The Philadelphia 76ers’ push to be an Eastern Conference contender next season begins later this month at the NBA Draft. There is a lot of attention on what the Sixers will do with the tenth overall pick.
In addition to that pick, the team has another selection later in the first round at No. 26. The last time the Sixers had the No. 26 pick was in the 2016 NBA Draft. With that pick, they took Furkan Korkmaz out of Turkey.
Korkmaz came over last year and is still figuring out his role in the NBA. However, the Sixers in this year’s draft can add a specific type of player that can help them now.
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Here are three players that could be available for the Sixers towards the end of the first round.
1. Zhaire Smith - The freshman helped Texas Tech reach the Elite Eight this past season with outstanding athleticism and defensive intensity. Smith, who stands at 6-foot-3, has a ridiculous 6-foot-10 wingspan which helped him defensively.
The shooting guard had a DRtg (defensive rating) of 95.1 and defensive rebounding percentage of 11.1.
Offensively, Smith averaged 11.3 points in 28.4 minutes per game, but shot 55.6 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range. The three-point percentage is deceiving, however, as he only attempted 1.1 per game.
If selected by the Sixers, Smith would not have to play right away. He is still a project on the offensive end but can play off the ball. However, his defensive prowess would earn him minutes quickly.
2. Josh Okogie - Speaking of defense, Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie would be a good addition for the Sixers. Okogie, just like Smith, has a ridiculous wingspan, coming at 7-foot. The sophomore is only 6-foot-3, but can defend multiple positions on the court.
This past season for the Yellow Jackets, he averaged 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 36.4 minutes per game. Okogie also shot 41.6 percent from the field (13.3 attempts per game) and 38 percent from distance (4.2 attempts per game).
If still available at No. 26, Okogie can offer the Sixers a player, who can attack the basket and knock down the outside shot. The shooting form is there for Okogie, it just has to be quicker and more consistent.
3. Kevin Huerter - Huerter’s stock is quickly rising after an impressive NBA Draft combine and doing well in private workouts. Nicknamed the ‘Red Mamba’, Huerter is a flat-out shooter and would be a great addition to what the Sixers are building.
This past season at the University of Maryland, he averaged 14.8 points a game, shot 50.3 percent from the field, and 41.7 percent from three-point range on 5.5 attempts per game. He can knock down the three-ball off the dribble or coming off of a screen.
Huerter also has a quick release and uses his 6-foot-7, 190 lbs. frame to attack the basket. He has a lot of potential as a two-way prospect in today’s NBA.