3 players Sixers must avoid in 2022 NBA Draft
For quite some time it was unclear if the Sixers would even have a selection in the upcoming draft. The Sixers traded the rights to their first-round pick to the Nets in the trade for James Harden. Brooklyn had the option to defer the pick to next season which they elected to do. As a result, the Sixers’ focus has shifted back to the draft and capitalizing on the 23rd pick they possess.
The Sixers should be thrilled to have the pick back as this is a great draft for them to be involved in. Philadelphia’s roster has been starved of athleticism and versatility on the wings for several years. There are several notable wing prospects that would solve this issue that fit what the Sixers need. While there is a great amount of chatter about the Sixers’ desire to trade the pick, the way the board is shaking out may make them rethink this decision.
There are several prospects that would positively impact the Sixers. They must be very careful with the selection though. Let’s take a look at a few names that Philadelphia should stay away from.
3 players Sixers must avoid in 2022 NBA Draft
Nikola Jovic- Serbia Wing
While it would be entertaining to have Joel Embiid sharing the floor with a player that has a near-mirror name as his MVP rival, this would not be a practical pick for the Sixers. The Serbian big man stands 6’10” with impressive ball-handling and playmaking ability. Nikola Jovic creates matchup issues due to his size and likely projects as a perimeter-oriented player. He is just 19 years old and still has plenty of room to grow.
Jovic is certainly an intriguing talent in the Sixers’ draft range but does not check the boxes for their needs. He lacks athleticism and is not the defensive-minded wing they should be in search of. The Sixers already have multiple players who are ball-dominant in nature. Adding Jovic to the mix of Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey could create some major issues. Passing on the lure of his potential for a guy who can do more off of the ball would be the proper move for the Sixers.
Jaden Hardy- Guard G-League Ignite
It has been a disappointing fall in draft stock for Jaden Hardy. The former number 2 ranked high school prospect did not live up to expectations with the G-League Ignite this season. Hardy was even perceived to be a lottery pick until recent weeks. There have been multiple mock drafts that have paired Hardy with the Sixers at the 23rd pick. Capitalizing on value and upside is in line with Daryl Morey’s typical strategy as was seen in the past two years with Tyrese Maxey and Jaden Springer. While this has worked out in the past, the Sixers would be better off avoiding Jaden Hardy.
In his sole season at the G-League Ignite, Hardy averaged 19.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 steals. His shooting splits did not show this same promise as the 6’5” guard shot just 37.9% from the field and 30.9% on three-point attempts. Jaden Hardy has the feel of a very good player but is going to take some time to get there. The win-now position the Sixers are currently in paired with the ball-dominant nature does not make him a match for Philly.
Blake Wesley- Wing Notre Dame
A prized recruit coming out of high school, Blake Wesley has intriguing NBA potential. He stands 6’5” with an NBA-ready frame. In his lone season in college, Wesley averaged 14.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. He shot 40.4% from the field and 30.3% on three-point attempts. The Notre Dame product has a ton of shot-creation and pull-up potential. His instincts are as a scorer but he has shown flashes in his playmaking as well.
While he fits the profile of a potential Sixers target, Wesley is still early in his developmental process. It will once again be several years before he can contribute to a contending team. He also struggles to attack the basket in traffic and does not get to the free-throw line enough. Wesley also settles for poor shots too often.
Daryl Morey and the Sixers typically prioritize long-term value when evaluating draft prospects. While this is obviously important, the Sixers must prioritize adding players who can contribute to their championship aspirations sooner rather than later. Their lack of cap space and assets make this a difficult offseason. This is a unique draft class with multiple options who are more advanced in their development than a typical rookie. The number of lengthy wings with three years of college experience would be a much better fit in Philadelphia. Look for them to pass on these three players and target guys like Jalen Williams, Christian Braun, or Wendell Moore.