The Philadelphia 76ers have a busy offseason ahead of them. Most of their key decisions will come with their head coaching hire, in free agency and the trade market but they can still add to their team in the 2023 NBA Draft. Already, the Sixers' front office is familiarizing itself with the prospects of this year's class.
The Sixers' pre-draft work to this point included a meeting with one of the more notable yet less heralded prospects: Emoni Bates. Philly has met with the 19-year-old forward, according to Adam Zagoria of Forbes. After a not-so-good season with Memphis, he transferred to Eastern Michigan and averaged 19.2 points while shooting just 40.5 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from deep.
Meeting with prospects is a formality — even for a team like the Sixers who don't have a single draft pick. Zagoria notes that Bates has also met with the Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers and had workouts for the Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets and Dallas Mavericks. Philly, who needs to find more talent to surround Joel Embiid, could choose to pursue the high-upside prospect later in the draft. Bates could become a stellar three-point shooter and scorer off the wing if given the time to develop.
Formerly considered one of the best prospects in the game and a potential NBA legend as just a sophomore in high school, Bates has failed to live up to the insane, unfairly high expectations. Many scouts have been turned off by his potential because of gun charges stemming from carrying a concealed weapon and altering its ID marks. Bates said he takes accountability for the incident.
Due partly to those charges (which were later dropped) and in part to his turbulent collegiate basketball career, Bates could slide down deeper into the second round of the 2023 NBA Draft. The Sixers could choose to go that route to ensure they land him or try to sign him as an undrafted free agent. Bates could give them a low-risk, high-reward prospect that they can try to turn into a rotation player.