I think most fans can agree that Philly needs to make some moves with our 4 second rounders to improve our draft position. Regardless, the 76ers will most likely make a few second round selections. Last week I covered some NCAA prospects who could be available, but the 76ers need to start bringing in some veteran experience since we already have a young core that we are developing. That opens up the international market where we can let these players establish themselves overseas. Here’s a look at some prospects:
Kostja Mushidi, SG, KK Mega Leks (Serbia)
Kostja’s rise this year came from his strong play at the Nike Hoops summit. He finished with 14pts, 3stl, and 3reb with an impressive 57% 3pt shooting. Compare that with potential #1 pick Michael Porter Jr, who had 19pts, 4 reb, 1 stl. He is a crafty passer, has good size (6’5″ & 210lbs), and is a strong defender. His shot still needs some work, as his first season in Serbia showed. He shot just over 32% from 3, yet he was averaging 5 attempts a game. He is only 18, and could use some time overseas to develop his game a bit further. I know the 76ers are doing thier homework on this guy as he comes from the same team as Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.
Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Herbalife Gran Canaria (Spain)
Pasecniks career garnered steam when he played alongside Kristaps Porzingis in the U18 European Championship. The two of them played extremely well together, and Pasecniks put up very similar stats to Porzingis. Unfortunately for Anzejs, his body didnt fill out like Porzingis and he struggled in his first year of pro ball. He started to put on some weight in his second year and looked improved. He’s still skinny at 7’1″ and 220lbs, but he is an efficient shooter with range (65% FG, 44% 3pt last year) and has the potential to be an elite shot blocker. His current team also hired Luis Casimiro, the man who coached Porzingis at the international pro level which should help progress his development.
Jonah Bolden, SF/PF, Beograd (Serbia)
Jonah Bolden’s name may ring a bell as he played at UCLA in the ’15-’16 NCAA season. He didn’t have the productive season as many expected, and he subsequently chose to play professional ball overseas. Currently playing in the Serbian league, he is shooting the ball well (12.3 ppg, 47% FG, 40% 3pt), playing good defense (1.5spg & 1.0 bpg), and showing promise with his explosive athleticism. He has a NBA ready body at 6’10” & 215lbs, and projects to be a stretch 4. His current coach utilizes him frequently in small ball line-ups as the 5, and he excels in pick and rolls and switches on defense. He also played for the Austrialian national team, so Brett Brown should have some good notes and analysis on him.
Rodions Kurucs, SF, FC Barcelona
Kurucs is a young prospect who shows serious potential but still needs time to develop. He is currently playing for the B-team in Barcelona, but should make the jump to the A-team this upcoming year. He is a good shooter, who excels at catch and shooting, getting his shot off his dribble, and moving well without the ball. He is also a slasher and shows his athleticism with his array of alley-oop highlight dunks. Despite his shot being one of his strengths, he only shot 32% from deep last year on the secondary Barcelona team. He is an ideal draft and stash candidate as he will require another year or two overseas to continue to work on his game. If he keeps improving and faces some tougher competition, he could end up being a second round steal. Off first glance, he reminds me of Manu Ginobili with his shooting potential and slashing abilities.
Alpha Kaba, PF, KK Mega Leks (Serbia)
Alpha is a teammate of Kostja Mushidi whom I wrote about above. As stated, the Sixers have most likely done their homework on this squad as they drafted TLC last year and Mega Leks also once employed Nikola Jokic before he came to the NBA. Alpha is another big man, listed at 6’10” and 230 lbs. He would have entered the NBA draft last year, but was held back due to injuries. He’s a bit older for an international prospect at 21 years old, but is extremely athletic and moves very well on the floor for his size. He averaged 10.5 points last season for Mega Leks, excelling at scoring off lob passes and put backs off misses. He is a solid rebounder, averaging 8rpg and made his defensive presence known with some highlight reel blocks and averaging 1.4spg. NBA scouts would like to see him improve his outside shooting as he only hit 30% from deep last year, but he could become a formidable shooter with some time. He could go undrafted, but is an intriguing prospect for the Sixers.
The 76ers need scoring, and Mushidi and Kurucs seem to be the best fit from this group in terms of shooting. Bolden may not be a good fit as he seems poised to want to begin his NBA career this year and may not want to play overseas any longer. Pasecniks and Kaba would be players who could provide some depth at big man behind Embiid, something that may be needed with Noel being shipped out and Okafor most likely being dealt this offseason. With 4 second rounders this year, we could see one of these players right’s being selected by the Sixers. Mushidi provides the most potential and hopefully is available when the Sixers make one of their second round selections.
Make sure to check back with Sportsarephilly.com for some upcoming mock drafts provided by the Sixers writing staff here. Also, remember to educate yourself on weekly sports injuries across the leagues with Weaver’s Weekly Injury Update.
Looking for more NBA draft coverage about the Philadelphia 76ers? Check out some prior posts from the gifted writing team here at Sports are Philly:
Featured Image Photo Credit: http://sigstrasbourg.fr
Philly born, Philly bred. Trust the Process and Fly Eagles Fly Follow me @SeanBurns410