Not many fans are too concerned with the impending 2019 NBA Draft and that’s mainly due to the fact that the Sixers aren’t in line of having a lottery pick for the first time in awhile. Although we’re entering the heat of what figures to be a very competitive Eastern Conference postseason, the importance of adding young pieces through the Draft shouldn’t be overlooked now that Philadelphia is a contender.
Philadelphia figures to have a huge bulk of their salary locked up to just their starting lineup alone. Both Harris and Butler are in line for a max contract this off-season along with Ben Simmons in the near future. Joel already inked the line on his big deal that pays him out roughly $30mil a year and retaining Redick will be costly as well.
An explanation isn’t needed of how valuable inexpensive (rookie deals) will be on the Sixers bench moving forward. Finding good and valuable production is key. Below are some draft prospects that are expected to make some noise during tourney time. All are expected to be mid-late 1st round picks and/or early 2nds, which should be in Philadelphia’s striking range.
Freshman Guard, North Carolina
Coming into the season, White was overlooked by fellow teammate and freshman, Nassir Little, who was a top 3 recruit and projected lottery pick. As the season progressed, White proved his worth and is now one of the Tar Heels and College Basketball’s most exciting players.
This combination of moves by Coby White 🔥🔥pic.twitter.com/ffXmVY8UfR— SI College Hoops (@si_ncaabb) March 9, 2019
Recently, White passed out Michael Jordan for the most points by a North Carolina freshman in program history. His size at 6’5ft gives him a huge advantage at the Point Guard position from both an offensive and defensive perspective. He has the potential to be a two way force at the next level.
White would be an ideal backup option for Ben Simmons and even possibly a J.J. Redick replacement down the road. Through 30 games, the freshman is shooting 37.9% from deep on 6.6 attempts per game. His combination of athleticism and shooting ability is something the Sixers have been lacking for years now.
2018-19: 16.3ppg 3.2rpg 4.1apg
Sophomore Guard/Forward, Michigan
Making a name for himself after Michigan’s tourney run last season, Poole raised his Draft stock quite a bit but decided to stay at the collegiate level for another year. An offensively skilled guard with good size and the ability to take anyone off the dribble, Poole is destined for NBA success.
Oh okay, Jordan Poole 😮 pic.twitter.com/bmwhDbBtE8— ESPN (@espn) March 1, 2019
A worry as he transitions to the next level is his inconsistency which could be attributed to playing on a very deep and team oriented Michigan team. But don’t be mistaken, Poole could really score the rock. His ability to create shots for himself is among the elite in all of college basketball.
Poole would fit nicely as a scoring option on the Sixers bench. Once he refines his defensive game and playmaking ability, Poole could become a very good starting option at the next level.
2018-19: 13.0ppg 3.0rpg 2.1apg
Junior Forward, Gonzaga
After transferring from San Diego St. and sitting out a season, Clarke has finally begun making a name for himself and may be one of the most interesting prospects in this Draft class. At 6’9ft with a 7’4ft wingspan, Clarke is an imposing figure. His defensive production is among the best in the nation and he’s viewed by many as the best defensive prospect in this class.
Although his offensive game is a work in progress, Clarke is still better on that end of the floor than most Defensive First prospects. On the season, the Gonzaga forward is scoring nearly 17ppg at almost 70% from the field. He’ll have to develop his offensive game on the next level and maybe expand his shooting range but that’s obviously not holding him back thus far.
Clarke would have the chance to start for the Sixers at the Power Forward position right away. Pairing him next to Embiid would make for a very dominant defensive frontcourt for years to come.
2018-19: 16.6ppg 8.4rpg 3.1bpg
Junior Guard, Marquette
Arguably one of the best scorers in college basketball this season, Howard has catapulted himself into the Naismith race and elevated his draft stock a ton from just a season ago.
MARKUS HOWARD! That looks familiar 👀 pic.twitter.com/1SeY4S5TZm— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) March 3, 2019
Howard received a lot of national attention from his 53pt game against Creighton. The guard has a knack for exploding offensively as he’s eclipsed the 30pt mark in a total of nine games this season. He’s shooting nearly 41.6% from deep on the season on a whopping 8.7 attempts per game.
Howard would be counted on as a spark off the bench for Philadelphia. Although he’s a bit undersized he may be better suited for a J.J. Redick type of role playing off the ball.
2018-19: 25.0ppg 3.9rpg 4.0apg
Junior Guard, Purdue
Edwards has consistently been among the best at the collegiate level for the past two seasons with his innate ability to put the ball in the hoop.
A lot of scouts are worried about his height and lack of defensive production at the next level which is fair. Edwards is roughly 6-1ft and 200lbs even, which is undersized for NBA standards. His ability to score at all three levels offensively though is a strength.
Edwards would be counted on to backup Ben Simmons at the Point Guard position and provide some quick scoring off the bench. His sneaky athleticism and scoring ability is something the Sixers bench lacks.
2018-19: 23.4ppg 3.5rpg 3.0apg
Senior Forward, South Dakota St.
You may have never heard of Mike Daum and that’s partly due to the fact that he plays in the Summit Conference, but don’t sleep on him because he’s one of the best collegiate players ever, statistically speaking.
Mike Daum shows why he's nicknamed "The Dauminator" 😳 pic.twitter.com/aqXtqOqFgJ— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 15, 2018
Daum currently ranks 9th All-Time in Points (3,042) and has the chance to sneak into the top 5 before season’s end. He has reached these historic marks by scoring in a variety of ways. The 6-9ft Forward is lethal from deep, shooting a career 41% on 4.8 attempts per game and is also very effective in the paint.
He’d fit on the Sixers quite nicely in the stretch four position. The Sixers have shown their interest in these types of players many times in the past with guys like Saric, Illyasova, Muscala and etc.
2018-19: 25.3ppg 11.7rpg 1.8apg
Jordan is the founder of Sports Are Philly and a graduate of Misericordia University.
You can follow him on Twitter @darealjlaw.