The 2021 NBA Draft will take place on July 29. With the draft coming up, The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. NBA squads will be analyzed, team needs will be addressed and potential targets will be discussed.
Today, the Philadelphia 76ers 2021 NBA Draft Profile will be presented.
Despite having their best season in recent memory, the Philadelphia 76ers ended the 2021-2022 NBA season with more questions than answers. An MVP-level season from Joel Embiid propelled them to the best record in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2000-2001. Ben Simmons had a marvelous defensive season that saw him nearly win the DPOY award, Tobias Harris had his best season in Philly, and young guys like Matisse Thybulle really started to break out. It seemed like a finals run was definitely in the realm of possibility.
But come playoff time, things fell apart. Embiid’s partially torn meniscus, Simmons going ice cold on the offensive end and an inability to close out an Atlanta Hawks team sans-Trae Young in game six all contributed to an ugly second-round exit. Rumors have been flying around Philadelphia ever since, mainly concerning the future of Simmons. As the days go by it looks more and more likely that a Simmons trade is inevitable.
There’s a high chance the Sixers will be rolling out a very different roster next season, and their first-round pick this year could play a key role in their decision-making.
The Philadelphia 76ers have two picks in this year’s NBA draft.
First Round: Pick No. 28
Second Round: Pick. No.50
The Sixers had little trouble at the wing last season, with players like Danny Green, Matisse Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz doing an admirable job on both ends of the court. But with both Green and Korkmaz entering free agency this offseason, Philadelphia will have to decide if they want to re-sign them or look for a cheaper and younger replacement in the NBA draft.
With the limited amount of money the Sixers have in free agency, this is the most likely position they will look to draft with their first-round pick. In the modern game, you can never have enough 3-and-D players and expect Philly to add one more before the start of next season.
A Backup for Embiid
With Dwight Howard most likely gone, the Sixers will once again have to go searching for a backup for Joel Embiid. It’s been a long-term struggle for Philadelphia to find a player who can play effective minutes behind their star big man, and while Howard was good this year, he does not provide the same floor spacing that Embiid does, which is a key tenant of the Sixers offense.
While I believe it’s more likely they look to fill this need in free agency, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Philly decides to take a flyer on a backup big in the draft, maybe even with their first-round selection.
Pick No.28: Trey Murphy III, SF, University of Virginia
The Sixers have been needing a player like Robert Covington ever since they traded him to Minnesota as part of the blockbuster trade for Jimmy Butler. So why not draft the most Covington-Esque player available?
Trey Murphy III spent three quality years at the University of Virginia, including contributing to a national title in 2019. His 6’9” 205 lb frame makes him the perfect combo forward for the modern game, capable of playing as a small forward or as a smaller power forward when needed. He flashed elite shooting potential in college, shooting over 40% from deep for his career. Combined with his key role on one of the best defensive teams in college basketball history and his reputation as an elite late-game closer (he shot 92.7% from the line last season), Murphy III is an ideal fit off the bench for the Sixers.
Murphy IIIs biggest problem is the underutilization of his athletic frame. Despite having the physical capabilities to out-muscle and out-rebound many other players, he rarely bangs around down low and is a very poor rebounder for his height. But it seems like a fixable issue. The athleticism is there, it would be up to the Sixers coaches to teach him how to use it.
Pick No.50: Moses Wright, PF/C, Georgia Tech
Moses Wright has one of the most unique stories of anyone in the draft. He was a tennis player until his sophomore year of high school, he was a zero-star recruit coming into college, but by the end of his senior year, Wright won the coveted ACC Player of the Year Award and led Georgia Teach to their first ACC Tournament Championship in nearly three decades.
Wright is a highly physical player who plays above his height. An elite rim-runner and offensive rebounder, he is never one to get out-hustled. He combines his strong physicality with surprisingly quick hands for a man his size, which allowed him to average a steal and a half per game his senior year. Wright has shown great timing and potential as a shot-blocker despite standing just 6’9”. He’s even shown some potential as a shooter, hitting 41% of his three-pointers last season on limited attempts. Under the tutelage of Joel Embiid, Wright will only improve his abilities as a big man.
All that being said, Wright still has plenty of areas to work on. His box-out ability is suspect at times and he’ll occasionally lose his man and allow some easy putbacks. At the free-throw line, Wright shot just under 66% for his senior year, which isn’t awful but not necessarily a positive either.
But the biggest question mark is, as one of the oldest players in the draft, how much room does Moses Wright have to improve? But judging from his rapid ascension in college, I wouldn’t count Wright out as one of the biggest sleepers in the draft and a great fit in Philadelphia.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference and NBA.com
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