhawk fans and coaches labeled Jackson as their most important player. I’ll put it this way, if Josh can learn to smooth out his jump shot, he can and should be the best player in this class. He has the defensive versatility to guard numerous positions, natural (but not elite) athleticism to get up and down the court, and the intangibles that this team needs and city would love. His flaws are visible to everyone: character, jumper, physical limits. He’s been labeled an immature player since high school, letting the moment take over his emotions on more than one occasion. He was involved in some off-court legal issues at Kansas that will certainly be under scrutiny. His jumper (despite the statistics) isn’t trustworthy as his trips to the free throw line showed us. He is big, but not freaky, sporting an average wingspan, smallish hands, and reasonable athleticism.
But all things considered, he’s worth the selection. He played and excelled in an off-ball role in Bill Self’s offense – something that will pay dividends instantly on a team like this, where we have ball dominant players already entrenched in the lineup. He flourished in transition, showing a decent handle and a knack for the dramatic in the open-court – something Brett Brown predicates his scheme upon. His calling card will always be his defense, where he uses quick feet and his instincts to keep players in front of him on the perimeter, and his competitiveness and strength to battle bigger players in the post. It’s not a surefire-safe pick, but it is becoming clear to me that it is the right pick.
36 – Mathias Lessort (PF/C – France)
Lessort is a carry-over from my prior mocks of mine, but I’m still locking him in. He brings energy, toughness, and athleticism to the interior. If you look at what the Sixers have going forward in terms of top picks, they will need overseas talent to contribute on cheap deals. Assuming the Sixers extend Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and 1-2 more (I hope…) max-level players either drafted or acquired, they will be in a financial bind. How do you offset that? By having an army of overseas talent awaiting the call for a reasonable four-year deal. Lessort likely won’t be an All Star or even a starter, but he can be a guy that comes off the bench to punish opposing teams’ bigs on the glass and on the low-block at a reasonable price.
39 – Kyle Kuzma (PF – Utah)
I’ve always enjoyed watching Kuzma play. He was an inside-out forward with decent touch but I didn’t anticipate his rise as a prospect. The NBA combine is a tough watch even for draft fans like myself, but one of the biggest risers was Kuzma. The former Ute shot the ball extremely well from deep, making him an intriguing stretch-four option for teams, but he also tested out fairly well. You’re not going to mistake him for Jonathan Jeanne, but he isn’t small either, measuring in at 6’9.5″ 223 lbs with a 7’0″ wingspan and 34″ max vertical. His shooting will cash his checks though, as he shot the ball consistently and easily in 5-on-5 play with a quick, compact stroke. The Sixers can’t afford to roster 5 new players, but adding perimeter shooting will not hurt them one bit.
46 – P.J. Dozier (SG – South Carolina)
I pegged Dozier as a potential NBA talent prior to his arrival at SC 18 months ago. He is oozing with talent that if harnessed and developed in the right system, could make him a heck of a player. His physical gifts are unmatched – 6’7″ with a 6’11” wingspan and 39″ vertical. He struggled to shoot the ball consistently for Frank Martin but still made an impact on both ends of the floor. I’d take him over an older, less athletic senior guard like Josh Hart, Tyler Dorsey, or teammate Sindarius Thornwell any day of the week. If he can learn to shoot more consistently, he could be an All Star. There is huge value in this pick.
50 – Diego Flaccadori (G – Italy)
I’m just going to keep mocking him to the Sixers until I can’t. I’ve proclaimed him to be the “Italian Ginobili” which is quite ridiculous considering Manu Ginobili is one of, if not the best, international players of all-time, but I will die on Diego hill. Bryan Colangelo is Italian and would love to have someone join him in his
lair office for dinner nightly, so Diego fills even more needs across the board for the team.