Sixers Draft Preview: Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo could be strong options in first round
Pressure is on head coach Brett Brown and the rest of the Sixers front office to find impact players in the NBA draft.
The Philadelphia 76ers could take some major steps forward in reshaping their roster when the NBA Draft is held on Thursday night.
The Sixers hold two picks in the first round – Nos. 10 and 26 – along with four second-round choices at Nos. 38, 39, 56 and 60.
So much can happen between now and draft night in terms of selections, trades and stashing players in Europe. It’s highly unlikely if the Sixers actually make all six picks that all six players will be in uniform next season. They could also package 10 and 26 and move up to, say, No. 7. They could trade several second-round picks and a player on the current roster for a combination of assets.
Anything can happen.
Over the last few weeks, the Sixers have held a series of workouts for potential draft picks in both rounds.
Villanova’s Mikal Bridges is a strong possibility at No. 10 while Donte DiVincenzo – the Most Outstanding Player following the national championship victory over Michigan – could be available at No. 26. Not only are both players local, but they could provide immediate help in 2018-19.
“Just play hard and play well,” Bridges said after his workout with the Sixers. “You want to, of course, play well here, especially in your hometown. In front of all these people, people that I know. Just to show them how better I got and how I matured as a player. It just felt good … putting on the Sixers practice stuff.”
Sixers Vice President of Player Personnel Marc Eversley, who is believed to be a solid candidate to replace Bryan Colangelo, likes where the franchise stands on draft night.
“With six picks, I think our flexibility is pretty good,” he said. “It allows us to either go up and get a good player, or maybe go back and get a good player.”
In a bizarre set of circumstances, Colangelo was recently dismissed after being linked to numerous Twitter burner accounts. Head coach Brett Brown is handling basketball operations on an interim basis.
With that being known, expect the Sixers to be quite collaborative in how they select players in the draft.
Beyond the first round, the Sixers do boast four second-round picks. That will keep Delaware Blue Coats GM Elton Brand busy. The Blue Coats are the G-League franchise linked with the Sixers.
“We traveled a lot to go to the agent workouts – L.A., Chicago twice, Miami,” Brand told reporters. “Now, we’re bringing in all ranges of guys. We have four picks in the second round currently, so we need to look at those guys for sure.”
As recently as 2015, the Sixers grabbed Richaun Holmes in the second round at No. 37. In ’05, Lou Williams was picked at No. 45. Todd MacCulloch was the No. 47 pick in ’99.
It’s not an exact science but good players are available in the second round.
However, the focus will be largely on the two picks in the first round. These could be two players who receive playing time as rookies and contribute to an up-and-coming team.
Free agency looms on July 1.
For now, the Sixers must add key pieces in the draft. This is a strong group of players and the scouting department must come up big.